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Interview with Javad Hatami, CMO & Co-founder, Optishower

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email interview with Javad Hatami, CMO & Co-founder, Optishower

1.    In 2-3 sentences, what is your product, what does it do? What is your elevator pitch?

Optishower integrated solution helps hotels achieve operational excellence, decrease water and electricity consumption, and ensure the highest levels of guest satisfaction. We use IoT-based smart sensors to monitor water and electricity in buildings; engage and motivate guest to reduce the utility consumption by gamification techniques.

2.    Where did your inspiration for this idea come from? 

It was started from a friendly discussion between two co-founders.  Me and Mohamamdhossein, very close friend of mine and the co-founder of Optishower, were both avid travelers. We’ve been to many countries and usually we stayed in hotels during our travels. The idea came from the observation about high levels of water that was wasted in bathrooms and once someone enters a hotel they usually don’t care about the consumption. We found that 1) guests don’t know about their consumption and 2) they don’t know how they can help environment and avoid unnecessary consumption, 3) and most importantly, they don’t have any incentive to do so.  We found there is not any tailored solution for hospitality sector to tackle these challenges. It was the begging of our journey to create Optishower.

 

3.    Why should hotels be interested? 

Our solution could benefits hotels in 3 different ways:

1)      Optishower technology supports hotels to benchmark the current status of their buildings in terms of consumption and find out any bottlenecks to implement more efficient and sustainable technologies. Optishower could also help hotels to achieve their Corporate Social Responsibility goals in terms of Sustainable Responsible Operations.

2)      Finding leakages in big buildings is hard and time consuming. Our technology can detect any leakage in water pipes and abnormalities in electrical system of building, thus it saves money and time for hoteliers to avoid any damages and losses.

3)       Optishower platform connects guests to their consumption. We use gamification techniques to engage guests with their water and electricity consumption in-room. Therefore, this technology could be used as a new feature to transform in-room guest experience. Moreover, reduction in utility consumption leads to increase in profit margins of hotels.

 

4.    What are some of the initial results you are seeing?

Once our technology is implemented, it can provide lots of data and insights about status of consumption in hotels. Our technology makes utility consumption visible and easily understandable. The recent result from our pilot test in Marriott Amsterdam demonstrated that if guests know about their consumption, they were more conscious and could make more smart choice of water and electricity usage in rooms. We found behavior change is a key component to leverage sustainability status in hotels.

 

5.    What is your vision for this technology/app? What does success look like to you?

Our aim is consumption behavior change through user engagement. We aim to provide data and insight to hotel guests mixed with gamification techniques, so they can make better and smarter consumption decisions.  On the other hand, we aim to provide a platform that makes life easier and more convenient for hoteliers. We are envisioning a system that is an integral part of each hotel and provides visibility on all corners of water and electricity consumption in the hotel. Success for us means developing a solution that makes the lives of hotel guests easier and more comfortable, and provides new and seamless experiences that also positively contributes to environment.

 

6.    What is the role of tech in sustainability for the hospitality industry? 

Technology plays an important role in achieving sustainability goals in hospitality. New technologies that help hotels’ business become resource efficient can both create a competitive cost advantage and further reinforce brand focus on sustainability at the same time. This investment can be profitable and resonate the brand in the heart of customers. For example, new technologies that drives environmentally friendly atmosphere can have positive impact on guest experience. At the end of day, what the guest feels and thinks about the hotel experience leaves an impression with the guest that has a direct impact on occupancy and ADR.

 

7.    What have been your biggest challenges?

As a tech start up that wanted to disrupt travel and hospitality sector, our main challenge was to understand the major pain in the hospitality sector and to craft an innovative and wining solution for that. We looked to the hospitality sector and found that sustainability is still a luxury word; everyone talks about it, but nobody wants to implement it. We looked to the current solutions that exist and found that most, if not all, of them are technology-based and lack active end-user engagement. It took some time for us to find a way to connect tech with social and economic behavior strategies to craft a specific solution that deals with sustainability challenges in the hospitality sector.

 

8.    What is your prediction for the future of hotels, particularly in terms of sustainability and guest engagement? 

There is a visible trend in the travel and hospitality market that guests prefer sustainable tourism as a requirement in their travel. Personalization also would be a key component of future hotel service. The hotel of the future offers new and diverse experiences that can evolve with the guest. If you want to have a hotel that is sustainable and provides personalized service, you need clear engagement with your guest regarding your sustainability activities. I believe tech and behavior science are helping at that stage to provide innovative solutions that transform the guest experience. Hotels of the future would integrate sustainability as their core elements from hotel design to operation, therefore technology will bring innovative environmentally-friendly solutions to provide seamless experiences for guests in the future.

