Anyone who’s experienced the long drive across Texas clearly remembers the relief of finding a gas station at just the right moment. But do drivers of electric vehicles find an oasis after the desert stretch? Luckily for them, Texas is one of most EV-friendly states in the country. Still, this concern hints at the building demand for well-placed charging stations. Investors of the hospitality industry are listening. As you read this, charging stations are being installed in hotels across the country. And many already host this amenity. But hotel investors that aren’t keeping up with the shifting tide should re-evaluate sooner rather than later.
Circumstances Highlighting the Importance of Electric Vehicles
Charging stations in the hospitality industry are nothing new. Yet we’re currently at a point in which demand may soon outpace supply. The recent gas crisis that’s enveloped the U.S. has turned increasing attention on EVs. Now, consumers who may have only casually considered an EV for their next vehicle are fully onboard. Leaders in the hospitality industry are recognizing the potential of charging stations as a means of competition.
Looking Beyond the Tesla Brand
The first hotels to adopt charging stations on their properties did so with the Tesla brand in mind. Initially, Tesla was providing their charging stations to hotels free-of-charge. They even sweetened the deal with subsidies for the costly installation process. But these days, consumers are driving various EVs that can’t be accommodated by a Tesla-specific charger. Therefore, the impetus falls on hoteliers to provide charging stations with universal accommodation.
A Cost That the Hotel Industry Needs to Eat
Installing charging stations is a more costly process for existing hotels than those that are currently under construction. But it’s a cost that leaders in the hotel industry will have to eat to maintain their competitive edge. Hoteliers won’t be able to expect an immediate return-on-investment by adding charging stations to their parking areas. However, as EVs continue to grow in popularity, hotels that don’t provide charging options will watch their revenue steadily decline.
Some hotels already offering charging stations have needed to adopt reservation systems due to demand from EV drivers. Most hotels still provide charging as a complimentary amenity, though this will likely change as more stations are added. With just a few stations in use, it’s easy for hotels to eat the cost. However, as the number of EVs on the road grows, hotels will need to collect charging fees from guests just to cover electric costs.
Reaping the Benefits of Progressive Change
When entrepreneurs in the hotel industry adopt charging stations, they’ll also need to find ways of promoting them to their potential guests. Recognizing the value of charging stations as amenities, hotel chains like Hilton have already begun instituting relevant search features. Using the Hilton site, you can find their hotels that offer charging stations. Currently, over 1,000 Hilton hotels across the U.S. boast charging capabilities for EVs. Incorporating these amenities into their user experience only makes sense after investing so heavily in the stations.
Preparing for a Greener Future
But the growing interest in charging station installations at hotels is about more than one-upping the other guys. In November of last year, President Biden passed the Infrastructure Investment and Job Act, putting $7.5-billion toward his stated initiative of installing half a million charging stations nationwide. His administration’s Build Back Better Act offers even more funding to develop a nationwide network of charging stations. Even individual states are getting in on the act. California Governor Gavin Newsom is currently pushing to have 500,000 EVs on the road over the next five years.
The federal emphasis on EVs indicates that this is more than a passing trend. At some point in the not-so-distant future, we can expect regulations to be placed on the hospitality industry with a responsibility to provide guests with charging stations. While this is pure speculation, it’s better to plan and budget for this now then get surprised by it in the 11th hour.
Again, outfitting your hotel with charging stations for EVs will produce no immediate returns. But they add value to your hotel and will likely be a standard in the not-so-distant future. Strategize to stay at the front of the trend now, so it doesn’t hit you all at once later!