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The ultimate guide

We have put together this guide to help you navigate the EV charging industry and better understand the great opportunities it unfolds for hotel chains.

Can you imagine going to a library without internet access? Or to a theme park without snacks and refreshments? While there are ways that you could still enjoy your time there—you would likely walk away with a lasting impression of how lacking the facilities were. You might not even go there, knowing such services are missing.

Same. Thing. With. Hotel. Customers.

The reality is that customers across Europe are already starting to expect electric car chargers everywhere they go. And as the number of EVs on our roads is rapidly growing, so will the expectations to find EV charging stations.

We recently ran a survey with Kantar and asked EV drivers about the importance of charging point availability in hotels, and only 5% said it doesn’t impact their booking decision.

EV chargers are a must-have for hotel customers in the UK

Source: Kantar & Virta Survey 2022

To keep thriving in an ever more competitive space, professionals in the hospitality industry need to at least meet their customers’ minimum expectations.

A century ago, the minimum requirement was likely electricity.

Fifty years ago, it might have been accessing TV.

Today, as EV sales are rising, offering EV charging services is becoming the norm for hotel chains.


1.What EV charging is all about

We know that EV charging is filled with complex terms and abbreviations. So, let’s begin by covering fundamental concepts and realities of the EV charging industry.

A quick EV charging digest for hoteliers

WWhat is smart EV charging (and why hotels with EV charging stations will lead the way)

A common argument against EVs is the potential strain on the energy grid. And while it’s a valid concern, it’s (fortunately) not one that’s likely to materialise. And we have smart charging to thank for that. 

Here’s why. 

Smart charging uses data-enabled cloud-based technology to adjust how energy is used based on the state of the energy grid.

This means that when electric vehicles (EVs) are plugged in, they only charge when it’s most efficient in terms of cost and demand.

  • This thoughtful timing means vehicle owners can benefit from lower-cost off-peak energy consumption.
  • For the general public, this means they don’t have to worry about grid vulnerabilities. The simultaneous charging of electric vehicles at once would otherwise threaten the integrity of the electrical grid of both the UK and the European Union. Thankfully, with smart charging, electric vehicles are a power grid asset—not a threat.

For charging station owners, smart EV charging is also a way to reduce the energy bill by using the energy stored in EV batteries, thanks to the vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology.


A note on V2G

With vehicle-to-grid technology, 

smart charging makes using the energy stored in EVs possible. After all, EVs are giant batteries on wheels, thus making them an energy source.

Through V2G, energy from the electric vehicle can be used to power the grid, a handy capability in times of extreme demand. Electricity always takes the shortest path possible to where it’s needed, which makes it easy to allocate energy from a car battery efficiently.

For hotel chains, the benefit is two-fold.

  1. Happier customers: It allows customers to plug their vehicles and benefit from lower prices.
  2. No blackout: In case of a power outage, V2G gives the insurance always to have a source of power for customers.


3 million public charging stations by 2030

The most apparent opportunity from a business perspective is the installation of EV charge points. We counted around 175,000 public EV chargers installed across Europe as of 2019. By 2030, we expect to count just under 3 million.


30-minute fast charging technology makes EV driving a reality

It’s not just the availability of chargers that’s increasing—it’s their quality, too. 

Over time, we expect rapid chargers to replace conventional chargers across Europe. This is an essential shift in the EV revolution:

A fast charger makes it easier to refill batteries on the go and helps to alleviate range anxiety — or the idea that EVs don’t pack enough power to get drivers where they need to go without running out of power.

In reality, one can easily cross Europe by driving an electric vehicle relying on fast and ultra-fast charging points.

The amount of charge points across the UK and Europe is growing quickly.

The amount of charge points across the UK and Europe is growing quickly.

As charging station numbers increase, this scenario becomes more and more practical.


The current state of EV charging infrastructure

To make the experience of owning and operating an electric vehicle as convenient as an ICE model, charging stations need to be more common and accessible. Increasing EV charging locations will save the EV driver from long queues at public stations.

