Banglore

Maharashtra Government encourages the Hospitality Industry to Partner with the State’s EV Policy

World Environment Day was established in 1972 by the United Nations at the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. The UN realised that there needs to be a coordinated global focus to begin to make environmental conservation and natural resources a priority. This year’s observation calls for commitment to protect the ecosystems, which support the livelihood of millions of people globally. It is, therefore, important that this is taken upon seriously as we would all want to leave a better world filled with hope for our children and their children’s children.  We take this opportunity to highlight more green initiatives from various companies as well as get to know the thoughts and plans industry leaders have to regenerate and restore our ecosystem.

Chalet Hotels Ltd. – Hospitality Industry’s Role in Reducing Environmental Impact Through Sustainable Energy Practices

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.” No business ecosystem is more crucial than the elements of nature itself. World Environment Day marks the annual celebration created to raise awareness and actions to safeguard the environment. As per the United Nations, the theme for the day this year is ecosystem restoration that aims to spread awareness and encourage citizens to develop a sustainable ecosystem through greener cities and conscious consumption habits amongst each individual and the organization to resettle the relationship with nature.

The tourism sector is a broader ecosystem that encompasses businesses such as hotels, airlines, restaurants, transportation, entertainment, and several other industries engaged in supporting travel, lodging and food service. As per UNWTO, tourist transportation accounts for an estimated 75 per cent of total tourism emissions, accounting for 5 per cent of all manufactured emissions and more than 20 per cent of all transport-related emissions. The COVID-19 pandemic has compelled the tourism industry to refocus on resiliency, sustainability, and interconnectivity among varied stakeholders. As a result, worldwide trends such as clean energy, green architecture, and sustainable waste management reflect today’s environmentally conscious travellers’ consumption patterns. In 2021, it is crucial to promote the hotel industry’s significant role in lowering the carbon footprint. It includes adapting to practices and values that encourage waste removal, increasing reusable energy, and discarding hazardous products.

Smart and optimised energy consumption:

blankThe “new normal” has made it vital for hotel operators to review costs and explore innovative solutions not only to reduce energy & water consumption but also to work towards sustainable development. Hotels are introducing innovative tools like predictive guest room technology, smart lighting technology, AI and data-driven solutions, and green infrastructure to reduce energy consumption, thereby enabling them to lower operating costs considerably.  At Chalet Hotels, we have taken several steps towards lowering our energy consumption, and we source the bulk of our power from renewable sources. Several initiatives have been launched to reduce our energy consumption; our HVAC plant rooms have incorporated additional measures like high-efficiency chillers, inline pumps, and low approach cooling towers with variable frequency drives with plant room optimizers for lower energy consumption. As a result, consumption of HVAC plant rooms reduces by more than 15 to 18 per cent. Notably, 51 per cent of our electricity was sourced from non-fossil fuel-based sources in FY 2021.

Effective waste management and water management systems:

blankAs part of our commitment to achieve our overall sustainable goals, we focus on alternative solutions and breakthrough innovations to reduce single-use plastic consumption. Our team is working hard to reduce the carbon footprint through more green practices, which can still be effective in most business aspects even during the challenges resulting from the global virus outbreak.

Prioritising lowering water consumption at hotels has become a norm. Some of the initiatives that our hotels have undertaken are limiting water consumption and reducing wastage through aerators in taps, custom-designed shower heads in guest bathrooms, installing waterless urinals, sensor-based washbasin taps and drip-irrigation systems. Chalet Hotels follows a zero-discharge policy, and the wastewater is recycled through the STP plant and further treated with Ultra Filtration plants. This process enables us to use the treated water for horticulture and flushing systems and chiller plants. Rainwater harvesting and recharging groundwater is a standard practice followed in Chalet hotels.

Engaging guests and employees:

blankHotels need to engage their guests through messaging and integrated service platforms about the initiatives undertaken for environmental causes and contribute to this cause during their stay. From an operational perspective, significant measures to train and educate staff about best practices. At Chalet Hotels, we continuously train and educate our staff on the need to conserve energy and the importance of working towards a sustainable future. We realise that effective communication and engagement with our guests and staff are important, and everyone needs to participate if we want to build a sustainable future.

Some straightforward policies implemented across our hotels encourage guests to opt-out of daily bed and bath linen change and replace individual one-time-use plastic water bottles with water dispensers during banquet events. We are also exploring installing water bottling plants at our hotels, which will use reusable glass water bottles and enable us to reduce consumption of single-use plastics further.

Sustainable Development is one of the core values at Chalet Hotels Ltd., and we focus on growth tempered with respect towards the environment and the local communities. I truly believe that the hospitality industry realizes the value and need for protecting the environment and needs to be a trendsetter in sustainable development. 

Nurturing Nature For A Better Future

World Environment Day was established in 1972 by the United Nations at the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. The UN realised that there needs to be a coordinated global focus to begin to make environmental conservation and natural resources a priority. This year’s observation calls for commitment to protect the ecosystems, which support the livelihood of millions of people globally. It is, therefore, important that this is taken upon seriously as we would all want to leave a better world filled with hope for our children and their children’s children.  We take this opportunity to highlight more green initiatives from various companies as well as get to know the thoughts and plans industry leaders have to regenerate and restore our ecosystem.

