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Mitigating Power Outages’ Impact on Guests and Reputation: A Hotelier’s Guide

Don’t be caught off guard. Use power outages to display your exemplary service.

A power outage will temporarily take away your electricity. An improperly managed power outage can take away your clientele.

Hotels often focus on aspects that potential guests actively look for such as unique amenities, design that’s kept up with the times, cleanliness, and affordable booking prices. Most guests aren’t researching which hotels have the best emergency exit or response plans, so hoteliers might be more inclined to just stick to the basics and meet the minimum regulations.

Still, most guests assume that hotels keep backup generators on standby in case of an outage.

Going against that assumption won’t help anyone if a generator is needed.

If you get guests through your doors just to have their needs abandoned in a potentially dangerous or distressing situation, they likely won’t be coming back. Depending on the severity of the blackout and the way your hotel handles it, you could see yourself on the local (or God forbid national) news. Consumers exposed to that story aren’t going to jump through your doors the next time they plan on traveling.

Just one example includes the New York City power outage of 2019, where the entire power grid failed for about five hours, according to National Standby Repair Inc. It affected more than 72,000 customers of the Con Edison power provider. Thousands of hotel guests had to flee to the streets. Their hotel didn’t have a backup generator which meant AC was nonexistent in the building, allowing the temperature to reach unbearable heights. A separate power emergency meant no electricity lasting up to 52 hours in some locations.

Hotels that prepare for these situations and are able to take care of their guests will certainly stand out amongst the crowd.

Here’s how to start making sure you’re one of them.

Get a backup generator

Generators aren’t cheap, especially when trying to cover hundreds or even thousands of rooms. Shelling out the money now, however, can make a big impact in the long run. By investing in backup generators, hotels can make sure there are no breaks in their ability to provide necessities like lighting, air conditioning, heating, and security systems. Not only does this allow them to maintain their usual efficiency, but it certainly maintains guest satisfaction and minimizes inconveniences or any other side effects that come with power outages. That could even include damages experienced by guests or staff members that result in any sort of legal action.

Before purchasing a generator, be sure to accurately analyze the power you’ll need to keep all essential functions running.

Fuel up

A backup generator is useless if you don’t have the means to keep it running. Calculating the rate of fuel consumption during outages and being prepared for extended power outages can help hotels determine the necessary fuel storage. It’s crucial for hotels to put a monitoring system in place so that they can track fuel levels and schedule refills so that fuel doesn’t deplete prematurely. It’s also extremely important to store fuel properly. Comply with any regulations and research best practices for storing fuel to avoid any safety issues.

Don’t just rely on the grid

Not everything needs to be plugged in, not even emergency lighting. Proper lighting is extremely important as guests and staff move around during emergencies or other unexpected situations.  Hotels should install backup emergency lighting systems, like battery-powered exit signs and emergency lights, to light up corridors, stairwells, and other common areas. These emergency lighting systems should be tested regularly so they function properly when needed.