Now, how many EV charging stations do we need, exactly?

The European Union sets out standards for maximum EVs per Public Charging Point (PCP). This guideline ensures that all EV drivers can comfortably charge their EVs. 

Right now, most of Europe hovers around 7.5 EVs per PCP, and we expect to be anywhere between 11 and 14 EVs per Public Charging Point by 2030.

2. The EV market is booming worldwide

More and more people across Europe and the world are turning their backs on conventional ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) automobiles in favour of electric vehicles.

Not only are EVs the more environmentally sound choice, but they also make more financial sense than ever in the wake of skyrocketing gas prices. It also helps that electric and conventional cars are expected to reach price parity within the next 2 to 3 years.

With more EVs on the roads, we as a society will see a significant increase in the need for EV-friendly infrastructure. If private at-home chargers certainly make up a big part of this market, there is also a pressing need for EV chargers in public places like shopping malls, community centres and hotels.


The EV market is growing (much) faster than anticipated

Electric vehicles are on an impressive growth trajectory.

Their popularity is rising quicker than anticipated, and it's a success that’s still in its infancy.

It’s a shift you’ve likely noticed in your personal life. If owning an electric vehicle was once only a matter of a select handful, most people now know somebody driving an electric car.

Despite the global COVID-19 pandemic, the registration of electric cars was up in 2020 across all major markets. It was also in 2020 that Europe overtook China as the world’s foremost electric vehicle market, where EVs accounted for 10% of the total market share.

global electric car fleet-2021

In 2023, we expect 14M electric vehicle sales. It would account for about 20% of all sales in the year (up from 6.6 million in 2021 and 10M in 2022).

The appetite for electrification exists on a wide scale—so how do we build a world that accounts for it?

Higher gas prices mean faster EV sales

The latest geopolitical developments and the war in Ukraine are creating unprecedented tensions on fossil fuel and gas prices. And we already see an upward trend in consumer intentions to purchase an electric vehicle to save money in the long run.

3. Why EV growth presents new opportunities for Hotel chains

First, a growing amount of your prospective customers are likely already only looking for hotels with electric car charging points.

Hotels with EV chargers will gain market shares

Meet your customer's new needs and habits

No one will feel this expectation as acutely as hoteliers.

To stay relevant among the competition, hotels across Europe and the United Kingdom already need to include electric car charging infrastructure in their amenities.

Turn clients into returning clients

Though we predict a future where EV charging facilities are the norm across hotels of every calibre, there is still time to attract a loyal clientele through early implementation.

Not only will the presence of EV chargers set you apart from the rest and allow you to attract more clients, but it will also help increase customer loyalty, resulting in repeat visitors.

One way to ensure the success of your return customer rate is to integrate EV charging services into your customer loyalty programs.

By offering EV charging as part of your hotel services (the way you would a buffet breakfast or athletic centre), you show your guests a seamless experience and ensure the blanket satiation of your guests’ needs. 

Help prospective customers find your hotel

By definition, hotel guests tend to come from afar.

Fortunately, thanks to the power of roaming, their vehicle should still be able to connect to your hotel’s chargers. Much like cell phone roaming, which enables you to use your device outside of your home area by connecting to nearby cell towers, EV roaming relies on the cooperation of EV charging companies that allow customers from outside their respective networks to join.

It’s only the beginning.

Remember that travellers who rent a car near your hotel will be more and more likely to rent an electric car soon. Hotels that lack electric vehicle charging facilities will miss out on these customers.


Generate new revenue streams

Smart EV charging won’t only increase the attractivity of your hospitality business, but it also presents an opportunity to create new revenue streams.

By offering what we can call a ‘charge while you stay’ package, you could attract guests who may not have otherwise stayed at your hotel.

In fact, some guests may plan their travels around where they know they have access to a reliable charging platform—if this includes you, you can easily include your charging stations in your Unique Selling Points (USPs).