Chalet Hotels Ltd. – Hospitality Industry’s Role in Reducing Environmental Impact Through Sustainable Energy Practices

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.” No business ecosystem is more crucial than the elements of nature itself. World Environment Day marks the annual celebration created to raise awareness and actions to safeguard the environment. As per the United Nations, the theme for the day this year is ecosystem restoration that aims to spread awareness and encourage citizens to develop a sustainable ecosystem through greener cities and conscious consumption habits amongst each individual and the organization to resettle the relationship with nature.

The tourism sector is a broader ecosystem that encompasses businesses such as hotels, airlines, restaurants, transportation, entertainment, and several other industries engaged in supporting travel, lodging and food service. As per UNWTO, tourist transportation accounts for an estimated 75 per cent of total tourism emissions, accounting for 5 per cent of all manufactured emissions and more than 20 per cent of all transport-related emissions. The COVID-19 pandemic has compelled the tourism industry to refocus on resiliency, sustainability, and interconnectivity among varied stakeholders. As a result, worldwide trends such as clean energy, green architecture, and sustainable waste management reflect today’s environmentally conscious travellers’ consumption patterns. In 2021, it is crucial to promote the hotel industry’s significant role in lowering the carbon footprint. It includes adapting to practices and values that encourage waste removal, increasing reusable energy, and discarding hazardous products.

Smart and optimised energy consumption:

blankThe “new normal” has made it vital for hotel operators to review costs and explore innovative solutions not only to reduce energy & water consumption but also to work towards sustainable development. Hotels are introducing innovative tools like predictive guest room technology, smart lighting technology, AI and data-driven solutions, and green infrastructure to reduce energy consumption, thereby enabling them to lower operating costs considerably.  At Chalet Hotels, we have taken several steps towards lowering our energy consumption, and we source the bulk of our power from renewable sources. Several initiatives have been launched to reduce our energy consumption; our HVAC plant rooms have incorporated additional measures like high-efficiency chillers, inline pumps, and low approach cooling towers with variable frequency drives with plant room optimizers for lower energy consumption. As a result, consumption of HVAC plant rooms reduces by more than 15 to 18 per cent. Notably, 51 per cent of our electricity was sourced from non-fossil fuel-based sources in FY 2021.

Effective waste management and water management systems:

blankAs part of our commitment to achieve our overall sustainable goals, we focus on alternative solutions and breakthrough innovations to reduce single-use plastic consumption. Our team is working hard to reduce the carbon footprint through more green practices, which can still be effective in most business aspects even during the challenges resulting from the global virus outbreak.

Prioritising lowering water consumption at hotels has become a norm. Some of the initiatives that our hotels have undertaken are limiting water consumption and reducing wastage through aerators in taps, custom-designed shower heads in guest bathrooms, installing waterless urinals, sensor-based washbasin taps and drip-irrigation systems. Chalet Hotels follows a zero-discharge policy, and the wastewater is recycled through the STP plant and further treated with Ultra Filtration plants. This process enables us to use the treated water for horticulture and flushing systems and chiller plants. Rainwater harvesting and recharging groundwater is a standard practice followed in Chalet hotels.

Engaging guests and employees:

blankHotels need to engage their guests through messaging and integrated service platforms about the initiatives undertaken for environmental causes and contribute to this cause during their stay. From an operational perspective, significant measures to train and educate staff about best practices. At Chalet Hotels, we continuously train and educate our staff on the need to conserve energy and the importance of working towards a sustainable future. We realise that effective communication and engagement with our guests and staff are important, and everyone needs to participate if we want to build a sustainable future.

Some straightforward policies implemented across our hotels encourage guests to opt-out of daily bed and bath linen change and replace individual one-time-use plastic water bottles with water dispensers during banquet events. We are also exploring installing water bottling plants at our hotels, which will use reusable glass water bottles and enable us to reduce consumption of single-use plastics further.

Sustainable Development is one of the core values at Chalet Hotels Ltd., and we focus on growth tempered with respect towards the environment and the local communities. I truly believe that the hospitality industry realizes the value and need for protecting the environment and needs to be a trendsetter in sustainable development. 

The Hospitality Industry playing its part to conserve the Blue Gold Water

In India, more than 600 million people face an acute water shortage. As per 2019 study shared by NitiAayog, about three-quarter households do not have a drinking water facility. Water deficiency also widely impacts GDP of the nation. By 2030, India’s water demand is estimated to be twice that of supply, implying not only water shortages but also a 6% loss in GDP– as stated in the Composite Water Management Index (CWMI 2019) developed by the NITI Aayog. This highlights the importance of structural measures to encourage optimized water usage at both the micro and macro levels.

