Hotels offering electric vehicle charging to tap affluent customers

Global Business

Hotels offering electric vehicle charging to tap affluent customers

The sale of electric cars in the United States soared nearly 50 percent in July, but worldwide they still account for less than 1 percent of all car sales. The hotel industry is taking note of this growing and more affluent segment.

CCTV America’s Roza Kazan reports from Chicago.
Follow Roza Kazan on Twitter @rozakazancctv

Hotels offering electric vehicle charging to tap affluent customers

Hotels offering electric vehicle charging to tap affluent customers

The sale of electric cars in the United States soared nearly 50 percent in July, but worldwide they still account for less than 1 percent of all car sales. The hotel industry is taking note of this growing and more affluent segment. CCTV America’s Roza Kazan reports from Chicago.

Last June, Donna Hastings, a 72- year-old retired accountant, bought her first electric vehicle — a Tesla Model S.

“The idea of not having to stop at a gas station, not to have to worry about when it has to go in for the next servicing, it fit my lifestyle. It was just perfect,” Hastings said.

Hastings usually drives short distances. But when she had to come to Chicago for a boat race, she looked for a hotel with an EV (electric vehicle) charger.

The Guesthouse Hotel had it available. The installed it as part of their membership in Select Registry, a portfolio of upscale inns and boutique hotels.

“They were offering Select Registry Members charging stations through Tesla and we jumped right on it. Just thought it was a no brainer for us and it’s been a great success ever since,” Guesthouse Hotel General Manager Rick Verkler, General Manager said.

The EV charging stations can now be found in parking lots of shopping centers and even grocery stores.

And in the hotel industry, they’re fast becoming the new must-have amenity, both for large chains like the Marriott and small boutique inns.

Hospitality experts believe that makes sense.

“It will allow them to market their hotel in a new way. Perhaps previously they focused on talking about how great their restaurant is or how centrally they’re located. This gives a new angle for the hotels to perhaps reach a new audience that is environmentally conscientious,” Senior Vice President of JLL, Hotels & Hospitality Group Lauro Ferroni said.

The audience is environmentally-conscious and also more affluent.

One study found the average Tesla owner makes over $270,000 a year and is between the ages of 35-50.

“And if you have those individuals booking at the hotel directly, that’s typically someone who’s going to spend more money on property, perhaps in the food and beverage outlets, or on other amenities such as the spa,” Ferroni said.

That upper-income customer segment looks set to grow.

In the first quarter of this year, global EV sales grew more than 40 percent year over year. China’s EV sales grew faster than anywhere else-soaring over 100 percent in the same time period.

For Hastings, it’s all about convenience.

“It’s really much more free, there is a lot of freedom with this car,” she said.

Hotels say it’s a wise investment.

“Do it, absolutely do it. It’s a technology that’s going to move forward. Like gas stations have been, we are going to have EV chargers all over the place soon,” Verkler of Guesthouse Hotel said.