Diversify your revenue sources

Even if your guests aren’t staying overnight, they will likely remain on your property and spend more money at your hotel (at the restaurant, bar, or spa), waiting for their vehicle to charge. 

To make a long story short, we expect an uptick in ‘while you wait’ activities that hotels with EV chargers can offer.


4. The world needs major industries to accelerate: that includes hospitality

Help stabilise the electricity grid

As we move towards electric mobility, we’ll ask for more from the electricity grid.

A congested grid is not simply a matter of convenience. Instead, it can have very real impacts, especially if it means large populations of people are without access to heating and cooling systems during extreme weather events (which are becoming more frequent due to climate change).

To understand how EVs could help stabilise the grid, you need to know that electricity always takes the shorter route to where it’s needed first. Now, remember: EVs are giant batteries on wheels. So, in the event of a power outage or grid overload due to higher demand, we could use EV batteries as local power sources and, therefore, release the pressure on the electricity grid in periods of high demand.

Reduce the devastating effects of climate change

The UN’s latest message to policymakers is clear: the clock is ticking quicker than expected, and we need to take action now before it’s too late. In other words, we must achieve decarbonisation to fight climate change.

However, in order to achieve decarbonisation, we need to develop enough infrastructure to support an increase in environmentally friendly electric vehicles. See where the predicament lies? 

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. And if you own or manage a hotel (or even a hotel chain), you have more power to make a difference than you may realise. You’re already making eco-conscious choices in how you run your hotel operations. But you can make an even bigger impact by enabling the electric vehicle revolution. ICE cars, after all, contribute to 71.1% of transportation pollution in Europe. 

Reduce your carbon footprint

Finally, by investing in electric vehicle infrastructure, you could establish your brand as a sustainability leader in an industry that is in need of guidance. The hotel industry already accounts for 1% of all worldwide carbon emissions, and this is a number that’s set to increase with time. 

As a player in the industry, you can shape attitudes and standards at a time when it matters most. 

5. EV Charging for hoteliers: how to get started?

Are you sold on the idea of offering EV charging at your hotel but unsure of where to begin? Here’s a big-picture overview of how you could start.

Installing EV chargers

The most straightforward way for hoteliers to offer EV charging solutions is to partner with the right EV charging service provider

At a minimum, you’ll want to choose a provider who follows the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP). This will ensure that you have a symbiosis between software and hardware and will help your charging equipment stay relevant in the future.

You’ll also want to ensure that your partner allows you to brand your EV charging services (stations and app) as you see fit. If you lack this option, you won’t be able to get as much brand awareness out of the product as you had initially hoped. 

Lastly, you’ll want to make sure that your partner is part of an open roaming network so that drivers from far and wide will have access to your chargers.

Responsibilities and maintenance of EV charger operators

Both EMSP (e-Mobility Service Provider) and CPO (Charge Point Operators) are fundamental parts of the charging network. EMSPs offer EV charging to EV drivers, and CPOs offer charging points to EMSPs. They have different customer bases, meaning they have slightly different responsibilities.

EMSPs are responsible for guiding EV drivers to charging stations and processing their payments. They can also connect drivers to outside networks when roaming.

CPOs, on the other hand, ensure that the entire EV charger network is operational. They are also responsible for making sure that their network is taking advantage of all of the latest smart charging and bidirectional capabilities. In other words, they need to ensure their EV charging network is scalable. 

Virta Charging Business as a Service

Offering an electric charging service from the ground up is a costly and overwhelming endeavour. Virta is a subscription-based model, which means that you don’t need to worry about expensive startup costs. We offer turnkey solutions that include hardware delivery, installation, and maintenance. Of course, we’ll give you the necessary software too.

Virta’s end-to-end charging solutions make it easier than ever to offer EV charging as a guest amenity. Hoteliers don’t need to worry about anything except how they will integrate EV charging into their current service ecosystem to meet and exceed their customers’ new needs.

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