Economy and business led initiatives to save water encompass two segments. First, leveraging technology to reduce their individual water consumption and second, to contribute to the overall ecosystem by conserving water, through various ESG programs. With the increasing awareness around sustainability, people across the globe are considering lifestyle changes that will leave the least negative impact on planet. The Hospitality industry endeavors to offer the best guest experiences, with unrestricted access to water considered a basic offering. From laundry operations to the swimming pools, ‘luxury’ has not been customarily accompanied with ‘conservation’, but the recent past has seen several interventions, by several sensitized hospitality companies which are being highly appreciated and accepted by today’s responsible and environment conscious consumer.

Optimizing water consumption

Preservation of water in the hospitality industry supports cost optimization and sustainable hotel operations. Some of the initiatives that hotels should undertake are limiting water consumption through aerators in taps, custom designed shower heads in guest bathrooms, as well as installing waterless urinals and sensor-based wash basin taps.

It is crucial not only to invest in training the employees on every day best practices that helps in conserving water, but also consciously sensitizing guests and other stakeholders about preserving this blue gold. Hotels should be mindful of the fact that consumers play an integral role in water conservation. It is necessary for them to create awareness among their guests of the different initiatives undertaken by the hotel to enhance water conservation, and how they can extend support. Adoption of technology and engagement of all stakeholders also leads the way in optimizing water consumption, while driving cost efficiencies in the hotels.

Some more simple but notable policies that can be implemented in the hotels are encouraging guests to opt out of daily bed and bath linen change and replace plastic water bottles with water dispensers during mid-scale and large-scale events.

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Rainwater harvesting & water recycling

Hotel properties should have rainwater harvesting systems deployed in their properties and invest in the right technology to recharge ground water and put it to best use.It is ideal if they can follow zero-discharge water policy.Recycling of water should be considered as a priority. STP water for instance can be treated through the deployment of ultra-filtration systems. This treated water can then be re-used for purposes like flushing, gardening, and air conditioning.

The Blue Gold is rightfully named so and is poised to be the most precious commodity going forward with our very existence depending on it. We must do all we can, to ensure it lasts forever.

Leveraging Tech-Enablers, key for the Hospitality Industry in 2021

The hospitality industry is no stranger to crisis and with every aspect of the industry impacted by the pandemic, leaders have been quick to respond to changing concerns, rules, measures and restrictions. As quickly as COVID-19 impacted the world, hotels have responded just as swiftly, adhering to new health standards and pivoting their offerings to build a path to recovery and a reimagined future of hospitality.

Over the last few months, evolving guest preferences have played a significant role in shaping the overall hospitality and travel offerings. As hoteliers welcome back guests in the post-COVID world, contactless and touchless digital services are set to become an integral operational activity. Smart technology and enhanced services will be key to success in instilling consumer confidence as they return to hotels with a hyper-conscious state of mind with regard to health, hygiene and safety.

Sanitized arrivals and tech/app integration:

Technically, a hotel’s battle against the spread of virus begins even prior to the guest’s arrival at the hotel. Therefore, hoteliers are extensively investing in CDC approved standards of safety and sanitization. At Chalet Hotels, our properties have implemented robust measures benchmarked to global standards. We benefit from our global brand partners – Marriott and Accor who have implemented the latest and superior solutions from across the world at our Hotels in India. In addition to this, we are in the process of implementing keyless mobile check-in option at our Marriott branded hotels, where guests can directly walk to their allotted room and access it using the keyless mobile check-in app. Guests will also be able to view and sign the registration card and guest folio on the touch screen tablets, through our digital check-in facility. ‘Touchless Hospitality’ is one such change that we foresee becoming the norm. We are adopting changes which will provide both assurance and delight to the guests.

Redefining dine-in and in-room services:

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Traditionally a high-touch industry, guests are now demanding hotels reduce the number of physical touchpoints. All outlets that are open at the hotels now feature digital menus that are accessible via QR Codes. We have also enabled digitalization of services like room directory, TV guide, IRD, spa booking, laundry pickup, and hotel info along with an integrated digital payment wherever required.

It is also quite possible that in the near future guests will be met with the latest touch-free technology that includes self-service kiosks for check-in/out, mobile room entry, AI-powered in-room, voice-activated assistants and mobile apps that let guests navigate the property and each touchpoint on their terms. Voice-activated technology is becoming commonplace with guests likely to seek out properties offering hands-free control to minimize contact with light switches, TV remotes, thermostats, draperies and more.

Staff monitoring:

For the hospitality industry, which relies extensively on its employees for guest experience, employee training on protocols, meeting new expectations, sensitivity, and the ability to adapt to the new normal is critical. At Chalet, we have focused on cross-training our people across functions, making them tech-savvy and ensuring that they are fully trained on the latest health and safety protocols. The aim is to help employees carry out operations swiftly and efficiently, while keeping health and safety protocols at the core. The use of technology in streamlining of logistics has gained significance, whether through mobile apps or IoT, to ensure reduced physical interaction& enhance experience.

Under the ‘new normal’ Chalet Hotels continues its commitment to serve customers by optimally leveraging technology; our guests’ safety and experience being our foremost priority.

Hotels must consider mapping of the digital guest journey to identify all touch points where they can interject meaningful communications, support, and offers, while also focusing on those solutions which provide a data-driven, personalized guest experience. Far from (social) distancing them from guests, these new technologies are a long-term investment that will be integral to the success of hotels and continued guest loyalty in the future.

