IHG Hotels and Resorts and Sunfuel Electric have signed an MoU to install EV charging stations in IHG properties across India and ET HospitalityWorld spoke exclusively with Sudeep Jain, managing director, IHG Hotels and Resorts on his brand’s plans for sustainability in the country. This is an excerpt from the conversation.
Jain began by saying that as a company they had taken the route that they needed to be a sustainable concern—something they call their ‘Journey to Tomorrow’.
“The Journey to Tomorrow is making sure that the whole world is better for our stakeholders, our planet, and our communities. In that we have made commitments about what we’re going to do, which includes measures ranging from carbon reduction to getting rid of plastic. So, there’s a whole lot of commitments over a period of 10 years. This is a long-term journey which we had already begun pre-Covid,” Jain said adding that the beginnings of the sustainability drive began with simple things like stopping use of plastic in hotels, starting with straws, then using bulk amenities so that individual plastic containers would stop as well, ranging all the way to recycling water and using renewable energy.
While working on the ways in which to support sustainability IHG came across Sunfuel Electric and the work that they did.
“It was a win-win solution for both of us as electric vehicles are here to stay for the long haul and we wanted to get ahead of the game and start installing chargers in our properties,” Jain said.
In phase one of the venture, IHG would place the Sunfuel Electric charger in 17 or 18 of the group properties across India. The plan was to start putting them in more properties as the sector ramped up, he added. “It is a pan-India deal, and I wish I could say all hotels at all levels. We work together with them to pick the hotels where we’d want to put them,” he said, hinting that it depended to an extent on the level of EV vehicle adoption in areas or whether they were on routes used by EV vehicles which affected the installation.
Jain was not willing to share numbers and costs of the implementation, and said that currently the facilities would be open to everyone — typically those who stayed or were using the F&B facilities, to hotel guests staying at the property. There was an option where charges could be made available at a cost to customers, but that was a decision taken by the property.
On the subject of when sustainable hospitality would make business sense for hotels in India, Jain began by specifying that “business sense” meant more than lower costs, it meant sustainable revenues.
“I think that the pressure is on the revenue side, because more and more conscious customers in the world are going to start making their choices based on how sustainable the hotel is. So, it will start making business sense from both from the revenue angle, as well as from the cost angle,” he said.
The future was sustainable hospitality, Jain felt, adding that the customer now was much more evolved, and would make smart sustainable choices. And hence it would become very important and the right business decision for the owners to make.