How to waste energy: get your guests to help!

Conference organiser Vilnis Vesma takes a light-hearted look at how (not) to motivate guests…

To some extent, your guests are in charge of heating, hot water consumption, lighting and air conditioning. The hotelier that isn’t worried about energy costs can enlist the help of guests to maximise losses by taking the following steps:

  • Don’t worry about having controls that work properly. If rooms are overheated or overcooled, customers can always open the windows;
  • If the room lights and power are controlled by a keycard switch, hand out extra keycards when guests check in, or even just leave a spare in the slot in case they forgot to bring any business cards with them;
  • Have the TV and all the lights on in the room when they first occupy it. Even if they were only on for a few minutes before they step in the room, it sends a subtle message that profligacy with energy is OK. And why not? It’s what they’ve paid for…
  • Have heating and air conditioning controls that are completely unfathomable, just in case a guest tries to use them intelligently;
  • Never provide instructions;
  • Better still, have separate controls for heating and cooling, or put electric heaters in air-conditioned rooms, to maximise the chance of them being used simultaneously (perfect comfort at infinite cost);
  • Have lighting in the communal areas that’s brighter than in the rooms, and not automatically controlled. What better ways to signal your indifference to energy waste?
  • Apply tinted window film that makes a sunny blue sky look grey and overcast. Give the guest the choice between mild depression and wasting your air-conditioning.
  • Show that you don’t actually care about sustainability: have worthy notices in the bathroom about towels and the planet, but make sure the housekeeping staff ignore the policy and change the towels anyway.

Seriously, though: at the conference we will address the thorny issue of how to encourage all guests, environmentally-minded and otherwise, to become less wasteful.