 

9.    In your opinion, what should the sustainable guest experience look like? 

I believe the trend in the travel industry where sustainability is an important concern is increasing. There are statistics and surveys demonstrating that more and more guests are booking green and eco-friendly hotels.  Sustainable design offers such travelers a place where they can feel comfortable spending their time and money. These environmentally conscious travelers likely expect sustainability efforts in the design of rooms, reducing waste, saving water and promoting green activities in operation, energy-efficient appliances, recycling programs and gluten-free meals, at the very least. Recent advances in technology made it possible to re-design hotels according to green practices. Hospitality is always about experience and connecting people. Environment influences behavior and mindset, and guests are sensitive to small things in their surrounding that change their mood. For example, rooms with new designs that enjoy lots of natural sunlight is more likely to be perceived as energizing and inspiring. To offer a sustainable guest experience, hoteliers should think about innovative ideas that combines suitability with new experiences. As an example, lamps that are energy efficient yet offers a relaxing environment for guests would create a memorable and authentic experience for guests during their stay in a hotel.

10. Anything else you’d like the reader to know about yourself or Optishower? 

Optishower is a Portuguese brand offering an innovative platform for the hospitality sector with a very disrupting idea that incorporates elements from tech to social behavior. As a young tech start up in the travel industry, we believe proactive engagement of guests is a key to achieve sustainability in the hospitality sector. Recently, our disruptive idea has grabbed the attention of Marriott hotels and we have been selected from around 150 applicants from 24 countries to pilot our technology, as part of Marriott test bed acceleration program, in Marriott Amsterdam.

 

 

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Dr Amy Khor (left) speaks to Chef Lucas Glanville, director of culinary operations at Grand Hyatt Singapore, beside the Biomax Thermophilic Digester machine which recycles food waste for the hotel. ST PHOTO: TAN SUE-ANN

SINGAPORE – Grand Hyatt, a hotel near Orchard Road, has saved $100,000 a year, just by managing its waste. Instead of throwing food waste into the bin, the hotel staff transfer them into a machine known as the Biomax Thermophilic Digester. This technology recycles food waste such as vegetable, poultry, bones, egg shell, tissue paper and fruit peel from nine in-house restaurants and kitchens. The food waste is then converted into pathogen-free organic fertilisers which are used for the hotel’s landscaping purposes.

Find out more about this technology by reading the full article here.

By Sue-Ann Tan for The Straits Times.

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hotels glodge

Hotels and other lodges around the world are increasingly conducting sustainability initiatives in their establishments, according to a new survey, yet most didn’t share information about what they do on their website.

The Green Lodging Trends Report 2016 has been released Green Lodging News and Greenview. The report is based on data from more than 2,000 hotels in 44 countries and covers topics ranging from air quality to energy management to staff involvement. “I am excited to announce the release of this groundbreaking report,” says Glenn Hasek, Publisher & Editor of Green Lodging News. “Since hatching the idea for the report more than a year ago, Greenview and Green Lodging News have worked hard to develop a survey that would uncover the most common, best and most innovative practices, determine what is trending, and create a mechanism for tracking continuous improvement. This report does just that.”

The report includes results of more than 100 questions asked in 11 categories.

Some highlights of the Green Lodging Trends Report 2016:

  • Most respondents (65 percent) indicated they currently offer a 100 percent nonsmoking environment for guests.
  • Seventy percent said they have moved at least 75 percent of their lighting to LEDs.
  • Seventy-one percent said they practice recycling in all common areas of the property.
  • One-half of respondents indicate they sub-meter water consumption.
  • Sixty-nine percent said they reuse graywater (water from sinks, showers, baths, washing machines, dishwashers).
  • Sixty-two percent said at least 50 percent of the green cleaning products used are certified by a third party.
  • Fifty-two percent told us they grow food ingredients, such as herbs or vegetables, on-site.
  • Among respondents in the Americas, 82 percent said they have someone in charge of green initiatives.
  • Seventy-three percent said they give employees the opportunity to volunteer their time and services toward various environmental events and campaigns during regular working hours.
  • Forty-four percent said they sustainability-specific requirements in their procurement of goods and services from suppliers.
  • Sixteen percent said climate change has no impact at all in their decisions to make operational improvements and investments.

Yet when it comes to communicating this initiatives, just 48% of respondents said they allocate space on their websites for the sharing of green practices. And just 54% had ever put out a press release about a green initiative they had undertaken.

In addition to publishing Green Lodging Trends Report 2016, a compare report was prepared for each survey participant, serving as a yardstick to understand the status of each specific practice within the general participant universe. Participating hotel companies also received a portfolio report and snapshot across properties.

Just 48% of respondents said they allocate space on their websites for the sharing of green practices. And just 54% had ever put out a press release about a green initiative they had undertaken.

