SMS plc research reveals 48% of travellers with an EV would not stay at a hotel without onsite charging

SMS plc research reveals 48% of travellers with an EV would not stay at a hotel without onsite charging

Only 7% of the UK’s charge points are located at hotels

A new report from SMS Plc revealed UK hotels that fail to offer onsite electric vehicle (EV) charging risk driving away guests and missing out on TRevPAR.

The study of over 1,000 UK EV drivers by SMS looked at the current experience of those who use public EV charge points. 

It found that 68% of EV drivers say it is “stressful to always have to think about public charging availability” when they take a long journey, and 88% believe public EV charging needs to improve if UK drivers are to be encouraged to transition to electric. 

Past encounters and the availability of EV charging are said to be causing frustration among hotel guests who have electric cars. 

Over two-thirds (67%) of respondents stated that it is now influencing their choice of hotel, with almost a half (48%) of UK EV drivers choosing not to stay at a hotel without onsite EV charge points. 

It also found 29% of UK EV drivers had used hotel EV charge points during an overnight stay for leisure and so had 29% of business travellers. 

The number of fully electric or hybrid cars on UK roads recently hit over 1.3 million while less than 7% (or 3,100) of the UK’s charge points are located at hotels. 

83% of respondents are prepared to wait to access an EV charge point at a hotel. 

38% would consider a wait of up to an hour, and a 26% up to two hours. 

However, over three-quarters (77%) are willing to pay for an EV concierge service at a hotel in order to limit the inconvenience caused by waiting.

Mark Winn, head of EV strategy of SMS plc, said: “Onsite EV charge points should no longer be seen as a competitive advantage for UK hotels; it's the guest experience surrounding them that delivers the point of differentiation. 

“By offering convenient and seamless EV charging options, both independent hotels and the larger hotel groups can encourage guests to return and increase brand loyalty. 

“In addition, reducing the need for guests to look elsewhere for suitable EV charging can help to maximise potential TRevPAR. 

“However, understanding how to implement the most effective EV charging infrastructure can be a minefield. 

“Not all EV charge points are created equal; the type required varies depending on where it’s being installed and who is using it.

“Hotels must avoid the trap of focusing solely on the revenues offered by charge point operators which invariably includes installing a smaller number of rapid charge points without the ability to book or reserve. 

“This delivers a poor experience, thanks to limited availability leading to longer wait times, and ultimately means EV driving guests will look elsewhere for their charging needs. 

“Instead, hotels should consider the wider revenue opportunity - such as food and beverage sales, presented by EV drivers. 

“The rule of thumb is to plan the implementation with three R’s in mind - right time, right location and right speed. This will deliver the right balance, and number, of EV charge points with speeds that match the time guests are spending onsite. 

“For example, fast chargers for guests staying for leisure or business, and rapid or ultra-rapid chargers for day visitors.”

The research data revealed 43% of UK EV drivers, the preferred option for paying for EV charging at a hotel is at the end of their stay, or as an additional charge and part of their final bill. 

While 24% would choose to pay immediately via a hotel website or app, but only 8% preferred the option of a third party website or app.

However, a 31% would expect EV charging to be free or included in the room rate and an additional 24% of drivers would look to redeem points from hotel rewards programmes to settle their charging bill.

Winn added: “A central part of ensuring a premium experience for hotel guests, once onsite EV charge points are installed, is to make access and payment as simple and transparent as possible.”