Take a break, refresh and rejuvenate: Hotels rethink strategies to cater to guests in the new normal

The year 2020 threw more than just a handful of curveballs in our way. A deadly virus came along and completely overhauled our normal routine, as we knew it. While we quickly learnt to adapt to this new way of working and living, another critical issue came into the spotlight – mental health. The constant need to be logged in, minimal to no social interactions and the mere thought of stepping out that created panic, added to the already-fragile work-life balance. This new dynamic we are all facing can aggravate numerous mental health issues, including burnout. Burnout is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.

However, it is interesting to note that this has not dampened the innate human desire to travel and work from a remote environment. Since the announcement of Unlock for gradual resumption of travel and local businesses, people have started to venture out for short vacations to convenient and drivable destinations. At the same time popular sentiment is inclined towards staycations and working from a hotel that provides a safe, comfortable yet refreshing environment. A number of studies have shown that taking time away from the job can have physical and psychological health benefits. People who take vacations have lower stress, less risk of heart disease, a better outlook on life, and more motivation to achieve goals.

According to a recent survey by Airbnb on latest travel trends for the upcoming year, 62 per cent of people expressed interest in taking a vacation that is closer to home showing preference for natural environments that have more open spaces. Young professionals are actively seeking staycations at hotels and alternate accommodations that offer various incentives like discounts on room packages, complimentary pick up and drop off services, or even pet-friendly rooms and amenities. Trends such as travelling closer to urban locations, business parks and working from anywhere will continue to see the interest of these young working professionals.

Going forward, it will be vital for hoteliers to adopt an even more guest-centric approach and excel in providing on-demand services to visitors. A hotel stay is not just about traditional hospitality experience anymore, it is about being agile, transforming using digitization to provide value-added services to guests. Time spent away from work desk is equally important to boost productivity, and today, a hotel’s environment and ambience must demonstrate that change for guests seeking down-time.

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Today companies encourage their employees to take time off to rejuvenate as it not only benefits employees but also improves productivity in the long run. In response to this trend, hoteliers have implemented comprehensive safety and hygiene measures to make guests feel safe and have a memorable experience. Hotel chains are also investing in smart tech equipment and enhancing their bouquet of wellness services to ensure that guests are able to work and relax when they’ve checked into a hotel. At Chalet Hotels, we are in the process of implementing keyless mobile check-in option where guests across all our hotels can directly walk to their allotted room and can open the door by using keyless mobile check-in app. Guests will also be able to view and sign registration card and guest folio on the iPad screen through our digital check-in facility. Our hotels have introduced “VSERVE” which allows fully contactless services by digitalizing E-Menu & E-Ordering using QR code, Room directory, TV guide, IRD, spa booking, laundry pickup, concierge services, welcome letter and hotel info along with an integrated digital payment wherever it is required. This is an ongoing initiative in all the Marriott properties.

With the current regulations in place, it is essential for travel, tourism and hospitality industry to implement stringent measures that ensure all-round safety for guests and employees. As a result of this, hotels are investing in enhancing their preparedness through advanced technological solutions, refined skill-sets, and a safety-first approach to stay ahead of the game.

Premium luxury hotels need to be more customer focused than ever before

With festive cheer all around, the green shoots of recovery seem to add its golden hue for India’s travel and hospitality segments. Earlier, Clear trip had told The Financial Express Online that Indian travellers are ready to pay a premium for a safe and comfortable stay, thereby showing their preference for five star properties.

At Lakeside Chalet – Marriott Executive Apartments in Powai, Mumbai we have observed a rise in demand.

With festive cheer all around, the green shoots of recovery seem to add its golden hue for India’s travel and hospitality segments. Earlier, Clear trip had told The Financial Express Online that Indian travellers are ready to pay a premium for a safe and comfortable stay, thereby showing their preference for five star properties. From an Asia-Pacific perspective, a recent survey known as the Inmarsat’s Passenger Confidence Tracker indicates that nine in 10 of Asia-Pacific airline passengers are set to alter travel habits and more importantly, about a half are planning to travel less. This brings a pertinent question from an Indian context: Will the onset of pod travel and staycation and enjoying weekend getaways turn muted once the festive cheer is over?

In conversation with The Financial Express Online’s Swapna Raghu Sanand, Rajneesh Malhotra, Vice President – Operations & Asset Management, Chalet Hotels Ltd says, “As we enter the year end festive season, the consumer sentiment has improved and we expect a positive rub off on the industry in general. We expect the end of the year 2020, to be better than its beginning! ”

In his opinion, a steep recovery can be expected once a reliable vaccine is produced. He further adds, “Recovery will be faster than most predict, once a solution in the form of a vaccine or reliable treatment for COVID-19 is in place.”

2020 has been an unprecedented year. How do you review the year so far and COVID-19 impact on hotel bookings in India?

2020 has been an extremely challenging year for the hospitality and travel sector in general. The beginning of the first financial quarter witnessed covid-19 induced restrictions that took a heavy toll on the industry’s business and operations during April till July 2020.

