10 Ways to Avoid the Brunt of the Energy Crisis this Winter
20 Sep, 2022
With the war in Ukraine nearly two thirds of a year old and winter coming it’s high time we each took an inventory of the imminent pragmatic consequences we can expect for us and ours.
The effects of the ongoing conflict will continue to have far-reaching consequences for us all – I’ll bet you’re feeling some already.
Admittedly it stinks extra – just when we’re getting past COVID, really? – coming off the biggest crisis the industry has faced since the 2008 recession but that doesn’t change the fact that those who prepare laugh last and loudest.
Firstly though, let’s take a quick look at why exactly you need to worry about this.
How does the energy crisis affect me?
For reasons far more complicated than anyone need know – explanation here, for those interested – the war in Ukraine has destabilised the energy markets and sent gas prices soaring leaving consumers and businesses alike anticipating a harsher-than-usual cold season, with those likely most affected being those in charge of – and charging for – keeping people warm and comfortable through the night.
Spoiler – that’s you!
Ripple effects from such large-scale events reliably form whirlpools under hospitality businesses. It’s not only that you are dependent on large quantities of power to facilitate travellers, you also rely on a wide range of suppliers, each of whom will be similarly required to raise their prices and even then you’re likely to be among the first budget cuts of your regular leisure tourists who no doubt find themselves in the same squeeze as you.
There are hotels reporting as much as a 400% hike in annual electricity costs projected for the coming year announcing it might be better to close altogether rather than doubling rates to meet margins. It’s a good thing that the new prime minister has declared the energy crisis to be among her primary concerns while in office.
What can I expect from Liz Truss’s energy policies?
Downing Street has declared the energy crisis to be among their primary focuses for Liz Truss’s first year in office. So far, the vocally pro-business PM has outlined an energy plan to cap price-per-unit for a period, guaranteeing government subsidy for any bills in excess. The bill has varying rates and lengths of guarantee depending on the property – with small businesses getting just six months of leeway compared to the two years afforded homeowners.
That said, Truss has an optimist on-side in hotelier and supporter Rocco Forte, who thinks Truss may well put her money where her mouth is. The new PM has promised tax cuts for businesses and while hospitality giant Forte is curious as to how she might get this done he seems relatively hopeful that she will.
10 things you can do today
As I’m sure you’ve picked up in your years on the job there is a coach’s playbook of manoeuvres you can make to stay in the black at the quieter times of the year.
1) Get on top of stats
For starters, you need to forensically know what’s going on with your establishment. Track where you use the most electricity and adjust accordingly. Make projections of your OR (Occupancy Rate) for the season and close off the rooms that use the most electricity. A good tip is that guests use the lights less in rooms with brighter walls but honestly, your best bet is to get yourself a thorough PMS (Property Management System) – click here to speak with one of our experts and book a free demo.
2) Increase Your Prices
Without going completely mad, try to increase your prices wherever possible. There are a range of views on how to approach this and you can learn about them all with this free E-learning course on Revenue Management. I must stress to not fret too much on this – besides the indications you’ll get from using the methods we teach you must remember your suppliers will be raising their prices and alongside this a certain amount of raising on your side is only natural.
3) Educate Your Guests
This does not necessarily mean imploring your guests to turn off the lights so you can stay open. Work the environmental angle. Dwarfing even the Ukrainian crisis in the news is the climate crisis, always. Leave notes in your rooms, include a paragraph in the pre-arrival email and have receptionists remind them at check-in that it would be good for the planet if your guests used less electricity during their stay. Little do they know it will also be good for your bottom line.
4) Mini-bars Out!
Make projections for your business travellers versus leisure travellers remove the mini-bars from the rooms of leisure travellers. It’s common knowledge that the vast majority of mini-bar purchases are made via expense accounts so why not remove the drag on your power of a mini-fridge from your rooms wherever possible.
5) Shop Around For Power
If there’s ever been an appropriate time to shop around for electricity it’s now. You’ll more than likely find some offers that will improve upon your current one precisely because companies know there’ll be people looking to save money and they’ll be on the lookout to undercut their competition.
6) Optimise HVAC
Optimise heating and air conditioning with smart technology. HVAC generally consumes a lot of energy, relatively speaking. With smart climate control such as those offered by Fibaro or Cielo your guests can set their thermostats to work around when they’ll be in their rooms thus optimising their own comfort while saving you money – it’s a win-win.
7) Keep An Eye On Water Temperature
Don’t overheat your water. Hotels have plenty of reasons for heating water – kitchens, laundries, showers – but most do not realise that not only is 60°C optimum for both killing bacteria and comfortable showering but the heating temperature can be capped so as not to waste energy with excessive heating.
8) Solve Problems Before They Happen
Try to catch problems before they escalate. Keep on top of routine checks so as not to have to fork out on emergency repairs and make sure you have a good channel manager to avoid wasting time and money on solving issues with overbooking, Amenitiz offers one as part of their all-in-one package. Click here to book a demo with one of us, it would be our pleasure to show you around.
9) Train Your Staff
My penultimate point is maybe my most important one – train your staff! Nothing motivates individuals like a sense of camaraderie in duress. Your staff need to know that their cooperation is paramount in keeping the bottom line at an acceptable level so that you can keep your rates in the same state. Get your guys on board from making sure they remind guests of their environmental obligations wherever possible to making sure they know to observe whatever energy saving protocols you put in place.
10) Optimise Time
Finally folks, perhaps the most important piece of advice I have to offer is to optimise time! The cliché that time is money is one for a reason – it’s true! And not just your own time either. You will have staff members more skilled in certain areas than others. More than ever you need to get the most out of every minute of yours and their time. Schedule them time for different tasks, do the same for yourself and get yourself a software package such as Amenitiz which gives you the advantage of having your PMS, your channel manager, your website, your booking engine and – should you choose – your money management in Amenitiz Pay all in the one place so it’s easier to get a multitude of work done in smaller blocks of time.
After COVID you all must be feeling like you can brave anything, but don’t brush the dirt off your shoulders just yet. There’s winter ahead and though I’m sure you’ll get through it unscathed it’s up to you how loud you’ll be laughing. Allow us to empower you with a free demo.
20 Sep, 2022
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