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The Future is Now: ESG Imperatives for Hoteliers

The Future is Now: ESG Imperatives for Hoteliers

Since hotels are some of the most energy-intensive buildings in the US, IoT-backed solutions are vital for going green and meeting ESG goals today and well into the future.

In today’s hospitality industry, guest preferences align with the need for smart, connected hotels. So it’s no wonder the global smart hospitality market’s revenue, worth 14 billion in 2022, is expected to accelerate at a CAGR of nearly 30 percent through 2030.

During their stay, guests crave unique experiences that align with their personal choices, like social responsibility. In fact, a recent report found 43% of today’s travelers would be willing to pay more fortravel options with a sustainable certification, and 74% wanted more socially-conscious travel choices (up from 66 percent in 2022).

As a result, hoteliers must reimagine their approach to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) initiatives. ESG is the set of standards company leaders and stakeholders use to measure a company’s long-term environmental and societal impact.

To achieve overarching ESG imperatives, hoteliers can adopt sustainable, modern solutions, like the Internet of Things (IoT), that connect people, processes, and things via intelligent technologies. IoT enables hotel operators to conduct business responsibly and efficiently by automating, streamlining, and optimizing processes – all while reducing their carbon footprint. The following examples showcase how IoT can meet and exceed ESG imperatives and beyond.

Conserve Energy

Hotels operate 24/7 and 365 days a week, making them among some of the most energy-intensive buildings in the United States. The need for constant lighting, heating, air conditioning, and other utilities is vital for daily operations as well as accommodating, comforting, and entertaining guests. One source states that, on average, hotels in the US spend $2,196 per available room each year on energy – representing about six percent of all operating costs. A strategic, IoT-based approach to energy efficiency can benefit the environment and a hotel’s bottom line by cutting costs and increasing key performance indicators, like the gross operating profit per available room, or GOPPAR.

Using non-invasive, IoT-enabled meter monitors, energy usage can be intelligently and continuously monitored with real-time alerts when readings fall outside of set thresholds. Sensors can also enable energy efficiency and conservation via smart lighting systems that monitor lighting and occupancy continuously. The data collected from sensors can be sent to existing systems or a data lake, eliminating silos, where it can be stored and analyzed. User-friendly, digital visualization applications enable hoteliers to view patterns and trends respective to energy usage. This data is critical for understanding where and how to reduce operational costs and unnecessary energy usage, while keeping operations running smoothly. Considering 60-70% of utility costs at individual hotels are exclusively billed for electricity, an investment in IoT monitoring pays off in sheer cost savings alone.

IoT sensors can also enable energy savings by identifying underperforming HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) units. By strategically deploying sensors throughout a building, real-time data on temperature, humidity, air quality, and energy consumption can be collected. Analyzing this data allows for the detection of HVAC units that are not operating optimally or are exhibiting inefficiencies, which can inform proactive maintenance to prevent unnecessary energy consumption. With HVAC accounting for 40% of hotel electricity usage, IoT is hugely beneficial in working towards ESG goals.

Reduce Food Waste

Another vital ESG imperative involves reducing the waste of food and water. One study found that 18% of food purchased by hospitality and food services goes to waste, with many hotel companies setting targets to reduce the amount of food waste generated by their operations by 2030. One way to achieve this reduction is by employing IoT-enabled temperature monitoring in food service areas, which digitizes the monitoring and logging of on-site food storage.

Rather than using staff to manually record and log temperatures of cold and hot storage areas with spreadsheets and paper logs, IoT-powered sensors collect, transmit, and centralize temperature data into intelligent systems automatically – even during power outages. If temperatures fluctuate above or below predetermined thresholds or if doors are left ajar, alerts are triggered to operators to take immediate corrective action. This prevents costly damages incurred by spoiled food and enhances food safety and compliance protocols while protecting overhead and, ultimately, the environment by reducing food waste.

Decrease Water Consumption

IoT helps reduce water usage by implementing water-efficient practices in core areas. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, bathrooms are the most significant source of potable water in hotels, accounting for about 30 percent of hotel water use, followed by landscaping and laundry, each with 16 percent, and kitchens with 14 percent. On average, a hotel guest consumes 100-200 gallons of water daily, which averages to 36,500-73,000 gallons per occupied room per year.

With IoT, water usage can be monitored with sensors that generate valuable data. This data can be leveraged to reduce waste by illustrating patterns for understanding, targeting, and reducing overall water consumption rates. Connected flush valves and faucets reduce water consumption while promoting modern, efficient user experiences. Proactive leak detection is also another way IoT helps with ESG goals, as devices trigger alerts in the event leaks are detected – preventing serious damages and water waste from happening. This is especially valuable for unattended, less frequented spaces, like utility closets, risers, boiler rooms, or basement areas. Inevitably, this helps hoteliers meet ESG and sustainability goals – all while promoting substantial cost savings.

Create Extraordinary Work Cultures for Employees

By automating routine, manual processes, the social component of ESG can be satisfied exponentially. For instance, rather than checking rooms periodically to see if guests have left to perform housekeeping duties, cleaning staff can receive alerts when rooms are ready to be serviced. The same applies to all other areas in a hotel, such as gyms, conference rooms, and shared restrooms, where occupancy sensors trigger alerts to staff when areas need cleaning.

Intelligent waste monitoring indicates when bins are full and need attending to. This promotes sanitary practices that enhance the guest experience while preventing staff burnout during shortages. According to a survey, 94% of hotels are understaffed and 47% are severely understaffed with 96% reporting difficulty filling open positions.

Ensuring the safety of staff is another imperative that promotes ESG with the use of staff alert buttons. One report indicates that 54% percent of hotel operators reported adding, upgrading, or switching suppliers for employee safety (e.g., panic buttons) via enterprise software solutions. Discrete wearables can help ensure the safety of employees under duress; where in the event they encounter an assailant or feel unsafe, they can push the button, and help can be dispatched quickly to their exact location for assistance. This helps promote a safe, reliable environment for staff and promotes their satisfaction and happiness in the workplace. With studies indicating that happy employees are 31% more productive and three times more creative than unhappy employees at hotels, using panic buttons hugely impacts a hotel’s reputation and, ultimately, their bottom line.

Sustainability Starts Here: Go Green with IoT

ESG imperatives are no longer a nicety in hospitality– they’re necessary to survive and thrive in a densely saturated, competitive climate. Contact MachineQ today to get started with IoT solutions that streamline, automate, and enhance operations to promote sustainability at your hotel.

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