David Willis, B2B Digital Product Manager at Electric Ireland, recently contributed to a webinar organised by The Irish Hotels Federation as part of its Innovation Series.
The webinar explored how hotels are innovating their product and guest experience in response to evolving customer expectations and a changing environment. David spoke alongside Chris Austin, Group Director of Operations at The iNua Collection, Raquel Noboa, Founder of Fifty Shades Greener and Tom Mc Dermott, Managing Director of Agility Hospitality in a discussion hosted by Conor Brophy (Managing Director at Teneo and former RTE presenter).
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Over the past 15 months, innovation has become a key strategy of the hospitality industry. Sectoral closures and new demands from customers have spurned much of this on. We have all seen the hospitality sector adapting with new innovative ideas ranging from developing meal kits to make at home, setting up coffee shops in car parks and even afternoon tea in a box. Hotels have also adapted to accommodate both staff and guests in remote working and hybrid meetings.
During the webinar Chris Austin of the iNua Collection noted that your energy provider should be the first point of contact in evaluating your energy usage as they can provide a high level of data ahead of doing a full energy review.
At Electric Ireland we are seeing customers going 100% renewable on their supply. They are not doing this in isolation, this is often part of a wider strategy. For example, The Europe Hotel in Killarney, an Electric Ireland customer, looked at both reducing their energy usage and then changing their supply to 100% renewable. This is an innovative approach to take and something we at Electric Ireland are proud of in helping reduce their energy usage.
We have found that business customers, particularly hotels, are constantly looking for insights as to how their energy usage compares to others in a similar space. Prior to the pandemic, we launched our SME Premium Insights tool which allows businesses to compare their energy usage to others in the market. This benefits hoteliers to show what savings they could make by reducing their energy usage and carbon footprint.
From our systems we see that people are logging in at all hours to review their information, access bills or information on how to be more energy efficient and this needs to be available 24/7. “Normal business hours” no longer exist in an online world.
Interestingly, Chris Austin also noted that questions on sustainability have been coming not only from customers and prospective business clients, but also job applicants asking what hotels are doing from a sustainability perspective. Sustainability is now everybody’s business.
Hotels have a wide range of staff with a wide range of perspectives which can drive innovation across all areas of the business. Something we at Electric Ireland are seeing is that staff in all areas of the organisation are becoming involved in sustainability initiatives, not just management but all facets of the organisation.
As the industry reopens, it will be exciting to see as how innovation will further develop as we all work towards a low carbon future.
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