With lockdowns easing and travel restrictions slowly and cautiously lifted, the general sentiment has improved, bringing a positive change for travel, tourism and hospitality as well as other economic activities.

People’s understanding of the situation has improved and they are better at adapting to the change with necessary precautions and less fear.

This trend in general has led businesses on their path to recovery with a positive impact on the hotel sector.

What are the top trends for next year in terms of India’s hospitality segment? In your opinion, what are the key challenges ahead?

The impact of the pandemic both on sentiment of people and how companies react to the ongoing situation continue to remain key challenges for businesses. Companies have had travel restrictions in place since March which are expected to ease out in the next few weeks/months. It is essential for businesses to get back to normal ASAP which again will have a positive rub off on overall economic activities. Obviously a lot depends on what turn the pandemic takes and we hope the vaccine will be out soon which will expedite the whole recovery process.

Top emerging trends in the industry include:

Adopting technology faster than ever before.

Digital solutions designed to enhance customer experience, minimize human contact, and all technologies aimed at promoting health & wellness are being adopted at a faster pace by the hospitality industry.

The pandemic has also forced hoteliers to rethink their strategy and consider reducing fixed costs and shift a few traditionally fixed costs into the variable bucket and make operations leaner, smarter and more efficient.

Other key challenges for the industry remain the continued travel restrictions on International travel, rebuilding public confidence and sustain operations during these unprecedented low business volumes. Industry would depend a lot more on government initiatives to promote travel and tourism.

What constitutes the new normal for hotels and guests now?

Besides hotels, you also have serviced residences that you are looking at.

Do you expect heightened demand for such residences than hotel rooms?

The new normal has led to minimal interactions between guests and hotel staff for routine operational tasks. For instance, check-ins, ordering in, dine-in and check-out everything is shifting to digital with contactless processes. Lot of smart technology is being introduced in guest rooms and public areas, for example, keyless entry into rooms, controlled gadgets in rooms, and focus on health and safety measures like improved air quality, etc.

At Lakeside Chalet – Marriott Executive Apartments in Powai, Mumbai we have observed a rise in demand.

People trust global brand’s ability and commitment to maintain the highest possible standards of health, hygiene and safety thereby leading people to choose branded serviced apartments over individual apartments for their stay in the city.

In your view, what transformation can you foresee for India’s hospitality segment in early 2021?

As mentioned earlier, tech will play a vital role in hotels.

The innovation will be expedited in this area and hotel chains will be quick to adopt technology that is aimed at improving guest experience, reducing costs, optimizing overall operations and enhancing efficiency of services.

Significantly, staff training takes center stage with ever changing protocols around safety & hygiene.

In your opinion, what should premium hotels and resorts do beyond health and hygiene to bring their customers back?

At present for all hotels, topmost priority is health, hygiene and safety of its staff and guests and ensuring that there is no compromise in that aspect.

Today, premium luxury hotels need to be more customer focused than ever before. It has become crucial to continuously design improved, personalized/customized offerings compared to the past, in order to rekindle the need to visit hotel/restaurants and have a good time.

Hotels have to continuously enhance their offerings to attract customers and stay focused on their target customer’s ever changing needs.

In an extension to re-imagined services, it is also essential for hoteliers to incorporate sustainability and environmentally responsible business practices which not only fulfills the expectations of customers but all our stakeholders.

Can you share insights about your current occupancy rates? Also, when do you expect it to evolve?

We clocked around 25% Occupancies across our portfolio in the Quarter that ended in September 2020 It is expected that the last Quarter of the calendar year 2020 will be better for the industry in general.

As travel restrictions are eased and international travel is expected to restart early next year, we expect the demand to grow steadily and 2021 would be a year of “rebuilding” for most businesses.

When do you expect hotel occupancy to get back to its normal cycle?

We definitely expect travel to pick up in India. We are seeing signs of improvement in travel and occupancies have seen a positive uptick as domestic airlines have been allowed to operate at 70% capacity.

As businesses get back to normalcy and work-related travel resumes the demand for quality hotels in Tier-1 cities is bound to go up. Chalet Hotels’ portfolio of hotels is strategically spread across key metro cities and is well poised to benefit from the first wave of business recovery as it happens.

Energy efficiency, green buildings to define hotels of the future

As most people were confined indoors as a result of the lockdown in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for energy commodities has dropped by 25 to 30 per cent according to KPMG in India estimates. However with summer right around the corner, energy consumption is likely to see a spike during the peak months. Keeping in mind the impact that energy consumption has on the environment, hoteliers took this time to re-strategize their operations with enhanced smart technology to build a greener business model.

