Guest Column by Frank Hörl – General Manager, Mövenpick Hotel Berlin
Reducing Co² emmissions
Managing a hotel property which is “only” leased by our Management Company one could easily say that we cannot convert ideas into success. In fact the words “we do manage” means that in fact we can change cultures and behaviours.
Three years ago, the first thing we did was to reduce company cars from three to one using multiple car sharing partners such as DriveNow, MultiCity and Car2Go. All employees were given free registration and a credit for these car sharing services, also train tickets are co-sponsored or completely subsidized which is a financial benefit for them. We have also installed a multiple eCar battery charging station and have seen guests arriving from Denmark and other countries with their eCars such as Teslas.
We are trying to further promote this eCar initiative, but we have to understand how our efforts interface with the actual demand in the market. We’ve contracted SCIUS Consulting who have analysed the outcomes of a growing number of guests bringing their eCars with them to the hotel. We need to understand the PMS requirements and what else should be considered, such as room inventory, number of charging stations, interfaces with door locks, etc. The eCar revolution is underway and things will change overnight particularly if the German government begins to subsidize eCars into the future.
In our hotel over the past 3 years, we have changed all ordinary lighting to LED, even in guest rooms and public areas. In other areas, especially corridors and back-of-house we installed “Bewegungsmelder” or motion detectors. This has reduced not only electricity consumption by 15%, but also the workload on our POMEC team, as LEDs last much longer. Return of investment for this initiative is only +9 months if one considers cost of labor for the POMEC team.
Waste reduction is ongoing and now most food is delivered in refundable or returnable boxes or containers. The most important focus in 2014 was to reduce the number of suppliers and orders per day being delivered. Today our largest supplier accounts for 60% of our goods, be it fresh or dried or ancillary products. This is a massive change in the mindset of our Executive Chef and Procurement Manager, but working with Webshop and FutureLog (a Mövenpick Company) we managed that turn around, reducing deliveries to the hotel by one third.
For me sustainability is also providing sustainable jobs in the industry. Developing people, fostering talent, and building peoples’ skills using the German dual traineeship system which has been working for decades. Through this approach we have managed to maintain and build our status as an attractive employer, and the hotel and individuals staff members have won several awards in various competitions.
I’ve been a Rotarian since 1997 and at the moment president of our club, so for me social means also having to look across borders. Act local, think global – share our welfare.
We are supporting many projects with our hotel team, including the annual “Kinder Tag at the Berlin Zoo” (two days with more than 3000 children/school classes invited). We are also running several initiatives such as Shelter Box, and Gesunde Kinds and supporting the local Bahnhofmission by baking cakes, sandwiches and other goods.
Being a hotelier, one has a responsibility for diversity and to be open to people from all over the world; at this time Berlin is seeing an overflow of refugees. It is our aim to help people from Syria and many other embattled countries and I personally believe it is important for all of us to try and help the children of these conflicts however and whenever we can.