Hoteliers and hotel groups are currently facing a variety of challenges. Low economic growth, increasing transportation cost and fear of terrorism are having a negative impact on the tourist trade, keeping the number of overnight stays often below expectations.
Subdued levels of economic activity, security considerations and spending cuts by many companies as well as private households are forcing many hotels to boost their economic efficiency, update their technology and infrastructure facilities and improve their service offering to guests. The Siemens Division Building Technologies (BT) offers, together with other Siemens Division, tailored solutions for both new and existing infrastructures, which provide safety and security, greater comfort and convenience, while lowering operating costs. These are supported by a comprehensive portfolio of dedicated and integrative resource, facility, service and communication solutions.
Fire Alarm Systems for Visitors not Familiar with Surroundings
Hotels and hostels accommodate the widest range of people who eat, sleep and drink in an environment with which they are not familiar. While the employees are generally trained for emergencies and are familiar with the local conditions of the facility, guests, seasonal employees and employees from outside companies (suppliers, craftsmen etc.) hardly know their way around and are not in the position to act correctly in the event of fire. They believe they are in danger, panic and try to leave the building as quickly as possible via the only route they know – the way they came in. This can directly result in fatalities.
A fire protection concept incorporating structural, technical and organizational aspects is required to limit fire risks effectively. The immediate focus is on the reliable detection of a fire as soon as it arises. The Sinteso fire detection system transmits an alarm to intervention forces and fire-fighting services, and automatically activates the programmed protective measures (extinguishing systems, protective doors, elevator controls, smoke extraction systems, etc.) and the voice alarm system for broadcasting spoken announcements to guests and staff. It is important to have a fire detection system that is immune to interference as well as ensuring reliable detection, since it is unreasonable to subject hotel guests to false alarms or unnecessary evacuation. These have extremely adverse effects on the hotel's image and on customer satisfaction.
A Voice Alarm System is also advisable for larger buildings; this provides information to threatened zones and personnel in the event of fire and initiates secure, coordinated evacuation. People often ignore or misinterpret conventional alarm devices such as sirens and horns. The voice alarm system informs the zones affected with spoken announcements appropriate to the situation via loudspeaker about escape routes which should or should not be used in the event of evacuation. Both the language and the combination with foreign languages is freely programmable. A system of this kind can, of course, also be used for other communication purposes, such as paging or background music.
Doors to be User-Friendly while Anti-Criminally
The doors in most hotels are open to guests around the clock almost everywhere, and this situation is unfortunately often exploited for various kinds of criminal activity. Burglary of a guest room and theft of personal effects make a lasting negative impression on guests and cause considerable inconvenience as a result of having to deal with the police and insurance companies. So it is important for everyone involved in hotels to protect guest rooms, valuables and hotel facilities, and to ensure that normal hotel operations are maintained.
The range of security systems and components is very diverse, and for hotel operators the choice is therefore rather difficult and does not always have the desired protective effect. It therefore comes down to choosing an experienced supplier who can meet differing needs with a wide security offering and can reliably install the required solutions. Depending on the situation, pinpoint video surveillance/recording, for example at reception area, the swimming pool or in the underground car park is suitable, or a multi-functional intrusion detection system that can monitor certain zones with access control, video surveillance or alarm signals in combination. These also include wireless radio linked systems or so-called hybrid systems that combine cable and radio technology, depending on the application. Radio links are used primarily for retrofits, or where cable installations are disturbing on aesthetic or economic grounds.
Integrated Management System
Siemens' guest room control solutions range from stand-alone climate controls such as heating and air conditioning, to a fully integrated guest room solution combining climate control with web- based building management systems, which enable the complete facility e.g. bar, restaurant and conference rooms to be centrally controlled and monitored.
Energy management can be optimized and appropriate economy measures calculated with close reference to the actual situation by means of the systems employed for building automation and room control. The web-based Energy Monitoring and Controlling (EMC) service module records consumption data and CO2 emissions on a standardized basis and makes them available to the users at any time. Many energy-reducing measures arise from the optimization of reference values and operating times and the utilization of residual heat present in the building. Substantial savings result from the reduction of air flow rates in air conditioning and ventilating systems. This includes replacing outdated air flow rate controls and adjusting the size of fans.
BT offers so-called Performance Contracting in order to exploit to the full the available potential for energy savings and the associated improvements in building services. Under this service contract BT, acting as general contractor, carries out the required modernization and optimization work. The necessary capital expenditures are paid for by the savings in energy and operating costs during the life of the contract. The contract also increases operating reliability, boosts the value of the building's facilities and makes a guaranteed contribution to environmental protection through energy savings and reduced emissions. Additional savings are shared between the contracting parties, failure to achieve savings is at BT's expense. After the contract expires, the customer benefits from all subsequent savings.
Hipath Hospitality Service Center ? the CRM software developed by Siemens ? is tailored to the special needs of the hotel market. The system registers and monitors all the guests' service requirements and supports hotel management's information and administrative services. Hipath Hospitality combines 'classical' telephony with modern communications technologies such as analog, ISDN, LAN, WAN, PDA, Internet interfaces with different bandwidths and dedicated IP addresses. All communications connections are coordinated by the system and displayed to personnel via PC monitor. The comfort solution offers guests a diverse range of communications facilities ranging from interactive TV, standard TV services, video ordering and surfing on the Internet to the ability to call up hotel services interactively via the monitor.
Siemens fire protection, building automation, access control, power supply and electrical installation technology were all involved in the construction of the recently opened Moevenpick Hotel Frankfurt City, located in the middle of the new Europaviertel district being developed on the site of a former freight yard.
The 288-bed, four star hotel by developer Hochtief/Bilfinger Berger consortium was commissioned by the Vivico real estate company. By opting for a ‘single-source' solutions concept from Siemens Building Technologies, the business partners were able to make substantial savings, with the knowledge base distinctions which conventionally exist between electrical engineering and instrumentation and control being largely eliminated by adopting this approach.
For Moevenpick's hotel management it is important – in face of rising energy costs – that additional options for economical and secure long-term operation are already functionally provided for in the systems, such as energy management and optimization functions. With a graduated offering of migration solutions, Siemens' system functions are not only secured for the long term, but are also safeguarded for the future within the context of technological advances.