“If you ask most hoteliers if their hotel is green, they’ll say yes and list some basic practices or for a small portion, their certification,” says Eric Ricaurte, Founder & CEO, Greenview. “But how do they really know if they are keeping up with their competitors on the green front? The Green Lodging Survey gives us all insight into what hotels are doing, should be doing, and where to improve. And collectively, we can accelerate best practices together.”

The Green Lodging Survey is the first of an annual exercise for industry trends and benchmarking. The 2017 survey will open in the second quarter of 2017, with the results published in the fourth quarter of 2017. The survey will be enhanced next year to add new, innovative best practices to the questions. It will be further improved based on participant feedback, particularly in segmenting or adjusting the questions by property type, so that properties can be benchmarked according to property type.

The report is available at no cost by clicking here.

To find the original article on Travindy, click here.

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How “insetting” is helping AccorHotels win over guests and locals

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AccorHotels win over guests and locals

Many hotels today try to offset their environmental impact, but French hotel chain AccorHotels uses a unique approach called insetting. That is, its CSR initiatives rehabilitate and sustain the very areas the business depends on for survival. By Travindy. Read more.

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Reducing food waste is becoming a key practice for sustainable tourism. Watch this short video about the problem of food waste:

When food is wasted, other resources are wasted as well: water, energy, time, manpower, land, fertilizer, fuel and packaging, as well as money put into growing, preparing, storing, transporting, and cooking the food. A recent study in the UK calculated that hotels throw away over 20% of the the food they purchase, over half of which is avoidable. For every £1 of food costs thrown in the bin, total costs could be £1.5 to £2 when accounting for lost labour, lost energy, and waste collection costs.

Some hotels cut food waste by altering their dining services, choosing à la carte menus over buffets (buffets have a high propensity for food wastage especially in hot climates). Others properties prefer to give away unused food.

Reducing food waste helps you stop wasting money and other resources. Food waste solutions can payback in less than a year and cut avoidable food waste costs by up 60%.

Learn more how to reduce waste in hospitality and food service from WRAP, or how to reduce and manage food waste in hotels from Green Hotelier.

How Washing Machines Could Use a Lot Less WaterEarlier this year, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology hosted the inaugural MIT Water Innovation Prize, inviting attendees from around the world to pitch their water-conservation device or business to a panel of judges for a chance to win grants totaling $30,000. April Wolfe Read more.

Solar Heaters

Thermal Solar water heating systems (MonoSun Technology Co.,Ltd. Advanced Solar Power,Phuket)

“The numbers of guests have doubled because thanks to the solar panels, the guest houses have functioning showers and warm water is made available for kitchen use,”says Marie Marku from Theth National Park in Albania.

Solar thermal systems use the sun’s light energy to heat water and can be especially efficient in heating water in areas where sunlight is abundant.  The technologies on the market are efficient and highly reliable, making solar power a simple, cost-effective, and sustainable means of heating water. Not only do solar heaters work well in areas where no other water heating options are available, it can also help to reduce operating costs and increase competitiveness. Many hotels in USA and the UK are using different forms of solar energy, with solar heaters as the most common form.

Using solar heaters can be particularly effective in Small Island States as most islands rely almost entirely on imported liquid fossil fuels for energy generation, with high costs of electricity. UNEP recently published a paper, “Solar Water Heating in the Tourism Industry with a Focus on the Caribbean Region,” highlighting the potential contribution of solar heating to reduce carbon emissions.

Facing increasing pressure to improve environmental performance and sustainability, using solar heating can be an efficient solution. Are you one of the businesses to use solar heaters for sustainability and efficiency purposes? If not, what are you waiting for?

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Patagonia

Patagonia is an extremely appealing destination for tourists and obviously requires suitable accommodation structures, both from an architectural and environmentally sustainable point of view. Here are three hotels, each of which in a difference way, but with great care and responsibility, offers a truly unforgettable stay.

The Hotel Awasi in Tercera Barranica delicately fits into its setting and stands out for its visual and material dialogue with the landscape. The complex has a communal area with spaces for the reception and restaurant, and following the model of widespread hospitality, twelve huts distributed across its territory. This is an excerpt from an article published by FloorNatureRead more.

 

October 14 2015 – Operation Makesafe is a joint initiative between the Metropolitan Police and Westminster City Council that aims to train staff to spot the signs of CSE. Radisson Blu Hotels and Resorts is the first major business in Westminster to undergo the training, with others expected to participate in the coming weeks.  Read more.

Nohbo, a water soluble ball containing shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, is in the final stages of development and is anticipating a launch to major hotel chains.

Founded by a Florida-based 16-year-old entrepreneur named Benjamin Stern, the Nohbo ball can help the hospitality industry significantly reduce the millions of plastic bottled amenities that fill landfills when not recycled. Steven William Read more.