Home Energy Management How Hotels Can Attract the Growing EV Customer Base

How Hotels Can Attract the Growing EV Customer Base

Christoph Erni

The hospitality trade is experiencing another strong year in both leisure and business travel, continuing its rebound. “The post-pandemic urge to travel remains strong, which should drive continued growth in 2023. In the U.S., RevPAR was up 8.1 percent in 2022 from 2019, and Europe was up 6.1 percent for the same period,” according to EY. Combine this with record growth in electric vehicle sales and you have the recipe for a year in which it is likely that more EV drivers will be staying at hotels than ever before.

What’s missing from this recipe is the current lack of hotels offering easy, reliable charging for their guests.

Public charging options still have a long way to go in blanketing the U.S. to support the growing EV base. It presents a great opportunity for hotels and conference centers to build their long-term EV customer base by offering charging units at their properties. Charging at the hotel destination provides the hotel guest with a convenient, stress-free means of charging their EV—a compelling benefit for drivers who want to relax after traveling and not worry about where to find charging.

Supporting EV travel by offering charging also aligns with drivers’ growing interest in sustainability, and in choosing brands with sensitivity to lowering carbon footprint.

Building the EV Customer Base

Hotels commonly offer amenities now like Wi-Fi, business centers and breakfast service. The next wave will certainly include providing accessible EV charging. Available options are installing a fixed station or providing portable chargers. A lower risk investment is a portable charger and outlet which is far less costly than building a stationary charging unit.

Portable chargers help fill the gap in U.S. charging availability. “Even when home-charging is taken into account, to properly match forecasted sales demand, the United States will need to see the number of EV chargers quadruple between 2022 and 2025, and grow more than eight-fold by 2030,” according to S&P Global Mobility forecasts. The firm estimates there are about 126,500 Level 2 and 13,487 Level 3 charging stations in the United States today, plus another 16,822 Tesla Superchargers and Tesla destination chargers. With EV sales projections on the consistent rise, S&P estimates a need for about 700,000 Level 2 and 70,000 Level 3 chargers by 2025, including public and restricted-use facilities.

Quality Portable Charging

I came to be an advocate of portable charging in 2010 when I ordered one of the first Tesla models and found it did not come with a suitable charging cable. With few charging stations in Europe at the time, and no easy way to charge the vehicle near my office in the Zurich metro area, I decided to develop my own solution, a portable charging unit that could be used at home or on the road. From the beginning, we adopted the principle that electricity is available all over the place; you just need a solution to make it accessible.

As we’ve watched the slow progress of building fixed stations, our portable business has grown exponentially, focused on the high-quality quadrant of the market and now finding a customer base in the United States and Canada as well as in our European markets.

Hotels and conference centers can take the lessons we’ve learned from how we’ve built our business and start now to prepare for the future by providing reliable portable charging to the growing demographic of EV drivers.

In terms of offering portable chargers to your customers, think “rugged and reliable.” A high-quality charger should be able to perform under extreme weather conditions. In warm weather, in dry environments, or in rain or storm conditions, a charger needs to be waterproof, dustproof, and able to withstand challenging environments.

Also, your chargers should be able to accommodate outlets at different properties by using adapters. Chargers with interchangeable adapters and the ability to easily switch charging power will be useful depending on the hotel’s infrastructure.

For big hotel enterprises like Radisson Hotel Group or Accor, as well as for independents and smaller hotel properties, portable chargers can offer an immediate way to enable charging without having to build up a fixed installed charging infrastructure and create lock-in-agreements with charging networks.

Future Consumers

While the demographics of early EV buyers has skewed toward older, higher income people, that will even out as lower priced EVs come on the market and next generation Gen Z consumers add to their earning power. Hotels can serve their growing numbers of EV guests well with easy, available, reliable portable charging.

About the Author

Christoph Erni is the founder and CEO of Juice Technology, the holding company of Juice Americas. In the North American market, the company is present with the J+ BOOSTER 2.