Why cogeneration is an ideal fit for the hospitality industry - Steve Farzam

Why Cogeneration is an Ideal Fit for the Hospitality Industry

Cogeneration is also known as Combined Heat and Power, or CHP, and is a highly-efficient grouping of technologies that uses fossil or renewable fuels to supply energy locally. There is a growing awareness that the sustainability of CHP is an ideal fit for the hospitality industry.

Energy efficiency is a top priority in the hospitality industry, seeing as it ranks in the top five for carbon emissions. The hospitality industry spends almost $4 billion a year on energy. Due to the low cost of natural gas and the steadily-increasing cost of electricity, CHP and hotels are a match made in heaven. Since hotels have a high demand for energy and CHP carries the ability to efficiently use heat generated from these systems, the combination makes sense.

CHP provides hotels with a reliable source of energy 24/7, ensuring guests are comfortable and safe. CHP does this by producing simultaneous heat and power all day, every day. CHP can easily integrate into existing heating and electrical systems, and can be designed to operate and continue to provide power should there be a utility outage.

While CHP increases efficiency and reliability, it also improves environmental performance. The power and heat produced by CHP on-site offsets the purchase of electricity and fuel for boilers. Those same reductions reduce the environmental impact of hotels by reducing air pollution via reduced fuel consumption.

Potential customers have also increased their awareness of their green credentials. Evidence has been growing that travelers are choosing their hotel accommodations based on the green credentials they are being offered by the hotel to host them. Guests look for hotels that are green, convenient, and economical. With CHP, hotels are able to reduce their carbon footprint, drastically reduce their energy costs, and increase sustainability, while simultaneously enticing prospective green-guests to stay at their hotel.

CHP technologies have also become more reliable, remaining fairly inexpensive and generating efficiency. The technologies are flexible and offer a wide range of sizing options based on the needs of the hotel. CHP is typically designed to match the thermal demand of the hotel and will usually provide 50 to 70 percent of the electricity needs of the facility.

There are at least 16 hotels in the United States that are already using CHP systems to meet their energy needs. Many of those systems were installed in the 1980s and are continuing to operate efficiently and reliably, atoning to their long-term benefits.

How You Can Book a Hotel Like a Pro - Steve Farzam

How You Can Book a Hotel Like a Pro

Whether you’re just sleeping in your room for the night or intend to spend your entire vacation at the hotel, booking a room at a luxury hotel doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Instead of overpaying for a room, save your extra cash and use these tips to book a hotel room like a pro.

Check Out Business Hotels

Business is often slower during the summer months and on weekends, especially in Europe. This means that hotels that cater to business travelers are slower as well, and they tend to offer deals and lower prices.

Wait to Check-In at the End of the Day

Since most guests have already checked in, ask for a corner room if any are available. Typically, you’ll get more square footage for the same price. Additionally, hotels are more aware of their occupancy by this point in the day, so you’re more likely to be offered an upgrade on your room.

Call the Hotel Directly

Rather than calling the 800-number provided, call the hotel directly, as the employees working will have a greater chance of being able to provide you with an upgrade. Having a good rapport with the employees and booking directly with them will also increase your chances of perks and upgrades if you book at the hotel regularly.

Sign Up for Loyalty Programs

Signing up for the hotel’s loyalty programs is one of the easiest ways to score free upgrades and points. Loyalty programs vary per hotel but can include perks, like free Wi-Fi, free items with your booking, and more. You can also join loyalty programs through third-party sites, such as Hotels.com, which offers one night free with when you book 10 nights.

Get Alerts When the Price Drops

Life gets busy and it’s sometimes difficult to stay on top of price changes. When you sign up for alerts through third-party sites, they will notify you when the price drops without spamming your inbox. If you don’t have a set destination, you can also check out Hotel.com’s Hotel Price Index, allowing you to see the increase and decrease in hotel prices around the globe.

Use Your Smartphone

Using hotel-related apps on your smartphone can unlock major discounts. Certain apps will provide you with secret prices for rooms during peak times, like weekends, and get you last-minute deals on rooms.