The hotel sector has increased focus on energy consumption and that has accelerated the evolution of smart building technologies that curb energy wastage/consumption through conscious efforts. Environment sustainability in the hospitality industry has evolved over the last few years with hotel chains taking into cognizance the fact that the industry plays a pivotal role in protecting the earth’s resources. Experts are of the opinion that green building technologies can help the world prepare for a future in which pandemics may be more common. In fact, the Singapore Green Building Council (SGBC) president Dr Ho Nyok Yong made it loud and clear at a webinar in May last year when he said, “Think of green buildings as giant N95 face masks, protecting you from harmful toxins the moment you step inside.” In addition to this, consumers today have become more conscious of their habits by choosing sustainable experiences

Considering the ever-evolving landscape of hospitality industry, cost of utility and energy consumption while also considering environmental impact, is a matter of concern, making it imperative that Hoteliers today take proactive measures to evaluate energy consumption patterns. At the same time, it is also important to implement a robust set of practices to ensure our hotels are energy efficient without compromising on customer experience. Among the various factors that contribute towards energy consumption the larger share comes from – air-conditioning (45 to 50%) followed by lighting (14 to 18%) and the rest by kitchen equipment, plumbing equipment, refrigeration and elevators. To reduce and control energy consumption, let us consider the following essential factors:

Air Conditioning:

To optimize the energy used for cooling, hotels need to be equipped with omni sensors that automatically detect occupancy and recalibrate temperatures in the respective guest rooms. This helps saving load and results in lighter electricity bills. Apart from this, hotel premises must also be installed with Pressure Independent Balance Control Valve (PIBCV) for Fan Coil as well as Air handling Units to provide initiate further savings.

At Chalet Hotels’ properties our HVAC plant rooms have incorporated additional measures like high efficiency chillers, inline pumps and low approach cooling towers with variable frequency drives with plant room optimizer for lower energy consumption. As a result consumption of HVAC plant room reduces by more than to 15 to 18%.

Lighting:

Hotels need to adapt to efficient lighting systems with LEDs instead of incandescent or CFL lighting. At Chalet Hotels, sensor-based lighting tools enable in delivering significant energy savings while also ensuring quality of service and comfort for the guests. Smart controls in rooms are environment-friendly tools and save energy by 15-20%.

Kitchen equipment, plumbing equipment, refrigeration and elevators: With the use of smart technology, energy-saving devices are able to perform several actions that lead to energy efficiency. For instance, walk-in and deep-freezers use smart technology to read and adjust temperatures according to the food stored in them. This reduces the load on the compressor and leads to lesser power consumption. Furthermore, hotels can implement Preventive Maintenance Schedule for refrigeration systems that are monitored online to avoid any mishaps.

Besides the factors stated above, it has become imperative for hoteliers to invest in modern infrastructure like green roofs and energy efficient windows. Energy efficient windows (Double glazed triple windows) reduce noise levels inside the room and solar radiation. Apart from ensuring overall energy efficiency, these help streamline operations, enhance employees’ productivity and provide improved guest experience. There are a number of improving energy efficiency opportunities in hotels today and IoT (Internet of Things) based solutions have made these simple and affordable. Hence we train and sensitize our staff on the need to conserve energy and the importance of working towards a sustainable future. Finally, we ensure that our guests are made aware of various measures the hotel is taking to minimize its carbon footprint and how they can contribute to the effort.

Adoption of technology and involvement of all stakeholders has helped Chalet Hotels in building a sustainable future while driving profitability which will result in energy efficient building models, as has always been company’s motto.

Reboot, Reinvent and Rethink: Future of hotel industry

By Mr. Rajneesh Malhotra, VP – Operations and Asset Management

The hospitality industry has displayed great resilience and optimism to overcome the unprecedented challenges brought by the COVID-19 outbreak. Although the industry was adversely impacted by the imposition of the lockdown and travel restrictions since March, hotel establishments are now prepared to once again host their guests by transforming the hospitality landscape to meet with the ever-changing consumer trends and expectations. As the governments gradually lift travel restrictions across the country, hoteliers are focusing on agile and proactive solutions to adapt to the ‘new normal’.

Evolving guest preferences will have a significant impact on hotel operations. According to the recent surveys by Thomas Cook and SOTC, health and safety were reported as primary concerns for 75% of travelers while 35% were willing to pay more to ensure the same. In the new world order, consciousness about health, safety, and well-being will continue to remain high and for us, this means acclimatizing to changes on multiple fronts. It is imperative for the industry to incorporate immaculate hygiene standards to reassure their guests as well as employees.

At Chalet Hotels, our objective is to reboot, reinvent, and align our services with the changing guest needs & the new business environment. Our key strategy is to be cognizant of the changing customer experiences and addressing their concerns. A wider vision on the path to recovery through cost optimized operations method can be explored through these efforts:

Reboot:

After a long slumber, as hotels are gradually reopening with relaxed regulations, the new normal offers a wide array of opportunities for the sector. The industry is embracing this change and proactively reconfiguring businesses for a strong comeback and restore a level of normalcy. Hotels are investing in enhancing their preparedness through advanced technological solutions, refined skill-set, and a safety focused approach for meeting with the current needs of consumers.. As our staff continues to operate at minimum capacity, we also need to ensure that the guests are abiding by the safety guidelines. Implementing workplace protocols to enhance hotel hygiene will play a crucial role in the new normal. Multiple hotel chains have significantly invested in collaterals to communicate with their guests at every touch point right from arrival, to dining, to even the rooms. Hoteliers are also mandating digital display screens across the hotel premises to ensure that visitors are adhering to the safety and social distancing guidelines. At Chalet Hotels, we have implemented robust measures with globally approved safety standards so that our guests are confident to stay with us

