How To Grow Your Plumbing & Heating Business With Hospitality

Hotels and guesthouses offer significant opportunities for installers, from bathroom refurbishments to implementing energy and water-saving measures. But being able to make the business case to owners is essential.

These are tricky times for hotels and the hospitality business. However, there can still be opportunities for installers who can demonstrate that their work will lead to savings.

Hotel customers are fussier than ever; just check out TripAdvisor or the many other booking and review sites and that’s plain to see. They expect to have a comfortable stay when they spend money on a hotel room, and many of the factors that contribute to comfort can be directly affected by the work of the installer. In an age dominated by online reviews, customer satisfaction is now business critical.

First of all, it is important to understand what customers want from their room when they check in to a hotel. According to a survey by Hotels.com, the top five room amenities as rated by customers are:



Regardless of whether a hotel is part of a large chain or a small, family-owned business, installers can help with two of the five most important factors in guest satisfaction. That can make a big difference to guest satisfaction scores, which have a direct bearing on bookings in our review-conscious society.

Bedrooms and bathrooms

These days, a clean en-suite bathroom is essential to every hotel bedroom. This is a great opportunity for the installer, as there is so much scope in every hotel property. Particularly in the case of the business traveller, a powerful, comfortable shower is a much appreciated amenity. In fact, the lack of a good shower is likely to make many guests disgruntled.

This said, families and leisure travellers still appreciate a bath. It’s hard to imagine a romantic break in a top-end hotel without a statement bath. One of the best things about working in hotels, as an installer, is that bathroom products are more likely to be top-end. So, if you are refurbishing a hotel’s bathrooms, not only do you have multiple rooms to fit out, but you also need to provide high-quality fittings that can cope with the level of usage in a commercial property.

Another area where the installer can help to increase guest satisfaction is in climate control. Even in a temperate country like the UK, hotel guests expect their hotel room to be a comfortable temperature. In practice, this means that – be it in the depths of winter or the height of summer – people want the temperature to be around 20°C. In a hotel, every room will need a radiator and heating controls, and increasingly guests will also expect air conditioning.

Energy savings

Hotel managers have a difficult balancing act to manage. They want their guests to be happy and to tell others about how great their stay was. But investing in refurbishing a room impacts on their bottom line and therefore is a big decision.

Yet there is one way that the installer can help to allay financial fears in a hotel manager or owner. Energy and water costs can have a big impact on a hotel’s profit margin. If, by replacing an inefficient heating system or refurbishing bathrooms, hotels can save money, having work done becomes a much more attractive option.

In urban settings, fitting a modern, condensing gas boiler can make a big difference to heating costs and increase profitability without the need to generate more sales. The level of savings can be significant – potentially 60 per cent or more where an old gas boiler is replaced.

Even good old radiators have come a long way in recent years. Radiators produced before 2000 can be up to 50 per cent less efficient than modern ones. The arrival of K1, K2 and K3 radiators with convection fins has made a big difference to efficiency.

Another product that can make a big difference is the thermostatic radiator valve (TRV). In a large property with multiple rooms, catering to the needs of lots of different people, these are a must. Not only do they add to the guest’s control over the temperature but, again, they save the hotel owner money.

Commercial RHI

The Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is open to hotels and B&Bs, and can offer some substantial savings, particularly for rural retreats in off-grid locations. Many rural hospitality establishments are running costly and inefficient oil heating systems. The commercial RHI offers a fantastic opportunity to replace old boilers and to benefit not just from lower running costs but also from the RHI tariffs.

The tariffs are payments made to business owners for generating energy using renewable sources. There are few genuine win/win situations in life, but this is definitely one of them. Not only can renewable technologies save money, but they also cut down on CO2 emissions and make far less of an environmental impact.

The commercial RHI covers many different types of technology, including ground-source heat pumps and air-source heat pumps, deep geothermal, biomethane injection and biogas combustion systems.

interior of hotel room with double bed

Water efficiency

The benefits to commercial customers of using water-efficient products can be huge. In a hotel with many rooms, it’s common sense to make sure that whenever bathrooms are refurbished, water efficiency is high on the agenda.

On average, taps, toilets and showers make up 30 to 40 per cent of a hotel’s water usage. Simple measures can make a big difference in the bathroom, starting with the toilet, which is the biggest source of water wastage in the bathroom. Bearing in mind that toilets use 30 per cent of the water consumption in the typical UK home, it’s not hard to see that in a hotel, where there is usually a bathroom in every bedroom, this is a big issue.

Modern toilets with dual-flush functionality use half of the amount of water used by older toilets, which can be as much as 13 litres per flush. Other quick-win bathroom products for hotels include water-efficient shower heads and basin taps.

Hotels represent a great business opportunity for the installer. From small B&Bs to large multinational companies, there are hospitality businesses in every town. They all need efficient heating and stylish, comfortable bathrooms. Installers are perfectly placed to help hoteliers to make their properties more comfortable, while saving on rising energy and water costs.

Top cost saving product picks for hotels

Heating:

  • Fitting modern, efficient and well-insulated condensing boilers, along with upgrading heating controls, adding TRVs and creating different zones where appropriate, could save hoteliers up to 60 per cent on their heating bills.
  • In off-grid hospitality businesses, biomass boilers are a great choice to replace inefficient and costly oil-based heating systems. Alternatively, a ground source heat pump could be a great way to get cost effective, off-grid heating, but this requires an extensive overhaul of the central heating system.

Bathrooms

Hoteliers have to balance durability, aesthetics, ease of cleaning, water saving and accessibility:

  • Doc M packs have everything you need for kitting out accessible bathrooms.
  • Dual flush toilets can improve water efficiency dramatically. Modern bathroom monobloc taps are also much more efficient than older models.
  • Water-efficient shower heads do not cost a lot and can make a big difference to water usage, without impacting on the shower experience. For example, the Mira Eco range of shower heads could cut showering water usage by up to 50 per cent.

image of biomass boiler

Biomass basics for hospitality

Biomass boilers and heating systems could be a viable option for many hotels and hospitality businesses. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Wood-fuelled heating, or biomass systems, use wood in the form of logs, pellets or wood chips to provide power for central heating and hot-water boilers.
  • Biomass can offer savings of up to 50 per cent over oil or electric systems.
  • Biomass boilers can be installed in place of a standard gas or oil boiler on an existing central heating system. This means little interruption and inconvenience to the customer as well as cost savings, as it prevents the need to install an entire new heating system.
  • Modern biomass boilers work at over 90 per cent efficiency.
  • The government gives businesses that have invested in biomass systems money back in the form of the RHI tariffs.