Hotels may need to reassess their offering to capitalise on the changing needs of business travel as corporate sales of electric vehicles soar
2020 has been dubbed by Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) as “a lost year for Automotive” with overall demand down by 29.4%. Following showroom closures throughout 2020 and continuing into this year, there is an estimated £20.4bn in lost turnover for the industry. But there seems to be a green light at the end of the tunnel in the form of electric vehicles. EVs have managed to buck this declining trend with sales rising by 185.9% for battery EVs and 91.2% for plug-in hybrids.
What’s more interesting is that 68% of EV sales in 2020 were for company cars, suggesting more businesses are making the switch to electric fleets. The issue of course remains in concerns over adequate infrastructure to meet demand for electric vehicle charging. The government has committed to improving charge point accessibility but public charging stations should not be the only focus. Destination EV charging, offering ultimate convenience and time saving, must also see further investment, especially to meet the increasing demand of corporate EV travel.
The rise of the EV charging filter
Many hotels across the country currently remain open for business travellers whilst leisure guests must stay at home. Travel on public transport saw a drastic fall by up to 90% in 2020, with those who still need to make essential journeys choosing to drive where possible to avoid the risk of being infected with the virus.
Business travellers staying in hotels are therefore more likely to be driving to their destination, a trend clearly recognised by hotel search aggregators like Booking.com and Kayak who now offer EV charging as a filter for users to define their search results. With corporate EV sales increasing, this is likely to become a key factor in travellers’ search criteria for hotel stays.
Companies switching to electric vehicles will already be aware of many of the benefits of moving to EV including reducing their carbon footprint and saving on fuel costs. However, the opportunity for employees to charge their car overnight whilst staying at a hotel for work offers the added convenience of saving time rather than visiting a dedicated charging station. Hotel guests can use their room key as the RFID card to add parking and charging to their room, allowing all travel costs to be processed on one bill at the end of their stay, which is a huge plus for expenses purposes – a headache we can all appreciate.
There are also myriad benefits for the hotel, not least promoting themselves as a business with clear green initiatives who understand their customers changing behaviour. By encouraging cleaner travel, they are demonstrating a consciousness of responsibility in reducing the impact of travel on climate change and ultimately are providing a solution that will encourage more company fleets to go green by alleviating charging worries for staff who travel regularly.
By investing in EV charging now, hotels are increasing their chances of recovery in a post pandemic world through ensuring they have all the amenities needed to attract customers, and there is no better time to invest whilst the government’s OLEV grant is still available. There is also an additional revenue generating opportunity through guests not only paying for parking at the hotel but to charge their vehicle as well.
We must remain hopeful that leisure travel will be a possibility at some point in 2021, at which point it is likely that domestic travel will return first before we begin flying abroad. Hotels could therefore consider introducing green packages for ‘conscious travellers’ with EV charging included alongside their Full English breakfast.
Safety will remain a top priority for travellers and options like contactless payments for their car charging will hold more appeal than it ever has before, technology which is available with all Pilot Group EV chargers. Hotels that are first to make the move will attract the ever-expanding market of EV drivers when they begin travelling again.
More than 35 new EV models are set to be brought to market in 2021, more than both petrol and diesel. The trend toward EV only seems to be going in one direction and hospitality must prepare for the change if they are to attract the travellers of the future.
Identifying new locations for installing charging points is a key part of our role here at Pilot Group EV, offering specialist knowledge to provide the most suitable solution for you. Contact the team today to start the conversation.