The holidays are here and hotels are gearing up to accommodate an influx of travelers. In fact, holiday travel is expected to be up this year over last year, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA). The auto organization forecasted that over 49 million Americans would hit the road for Thanksgiving 2023, an increase of 2.3% from 2022. The vast majority – nearly 89% – were expected to drive. As for the year-end holiday travel, AAA forecasts that “115.2 million travelers will head 50 miles or more from home over the 10-day year-end holiday travel period,” a 2.2% increase over 2022, and 90% of these travelers will travel by car. In fact, AAA’s 2023 holiday forecast ranks as the second highest in two decades, trailing only the 2019 holiday, which saw a record 119 million travelers. A significant recovery within the hospitality and travel industry since COVID-19 pandemic lows is evident.
With more than 4.2 million electric vehicles on the road in the US, and sales forecasted to reach 2.5 million per year in 2028, EV drivers need hotels equipped with EV chargers. Unlike internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, which can easily use gas stations all over the country, EV charging infrastructure can still be hard to find outside major cities. According to one report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), in the second quarter of 2023, only 3.5% of the publicly available Level 2 (L2) chargers and 8% of the publicly available Direct Current Fast Chargers (DCFCs) were situated in rural census tracts. There’s a pressing need for widespread electric vehicle charging stations across the United States, presenting hotels with a valuable opportunity to cater to EV users and truly benefit from EVs. Here’s what you need to know.
Benefits of EV Charging Stations for Hotels
Attracting holiday travelers with EVs
Hotel owners can entice holiday travelers driving EVs by installing electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) on their premises. Charging stations at hotels are especially valuable addition in the rural areas mentioned earlier. Federal initiatives like NEVI are strategically placing DC fast chargers every 50 miles along designated Alternative Fuel Corridors. But more charging stations are needed for interstate travel. By being among the few hotels within a 50-mile radius offering EVSE, you can attract EV drivers seeking accommodation during their travels.
What if your hotel is situated in a major city or an area already well-served by comprehensive EV charging infrastructure? In this case, the addition of EV charging stations is crucial to keep up with evolving travel patterns. Given that 80% of EV charging occurs at home overnight, travelers will increasingly seek the comforts of home, including the convenience of overnight EV charging.
Attracting sustainable travelers
Having EV chargers at your hotel not only benefits EV drivers, but they can also help you attract other travelers. This is due to the growing consumer preference for sustainable options, and EV charging infrastructure serve as a tangible sign of your business’s commitment to sustainability. A recent study by NielsenIQ revealed that 78% of U.S. consumers prioritize a sustainable lifestyle, and a joint study by NielsenIQ and McKinsey & Company underscores that “products making environmental, social and governance-related claims averaged 28% cumulative growth over the past five-year period.”
That’s the beauty of EVSE; it goes beyond just claiming that you are a sustainable company. It is physical proof that you are taking steps to be more sustainable as an organization.
Adding a new revenue stream
Not only can EV chargers offer hotels an opportunity to attract guests and expand their marketing reach, but they can also add an additional revenue stream. Hoteliers in some markets offer free parking, while others monetize their valuable parking spaces. Adding networked EV charging stations enables hotel or parking managers to charge EV drivers for the duration of charging or the energy transferred to the vehicles. You can now generate additional revenue from EV drivers who stay at your hotel, dine at your restaurant, or rent your conference rooms. Additionally, you can consider offering varying rates for loyalty club members or for charging during off-peak electricity rates.
What Chargers Should You Install at a Hotel or Motel?
Hotels, being primary locations for overnight EV charging, benefit from L2 chargers like the Blink Series 8 EV charging station. These units can recharge an EV battery in four to eight hours, influenced by factors such as charger power and the initial battery charge level. Notably, the Series 8 stands out as the sole Level 2 charger equipped with a physical credit card reader, simplifying travel for EV drivers.
By installing L2 chargers from Blink, you can join the Blink Network. As a station host, you gain access to a comprehensive dashboard providing full control over your chargers. This includes functionalities like creating groups and establishing pricing structures for specific times of the day. Your chargers will be added to the Blink Charging Mobile App and other popular EV charging locators to alert EV drivers that they can stop and charge at your business.
Getting Help with EVSE Installation
If your hotel is located along a designated alternative fuel corridor, it may be eligible for funding through the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program (NEVI). Note that to receive funding through the NEVI program, you must be approved by the program administrator and install a bank of at least four DCFCs.
Individual states also have funding programs your hotel may be able to leverage. To find state-specific funding, you can use Blink’s Commercial Incentives tool and input your zip code and the Blink charger you are interested in installing.
Working with your electrician and general contractor, Blink helps you prepare your hotel for EV charging. We’ll meet with you to discuss your needs, conduct an EV infrastructure site assessment, and suggest cost saving measures such as local load management and make-ready infrastructure.
The holidays are here, and travel is back. EV charging stations at hotels can help you attract guests, support sustainability, and add additional revenue. Blink is here to help you get the right EVSE installed to make sure you get your fair share of holiday travelers stopping in and spreading that holiday cheer (and some holiday spending). Ready to get started with planning your project? Click here to connect with a sales manager.