Inside the Zennio factory: technology and tapas in Toledo

It was an unexpected juxtaposition to find myself on the way to visit a factory that would appear to be more suited to a Silicon Valley location, than the historic city of Toledo in the heart of Spain – but that is exactly where Zennio is producing the tiny pieces of technology that make a massive impact on hotel automation and the operations behind it – oh, and the tapas were excellent…

white on white hotel guestroom with wooden ceiling and floor to ceiling windows with ocean view

Aside from the obvious technology at play, there were two key concerns that continually featured in the conversation as we walked and talked our way through the Zennio production process – the first being sustainability and the role technology can play in harnessing this, while the second was design.

In the hospitality arena, to keep ahead of the tech pack, it is as much about features and functionality, as it is about looks, and what was clear from showroom through to shop floor, is that Zennio approaches this design element with a clear and inspired eye.

white bathroom with white bath against exposed brick wall with zennio control panel

Image credit: Zennio

But lets take a step back – Zennio was founded in Toledo by its three partners over 15 years ago and was fired by a commitment to both improve the comfort and function of a space, while at the same time, reducing energy consumption. Having started off in a relatively unassuming garage space, the company is now housed in an efficient factory, warehouse and showroom combination that feels like you are stepping into a virtual flowchart.

While Zennio leads the Spanish market in this field, with the largest KNX engineering team in the country, its products have moved way beyond the borders, being present in over 100 countries with an impressive case record of projects and products which has resulted it in it being recognized as one of the most innovative KNX manufacturers on the playing field.

zennio factory in Toledo Spain with reception desk opposite entrance to production process

Image credit: Zennio

And, in case like me you are a little unclear on what KNX actually means – simply put it is the standard for wired automation, the system and paths of communication set up between all those wires and cables, sensors and switches, that pull together and work out when to switch a light off when a guest leaves the room, or to turn down the aircon if the terrace door is left wide open. The little technological miracles that can make your stay in a hotel seamless, which are more often about not being noticed, than about a grand statement.

Sustainability and ESG are of course, hand-in-hand with budget, top of the hotel developers agenda. Zennio takes a wholistic approach to this, explaining with clarity how quite simply a more intelligent and efficient hotel saves both money and resources. What is key to this process is the focus on transforming the way hotels manage and control their operations. Fifteen years ago, the focus on energy consumption was driven largely by economics in the hotel industry, fast forward to 2024 and increasingly the bigger picture of sustainability comes into play.

remote phone charger, light control air-conditioning control in hotel guestroom by Zennio

Image credit: Zennio

“Today’s traveller is getting increasingly environmentally conscious whilst still valuing service, comfort and end user friendliness, “ expanded Vidar Thomassen, Director, Zennio. “ 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”.

Another buzz-word in the hospitality industry, is personalisation and while pillow menus and a personal trainer might come into the mix , this is where technology can really make a difference – from replicating time zones to minimising jet lag. Simply put, the dots are all there, waiting for the client to join them in a configuration that works best for them. PMS takes on a whole new meaning after spending time in this factory, learning about how Property Management Systems are integrated to control the basics of lighting and heating through to the less visible BMS – Building Management System – which monitors energy. Again, it is all about the integration of functionality and sustainability.

room control in hotel guestroom printed in same design as wallpaper

Image credit: Zennio

Walking though the process from beginning to end was an ordered and quietly logical process – none of the clanging and bashing often associated with factory tours, rather a sense of focussed calm and quiet productivity. This focus enables Zennio to work with clients to custom design elements that both speak to the intended audience as well as being able to fit in seamlessly into a design concept. As impressive as the technology  that goes into these systems is, it is this element of design customisation and attention to detail that caught my designer eye. A control panel that merges seamlessly with a designer wall finish – what’s not to love!

So many systems, details, wires and buttons, yet such a simple user interface in most cases, with as much attention being given to the intricacies of all that hidden technology, as there is to the carefully executed graphics that allow people like me not to have a melt-down when trying to work out which little picture to tap to get the bedside light to switch off!

Zennio is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our Recommended Suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Zennio