5 minutes with: Vidar Thomassen on tech’s role in a sustainable hotel

Editor Hamish Kilburn speaks to Vidar Thomassen, Director, Zennio, to discuss how technological solutions are supporting the hospitality industry to become more environmentally aware…

Six Senses Ibiza bedroom with preview of phone app

In the last few years, hotels have had to work harder to practice what they preach when it comes to sustainability. While designers are putting their focus on sourcing ethical materials, beds, fabrics and lighting, hoteliers are doing what they can to ensure that thew hotel functions and operates smoothly. To do this effectively, hotel brands are calling on companies like Zennio to offer seamless automation systems.

To understand more about what Zennio offers, and how its solutions are well-placed on today’s hospitality landscape, I spoke to Vidar Thomassen, the company’s Director.

Hamish Kilburn: Let’s cut to the chase. How do your products reflect modern traveller demands?

Vidar Thomassen: Today’s traveller is getting increasingly environmentally conscious whilst still valuing service, comfort, and end user friendliness. Zennio’ guestroom management solutions (GRMS) are to a large extent automated, requiring minimal guest input, thus fulfilling the comfort and end user friendliness aspect whilst reducing energy consumption and CO2 footprint.

Modern contemporary lounge with automated system on wall

Image credit: Zennio

HK: How can technology help hotels become more sustainable?

VT: Starting with the rooms, sharing information between the hotel PMS (such as if the room is booked for that day or if the guest has already checked-in) and the HVAC control system plus the addition of advanced room occupancy control will help reduce energy waste to a minimum. This can be applied to all room controls (lighting, blinds, sockets etc.) but also to common areas, and bearing in mind energy accounts for a significant portion of hotels running costs, eliminating energy waste can really make a difference.

HK: How can your products help enhance guests’ experience?

VT: Zennio’ Hotel Solution combines the outstanding control properties of KNX with the scalability of IP networks and the opportunities of API integration. A great example is Six Senses Ibiza where control of all our systems is embedded into their proprietary guest app ensuring a seamless and user-friendly experience.

HK: What designs should designers/hotels avoid when specifying control panels?

VT: Any control panel where the guest needs to spend time figuring out how they are working or worse having to read a manual is a huge ‘no’ from me. Zennio control panels can be customised with icons, text or combination thereof making them intuitive and user-friendly. Furthermore, Zennio touch panels are multilingual hence their labelling and iconography can change automatically based upon guest information received via the PMS.

Terrace at Six Senses Ibiza

Image credit: Zennio/IHG

HK: Can you talk to us about some of the hotels you have worked with, and how you have helped to enhance the experience using smart tech?

VT: We have or are currently working with major chains such as Meliá, Hyatt, Hilton and IHG, plus a great number of individual hotels. We have been working with Meliá for many years and where our predominantly automated solutions continue to ensure guest comfort whilst reducing energy consumption. Some significant individual projects I can mention are Meliá White House, London and Six Senses, Ibiza. The Zennio solutions are implemented in individual projects from 20 to over 1200 rooms. 

HK: What’s next for Zennio?

VT: The Zennio solutions are currently implemented in more than 90,000 hotel rooms worldwide, a number that continues to grow rapidly. We are committed to provide technologically advanced products and solutions to support the hospitality industry, closely working with our customers all over the world.

Main image credit: Zennio/IHG