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Simultaneously, it is essential to Reinvent and Rethink:

While hoteliers are resuming operations with enhanced safety measures and stringent protocols, they have also reimagined their strategies highlighting the essentials for the future of hospitality in the new normal. The pandemic has prompted notable transformation in hotel operations, design and technology, and hoteliers, while also making it inevitable for businesses to eliminate some traditional practices. Companies and businesses having a clear vision to serve their guests with exceptional hospitality experience, along with a committed team and the courage to face up to adversity are viewing this change in a positive manner. We have channeled our efforts to provide a memorable experience to our guests with robust hospitality CRM. Reinventing business to devise an optimized and sustainable operational strategy with new revenue streams will be key to business. Hoteliers have been pushed to get creative and incorporate digital solutions to augment the overall hotel experience along with contactless communications at every touch point. Complementing technology with traditional hospitality tools to provide sustainable and environmentally responsible amenities will positively support hotels develop a strong and distinguished impact amongst their customers.

The lockdown phase enabled hotel businesses to cross-train people on different jobs to equip them with tech-savviness and analytic decision making. The aim is to help employees to carry out operations swiftly and efficiently. To enable this, organizations are utilizing mobile apps and making notable investment for applications of IoT in guestrooms as well as across the hotel, and are using technology to manage and streamline logistics and employees. Investment in technology supports mobilizing the organization and also enables in mapping employee productivity/performance.

As restrictions relax and business resume to a staggered normal, guests will expect hotels to deploy digital tools to enable contactless options. It is crucial to respond to their demand for a digitized and seamless guest experience with minimal human contact. For instance, contactless payments will become the norm as people are careful about whom they come into physical contact with. Additionally, services like valet-parking and bell desk may shift towards self-service. The ‘touchless hospitality’ is one such change which we can see. We are adopting changes which will provide both assurance and delight to the guests. All outlets that are open in the hotels now feature digital menus that are accessible via QR Codes placed on tables which enables the guests to go through our elaborate and well planned menus, doing away with any contact with physical menus. Digital payment solutions as an offering has always been there across our outlets and has been revived as a practice now more than ever.

On the whole, consumers are bound to have greater dependency on their mobile phones as everything right from passports to boarding passes and keyless hotel entry will be facilitated through this. To continue staying ahead of the guests’ evolving patterns, brands need to be agile and continue transforming. In the post pandemic scenario, it will be important for hotel chains to embrace digitization as a means to offer value-added services and experiences to customers. It will become absolutely vital to align revenue and marketing strategy for optimal outcomes.

Hoteliers’ reopening roadmap to capture demand in response to changes in consumer behavior

By Mr. Rajneesh Malhotra, VP – Operations and Asset Management

The hospitality industry, which has adapted to the “new normal” with seriousness and grace, is gradually reviving its operations as state governments remove restrictions. As businesses gear up to reopen, evolving guest preferences will play a significant role in shaping the overall hospitality and travel experience.  Impacted by the travel restrictions and lockdown since mid – March, hoteliers are embracing fresh ideas and inspiration to cater to ever-changing consumer behavior and perceptions. While safety continues to be of prime importance, the industry is also faced with a gamut of challenges pertaining to developing a more personalized and engaging guest experience with minimum human contact.

The ongoing battle against the pandemic has triggered several changes in in the hospitality industry, it has also made it critical for hoteliers to adopt practices and technology that will instill confidence in guests. Contactless & touch-less service are the new buzzwords and digital solutions are being implemented across hotels to minimize the chances of spreading the infection and reassure guests & employees. However, hoteliers need to minutely plan & implement these solutions without lowering the service delivery levels.   The hotels need to be ahead of the curve and adopt the latest technologies and enhance service delivery levels in this ever-so-fast-changing landscape.

Many established hotels which were operating even during the lockdown period already had advanced sanitization measures in place. At Chalet Hotels too, we have implemented robust measures with globally accepted safety standards to reinforce our commitment to safety and enhance guest confidence.  We are leveraging customer centric technology to enable contactless communication between our guests and employees to provide the same seamless, secure and safe experience as they come back to stay with us.

We are in the process of implementing keyless mobile check-in option where guests in all our hotels can directly walk to their allotted room and can open the door by using keyless mobile check-in app. Guests will also be able to view and sign registration card and guest folio on the iPad screen through our digital check-in facility. Our hotels have introduced “VSERVE” which allows fully contactless services by digitalizing E-Menu & E-Ordering using QR code, Room directory, TV guide, IRD, spa booking, laundry pickup, concierge services, welcome letter and hotel info along with an integrated digital payment wherever it is required. This is an ongoing initiative in all the Marriott properties.

Our brand partners Marriott and Accor, both follow global hygiene and sanitization protocols and continuously explore and implement new technologies that enhances guest experience keeping hygiene and safety in mind.

