Three ways next-generation EV charging enhances guest experience 

By Hooman Shahidi

The electric vehicle (EV) market in the U.S. has surged in recent years, and EV sales surpassed one million units in the U.S. for the first time in 2023. The number of rechargeable cars sold is up 50% year-over-year, and experts predict that EVs and plug-in hybrids will likely account for nearly a quarter of all cars on the road in 2024. As adoption rates continue to increase and the push to improve the charging experience gains momentum, the hospitality industry needs to keep up by offering guests reliable on-site EV charging stations.

Despite the fact there are more electric vehicle models available than ever before, a recent study revealed that just 26% of hotels have installed EV chargers on their property. What’s more troubling is that many of the locations that do have EV charging stations are outfitted with notoriously unreliable first-generation chargers that often fail to hold a charge for more than two minutes. As drivers look for solutions to their charging challenges that will improve their overall travel experience, next-generation EV chargers allow hoteliers to meet those needs while generating new revenue opportunities for their location.

As more hotels deploy EV chargers and incorporate charging into their expanding portfolio of guest amenities, there are three ways in which property managers can leverage next-generation EV chargers to improve guest engagement, satisfaction and loyalty.

Increase guest engagement

A recent study showed that approximately 20% of hotel guests said they need EV charging stations when staying overnight. Electric cars account for roughly 1% of vehicles on the road in the U.S., which indicates that EV drivers are much more likely to also seek out lodging. Range anxiety remains a primary concern for EV drivers and the lack of reliable chargers can deter travelers from staying at a particular property. In fact, research shows that nearly half of all EV drivers would not stay at a hotel without onsite charging.

It is critical for property managers to assure any electric vehicle driver that their location offers onsite charging when booking their stay. Business and leisure travelers are increasingly seeking out EV charging, and it is the second-most searched attribute at Hilton properties, behind shuttle access for airports. Next-generation charging stations populate within the world’s most popular search engines and GPS applications to simplify the discovery process for customers, informing them of a charger’s physical location and availability.

Elevate guest satisfaction

Like all amenities, EV charging should be a value add that provides guests with enhanced convenience and comfort. However, first-generation chargers are cumbersome and require drivers to use key fobs or download different applications based on the provider. This tedious and time-consuming process can create a negative perception among guests before they have a chance to reach the check-in desk.

Next-generation chargers have the requisite technology to be compatible with every electric vehicle manufacturer and seamlessly integrate with consumer-facing apps and services. This creates a frictionless, end-to-end charging experience through a pay-as-you-go charging model. Hotels can leverage this to create a unique experience for their guests, which will help them understand movement patterns and preferences and how to best connect with them to encourage a return trip to the property.

Maximize guest loyalty

It’s important to remember that a guest’s EV charging experience begins during the pre-planning stage for their trip and continues through checkout. Next-generation EV charging infrastructure is a uniquely valuable asset for hotels because it allows them to foster deeper engagement with their guests and accelerate ROI. These platforms can connect with hotel POS and PMS software for increased revenue generation, sustained patron engagement and an improved charging experience. For example, next-generation chargers enable guests to easily activate a charger and bill it directly to their room with their RFID key, request EV chargers directly through the reservation or booking systems and incorporate guest data into the loyalty platform of choice.

Property managers can generate additional income from parking spaces rather than just charging for parking and customize the next-generation EV charging experience to meet their facility’s business needs. Readily available integrations, which include checking guests into their rooms, triggering a discount code at the spa or restaurant and syncing loyalty points on their account by simply initiating a charge, create a consistent revenue stream and increase the lifetime value of the customer relationship. The next-generation EV charging experience illustrates an organization’s commitment to top amenities designed to meet the evolving needs of today’s travelers.

The guest experience is the most important aspect of the hospitality industry. Patrons now expect first-class amenities, cutting-edge technology, and seamless integrations that deliver personalized experiences throughout their stay. Next-generation EV chargers can meet these needs and improve the perceived quality of service while driving revenue and creating a demonstrable ROI for properties nationwide.

Hooman Shahidi is the co-founder and CEO of EVPassport, the first technology-driven, electric vehicle charging hardware and software platform company. 

This is a contributed piece to Hotel Business, authored by an industry professional. The thoughts expressed are the perspective of the bylined individual.