In recent times, most hotels have used a keycard drop at the entrance to a room. When a key is inserted, the room is activated, when the key is removed power is cut from the lights and other services. While straightforward, this approach has proven to be unreliable. Guests are issued multiple keys they can leave in all day, sometimes a business card works, and often hotel staff leave a spare key in the slot to keep the room “always ready” for the next arrival.
The key to making guest room power savings both reliable and highly convenient for guests is to remove the need for any manual interaction. By considering the real-time context of a room, smart controls can fully automate the energy savings, while at the same time ensuring that guest comfort is never compromised.
In doing this, context is king: understanding whether a room is sold, if there is someone currently inside, and if an occupant is a guest or a member of staff. The methods for achieving such insight may sound high tech, but hotels of all sizes and star ratings can now do so affordably.
Your existing PMS (property management system) is already capable of integration, providing a key metric of sold vs. unsold. With this data available, smart controls can already move automatically between a deep energy-saving and guest-ready states, resetting the room to the hotel defaults before the next stay.
Inside the room, discreet occupancy sensors can be installed in the ceiling to capture movement, while a sensor in the doorframe provides an event to check if people have entered or left the room. Combining this data, smart controls can reliably and quickly determine real-time occupancy.
Combining these metrics, you can make micro changes to rooms—stepping the temperature back 1 or 2 degrees, turning off lights, closing curtains, and switching off the TV when a room is unsold or a guest is away. You can also ensure a proper welcome experience: as soon as guests enter, they are instantly presented with the appropriate a day or night lighting scene, the curtains are opened, and, if mid-stay, their personal temperature settings are resumed.