Even as the change is here to stay and the post-COVID-19 landscape demands hoteliers to incorporate changes on multiple fronts, the travel and hospitality industry can seek hope in the fact that sooner or later people will want to travel, within or outside their cities. We are cognizant of the consumers’ need to ‘get away’ and keeping this in mind our hotels have fine-tuned their offerings right from Staycations to F&B to business events and weddings.

Today, many hotels are reimagining their approach to demonstrate an all new hospitality experience as well as special offers in response to current consumer trends. For instance, our hotels in Bangalore and Hyderabad have witnessed weddings, as one of the key drivers of business. All government protocols regarding social distancing and hygiene are strictly followed in our hotels and our guests notice the measures adopted by our hotels to ensure the safety of our guests and associates. We provide online streaming tools so that people, who could not attend the function can join remotely and be a part of the celebrations. Similarly, in Maharashtra, our hotels the J.W Marriot Sahar & Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel in Powai were functional for special purpose groups since the beginning of the lockdown. Apart from the rooms, we have leveraged F&B as an opportunity for revenue performance improvement with a forward thinking and creative mindset through our special culinary offerings.

In the future, it will be extremely crucial for hoteliers to continuously monitor the trends and be prepared to move swiftly at the pace of changing consumer needs. We work with global brands like Marriott and Accor who are updated with the latest developments concerning new solutions, guests’ preferences, changing trends, etc. and this gives our hotels an advantage of adopting the latest and superior solutions well ahead of others thereby helping our hotels deliver best in class services to the customers while ensuring highest possible standards of hygiene and safety.

Using energy efficiency to drive profitability at Chalet Hotels

By Mr. Rajneesh Malhotra, VP – Operations and Asset Management

Sustainability has been one of the most noticeable hospitality trends of recent times, with a growing number of businesses promoting eco-friendly initiatives. Environment sustainability in the hospitality industry has evolved over the last few years with hotel chains taking into cognizance the fact that the industry plays a pivotal role in protecting the earth’s resources. In addition to this, consumers in general have become more conscious of their habits by choosing sustainable experiences over conventional ones. While the hospitality industry accounts for large amounts of energy consumption, in recent times smart technology and effective policies have helped control the impact on the environment.

In the ever evolving landscape of hospitality industry, cost of utility and energy consumption while also considering environmental impact, is a matter of concern, making it imperative that Hoteliers today take proactive measures to evaluate energy consumption patterns. At the same time, it is also important to implement a robust set of practices to ensure our hotels are energy efficient without compromising on customer experience.

Among the various factors that contribute towards energy consumption the larger share comes from – air-conditioning (45 to 50%) followed by lighting (14 to 18%) and the rest by kitchen equipment, plumbing equipment, refrigeration and elevators. To reduce and control energy consumption, let us consider the following essential factors:

Air Conditioning:

To optimize the energy used for cooling, hotels need to be equipped with omni sensors that automatically detect occupancy and recalibrate temperatures in the respective guest Rooms. This helps saving load and results in lighter electricity bills. Apart from this, hotel premises must also be installed with Pressure Independent Balance Control Valve (PIBCV) for Fan Coil as well as Air handling Units to provide initiate further savings.

At our HVAC plant rooms at Chalet Hotels, we have incorporated additional measures like high efficiency chillers, Inline pumps and low approach cooling towers with Variable frequency drives with plant room optimizer for lower energy consumption. As a result consumption of HVAC plant room reduces by more than to 15 to 18%.

Lighting:

Controlling non-essential lighting consumption is a must when you are trying to optimize cost. Hotels need to adapt to efficient lighting systems with LEDs instead of incandescent or CFL lighting. Additionally, hotels need to focus on deploying technology and motion sensors to minimize energy consumption in various areas of the hotel. At Chalet Hotels, censor-based lighting tools enable in delivering significant energy savings while also ensuring quality of service and comfort for the guests. Smart controls in rooms are environment-friendly tools and save energy by 15-20%.

Kitchen equipment, plumbing equipment, refrigeration and elevators: With the use of smart technology, energy-saving devices are able to perform several actions that lead to energy efficiency. For instance, walk-in and deep-freezers use smart technology to read and adjust temperatures according to the food stored in them. This reduces the load on the compressor and leads to lesser power consumption. Furthermore, hotels can implement Preventive Maintenance Schedule for refrigeration systems that are monitored online to avoid any mishaps.

Besides the factors stated above, it has become imperative for hoteliers to invest in modern infrastructure like green roofs and energy efficient windows. Energy efficient windows (Double glazed triple windows) reduce noise levels inside the room and solar radiation. Apart from ensuring overall energy efficiency, these tools help streamline operations, enhance employees’ productivity and provide improved guest experience. There are a number of improving energy efficiency opportunities in hotels today and IoT (Internet of Things) based solutions have made these simple and affordable. While introducing newer technologies to minimize energy consumption is imperative it is equally important to onboard all stakeholders including employees and guests.

Hence we train and sensitize our staff on the need to conserve energy and the importance of working towards a sustainable future. Finally, we ensure that our guests are made aware of various measures the hotel is taking to minimize its carbon footprint and how they can contribute to the effort. Adoption of technology and involvement of all stakeholders has helped Chalet Hotels lead the way in building a sustainable future while driving profitability.