A quality hotel experience is, above all, comfortable. True comfort extends beyond the guestroom bed and encompasses a hotel’s welcome experience, its layout and even the hotel’s temperature. According to Scott Stayton, director of marketing and product management at Climate Control Group, the business of providing a comfortable indoor atmosphere grows more refined with each passing year, but the real challenge is keeping pace with the rate of change.
Climate Control Group was founded in 1992 in Oklahoma City, where the company made its name selling and distributing wall-mounted packaged terminal air conditioner units. The company’s subsidiaries have been selling to the hospitality market since the 1960s through customer-facing businesses such as ClimateMaster, IEC, ClimateCraft and ClimaCool.
Stayton, who joined Climate Control Group two years ago, said experts at the company have watched as building codes and technology evolved to shape the residential and hospitality landscape. After all these years, Stayton’s takeaway is that the industry remains slow to react to changes, but there is no way to delay the inevitable.
“One of the biggest challenges to overcome for the hospitality industry is simply change,” Stayton said. “As we innovate with our products and systems, not only does the opportunity exist for increased efficiency in the room, but the system as a whole.”
One of the ways Climate Control Group is improving environmental efficiency is through its SureFlow and VFlow systems. These systems are installed internally in the company’s PTACs, and both operate on the same principle as internal circulator pumps that transfer energy usage from a main pumping station to other units. This allows energy to be distributed in a way that allows hotels to use less overall.
“We have solutions like SureFlow in our IEC fan coils, as well as VFlow in our ClimateMaster Water Source Heat Pumps that can optimize system performance while reducing costs of materials and installation,” said Stayton. “This can result in big dollars to a hotel operator and/or owner.”
Stayton said Climate Control Group’s main goal in 2019 is to continue promoting its products and solutions to hoteliers, and that includes the latest advancement in climate technology. Automation is of increasing interest in the climate space because it allows guestrooms to operate using the absolute minimum amount of resources while providing the experience requested by guests. Providing a service such as this is becoming more important as guests continue to provide personal information to hotel companies, informing hoteliers of their needs before their arrival.
"[Guestroom] automation is one key to operating in-room units at their maximum potential,” Stayton said. “This area of the hospitality industry is moving quickly. Simple automation… might keep a room temperature at a moderate level until guests check in or [react] to room occupancy. As controls advance, the industry will see options such as geofencing, where a guestroom may activate the in-room unit based on [guests] entering the hotel lobby or approaching their room door.”
Hoteliers may be wooed to automation by the prospect of lower utilities costs or a reduced workload for on-property staff, but Stayton said the true benefits of such a program are increased control for the guest and the message that hotels are paying attention to their needs.
“We are ready to watch as the hotel industry races to guest automation and improved efficiencies,” Stayton said. “The connected experience for guests is one of the most intriguing areas. [Hotel companies] want to differentiate their brand from others and guest comfort, which includes climate control, is one area Climate Control Group companies can help reach their goals.”
Logic in Logistics
As building codes evolve, so do the needs of climate-control technology. Programmable thermostats are gaining traction in the hospitality industry because they allow both hotels and guests to gain a greater degree of control over the stay experience, but they are just the tip of the iceberg. Climate Control Group also manufactures water source and geothermal heat pumps, hydronic fan coils, modular geothermal chillers and large custom air handlers to meet hoteliers’ needs. Stayton also said the company is watching as automation is more widely adopted across the hospitality industry. Because automation is based on a company’s knowledge of its guests’ preferences, travelers may soon judge a brand by how well it recognizes them and their needs without having to request anything. “The hotel market is an extremely important channel for us going forward,” Stayton said.
Clicking With Clients
Climate Control Group has more than 1 million square feet of manufacturing and distribution facilities in Oklahoma City, including fabrication tools, quality-control systems, product-design workshops and testing areas. According to Stayton, it’s important to clarify to hotel partners that everything from the company is produced in house. “We make everything here,” he said. “We’ve always been located in Oklahoma City. It’s a tight-knit group.” Furthermore, he stated that the hospitality market is of great interest to the company in 2019, and CCG’s mission for hospitality is to improve efficiencies while lowering maintenance and installation spending wherever possible. This applies to new builds, renovations of existing properties and the replacement of existing heating and air conditioning systems.