The key to success in the hotel sector

The past year has been devastating to the hotel industry, but with the prospect of a recovery in spring, many are looking to the future with new optimism. Neville Small, key accounts director at Baxi Heating, says that the resurgence of the hotel sector presents opportunities for installers, too. 

Covid-19 has affected every industry sector – and the hotel industry has been among the hardest hit. But with green shoots of hope finally emerging for some easing of restrictions in the spring, savvy hotels are planning refurbishments to prepare for a rapid bounce back. 

What does this mean for installers? Well, guest satisfaction is a primary concern for hotel owners and the heating system has a key part to play in achieving the required high comfort levels. Whether it’s generating a warm environment, or supplying abundant hot showers, or providing sufficient hot water for the kitchens, it’s important that the system performs as intended. 

Efficiency check-in
Given the high demand for heating and hot water, these services typically account for one of the largest overheads in hotels. So, at a time when profitability will be under even greater scrutiny, it makes perfect sense to upgrade any old or inefficient equipment to more energy efficient products – especially ones that deliver rapid payback and future savings. All of which means that there is a window of commercial opportunity for installers and contractors as hotels start to prepare for a more prosperous future. 

Hotels present unique challenges when it comes to heating and hot water facilities. This is because demand is seasonal, varying throughout the year and dependent on occupancy rates. The goal must therefore be to ensure optimum service as economically as possible, both when occupancy rates are low and when demand is at its peak. Here are a few pointers to bear in mind.

Separate out the heating and hot water: In a traditional heating system, condensing boilers will often be specified to meet the requirements for space heating and hot water. However, a more appropriate and effective option for hotels might be to install a dedicated direct-fired condensing water heater to satisfy the hot water demand. This will remove the need to run the boilers to heat water during the warmer months and will maximise the efficiency of both the services. Your chosen manufacturer will be able to assist with sizing tools and advice. 

Design:  If switching from non-condensing to condensing boilers, it’s essential to consider fundamental design factors like radiator circuit temperatures and weather compensation control at the start. This will allow the boiler to operate in condensing mode where it achieves its higher efficiency levels.

Water quality:   It’s also advisable to test the water quality – especially when working with older systems – as heating and hot water systems perform better, more safely and more reliably with good quality water circulating in them. 

Controls:   The control strategy is another aspect that needs early consideration. We recommend including time, optimisation, full temperature, zoning and weather compensation controls, all of which will help with seasonality. 

Modulation:  When selecting boilers, opting for models with a wide modulation ratio will boost efficiency further, as they are able to match changing demand more accurately. This in turn will reduce constant on/off cycling and increase boiler longevity.

Whole life costs:   Finally, the aim should be to optimise the performance of the equipment throughout its lifecycle. This means considering ease of future maintenance, servicing and part replacement from the outset. It’s also worth identifying manufacturers who offer service kits, as these handy packages will contain all the genuine parts required for a time-saving, first-time fix, while ensuring full compliance with an existing warranty.

Well covered
Each hotel building will have its own unique requirements. But whether you’re moving into light commercial applications or are an old-hand, make use of the specialist product and technical knowledge that experienced manufacturers will provide. At Baxi Heating, we look forward to supporting you throughout your projects, from initial site visits to after sales support, to help you and your customers achieve the most cost effective and efficient solution every time.  

Case study

The award-winning Cross Keys Hotel has provided a warm and friendly welcome to visitors since the 18th century. When guests check in, their every comfort – from hot showers in all 26 bedrooms to excellent dining in the hotel’s Saddler’s Restaurant – is a priority for hotel director Grant Ballantyne. So when the heating system began to fail, Grant brought in project contractor Darren Paxton of DJP Heating to resolve the situation. 

Efficiency and reliability were the key requirements. Added to this was the need to complete the works within the hotel’s annual two-week shutdown to minimise downtime and disruption. 

As Darren was familiar with the Baxi Heating product portfolio, he arranged a site visit from its sales team to advise on the most appropriate heating and hot water solution to meet the hotel’s requirements. 

The Baxi Heating team recommended separating out the space heating and hot water to optimise efficiency and reduce running costs. This approach also improves reliability, says Darren: “The old boiler was the sole heat generator, so if it went down, the hotel was left without heating and hot water.”

The decision was taken to install a high efficiency, low NOx Potterton Commercial Sirius three 130kW floor standing boiler to provide energy efficient heating throughout the premises. With a wide modulation ratio of 9:1, the stainless steel boiler is able to match heat load accurately, for improved efficiency and boiler longevity, and reduced running costs. It also comes with a five-year warranty.

A condensing MAXXflo 120/200 unit was selected as the most efficient solution to satisfy the demand for hot water at the Cross Keys Hotel

A Sirius three 130kW floor standing boiler provides energy-efficient heating throughout the hotel

An Andrews Water Heaters condensing MAXXflo 120/200 unit was selected to satisfy the demand for hot water. This water heater is perfectly suited for use in hotels where the demand for hot water peaks at particular times of the day. Thanks to its high 98% gross efficiency and fast recovery rate, energy usage, emissions and running costs are all kept to a minimum.

Installation was straight-forward, with the compact units positioned easily within the basement plant room. “The hardest part was stripping out the old boiler!” says Darren.

Commissioning was then carried out by Baxi Heating’s engineers.  “Despite the tight schedule, the project couldn’t have gone better,” Darren adds. “Even delivery was more straightforward due to using one supplier!”

“We’re very pleased with how the work has gone,” says Grant Ballantyne. “Darren and his team completed the work in the small window of opportunity we had during the hotel’s annual two-week closure. The layout of the new equipment and the associated pipework is immaculate, and we’re delighted that the heating and hot water system has been working well ever since.

“We depend on heating and hot water to keep our guests happy,” Grant continues. “But the service also accounts for a large percentage of our operating costs, so it made sense for us to upgrade to more energy-efficient equipment. Now we’re looking forward to trouble-free heating and hot water provision and the prospect of reduced bills in the future!” 

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