Utilize Membership Programs and Credit Card Perks

Member programs like AAA and AARP can offer a variety of special discounts to travelers such as a discount on bookings, activity vouchers and more. Many major credit cards also offer travelers a ton of perks, like cash back, points, or miles for flying. Check with each to see what they offer, utilize them along with the hotels’ reward programs and you’re sure to save.

If There Are Any Issues With Your Stay, Follow Up

No one like a noisy neighbor or a messy room, particularly on vacation. If there are any issues, follow up. You could receive an upgrade for the rest of you stay, drink vouchers, or a credit to your account.

The Guest Whisperer: How to Help an Angry Guest

In the hotel industry, a proactive approach is always the best course of action. It’s preferable to head off any potential issues in advance, as this will help to ensure a positive guest experience right off the bat. Unfortunately, even the best-laid plans will sometimes go awry, and seasoned professionals will find themselves in the unenviable position of dealing with an angry guest.

Considering the competitive nature of the industry, this is bound to happen, even to the best in the field. Luckily, those with the proper training can come out of the situation unscathed—sometimes even turning it to their advantage. Here’s how.

Put Those Listening Skills to Good Use

An irate customer may not be the best at communicating, but pay close attention to what she’s saying nonetheless. This will help to facilitate a clear and agreeable approach to the issue.

Don’t Belabor Points

Even if the problem was caused largely through the customer’s own fault, it will do no good to point this out to him. Instead, allow him to vent his frustration before taking the floor.

Develop a Thick Skin

The customer’s anger is usually not with the person they’re talking to but with the specific circumstance that initiated the negative response. Remember this even if voices are raised and tempers are running high.

Maintain a Calm Demeanor

It’s the customer service specialist’s job to keep a calm and professional demeanor. It won’t help matters if both parties become aggravated—this will only escalate tension.

Attempt to Fix the Problem

If there’s an immediate solution, then by all means, make it happen. If the situation is beyond the employee’s power to fix, then she should immediately alert the next-highest person on the ladder, and so on, until the situation is resolved.

Don’t Go Overboard

While placating the customer is a must, a sense of fairness has to be retained. For example, it makes no sense to offer a voucher for a free night’s stay simply because the room didn’t have a satisfactory supply of clean washcloths available. Make the compensation commensurate with the complaint.

Follow Up

Reach out to the guest a day or so later, just to ascertain that the situation was resolved. They’ll appreciate the gesture, and be more likely to speak well of the experience.

Steve Farzam

How to Make Hotel Guests Feel Welcome

He’s away on business. They’re enjoying a honeymoon in a dream destination or vacationing with the family during a yearly getaway. Maybe she’s just passing through. Regardless of why people are travelling, they trust the hotels where they stay with the important responsibility of making them feel right at home even when home might be thousands of miles away.

At the Shore Hotel, we take this duty very seriously, and as COO, I do everything in my power to make sure that guests have the most enjoyable and welcoming experience possible during their stay with us. Check out some of the secrets on how to make guests feel welcomed that I’ve learned after a long career in the hospitality industry!

A Personal Welcome

First impressions are lasting, so making sure you’re ready to greet your guests as they arrive goes a long way toward making them feel right at home. The personal introduction shows the guests that they’re valued, but beyond that, this is the first opportunity you have to shape their opinion of the hotel. You should be dressed professionally and with a friendly, enthusiastic attitude so you can warmly welcome your guests on behalf of the hotel and make them feel special—and happy with their choice of accommodation—as soon as they step through the doors.

Take Care of Their Needs

If your hotel is going to serve as a guest’s home away from home, then you’ll want to provide them with all of the creature comforts they need. In the bathroom, lay out toiletries like sustainable or eco-friendly soaps, shampoos, toothbrushes and toothpaste, razors, and other sundries. Place fresh flowers so that the room is fragrant by the time they arrive to make them feel at ease. And another nice touch for the modern traveler is offering a complimentary phone charger during their stay!

Touch Base Often

Once the guests have had a chance to settle in, find opportunities to catch up with them and ask how they’re enjoying their time with you. Do they like their room? Is there anything that you can do to make them feel more comfortable? These check-ins let guests know that you’re invested in their happiness and that you actually want them to be as comfortable as possible, which will make them feel right at home.