Technology for sustainable hospitality

Published on 2023-04-17

Startup Story

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Noytrall is a tech company that offers sustainability solutions for the hospitality industry. In this interview, Miguel Clemente discuss their innovative IoT-based approach to reducing hotels' environmental impact.


About Noytrall

The birth of Noytrall is a long story that began when I participated in entrepreneurial programs at the University of Coimbra with some friends. We were looking at renewable energy problems and solutions, trying to come up with a business idea. Initially, we validated a service for installers of renewable energy systems, but to ensure our solution and service would fit the installers' needs, we validated it with our potential customers. That's when we realized that hotels, one of the main customers of renewable energies, had a more pressing problem than the one we were trying to solve.

We discovered that hotels lacked knowledge about their guests' behavior when it came to water and energy consumption. This gave us the idea to create a concept that would measure the water and energy consumption of guests in hotels. Thus, Noytrall was born as a solution to fit that gap and create a streamlined relationship between water and energy efficiency consumption and the data about guests that would help hotels make better decisions.

Noytrall functions and services

Our company started by monitoring water and energy consumption accommodation by accommodation, which provides guests and hotels with real-time data on their consumption. This helps to improve water and energy efficiency, hotel operations, and sustainability awareness. Our primary service involves an IoT bundle that hotels can install in each room or accommodation to monitor guest consumption.

We are now launching a business intelligence platform to help hotels understand their guests' consumption patterns. This platform links and aggregates data from energy and water consumption with guest stays and information regarding reservations, such as guest demographics and booking sources. 

Additionally, our gamification system encourages sustainable behaviour from guests, making them an integral part of the question of sustainability. 

Hotels cannot become sustainable if their guests are not sustainable, and the gamification system helps hotels interact with the guests and helps guests understand water and energy consumption, sustainability questions, how to change their behaviour and how to improve the consumption patterns to become more sustainable.

Noytrall's gamification system for sustainable hotel stays

The gamification system of Noytrall starts by sharing data on guests' consumption, giving them real-time access to what they are consuming in their hotel rooms. Noytrall uses indicators from the markets to measure its ecological footprint and compares it with its previous history, hotel standards, average recommendations of the hospitality industry, and worldwide associations' sustainability guidelines. By comparing all these factors, Noytrall defines the sustainability profile of the guest.

Guests are awarded points based on how sustainable they are, i.e., how less resources they consume. These points can be exchanged for rewards in sustainable tourism products, activities, and experiences. Noytrall has a system to target behaviour and increase the points that guests can receive. It provides educational tips and options to help guests understand sustainability recommendations and activities that the hotel is implementing to become sustainable, and what they should be doing when they are staying in certain locations.

Monitoring and reducing carbon emissions in the hospitality industry

One of the issues we're addressing in the market is the lack of knowledge about guests' consumption levels during their stay. This information is not readily available to institutions, including travel organizations at the local, regional, or international level. Even hotels themselves often lack accurate data on consumption. 

Our solution aims to solve this gap by providing a clearer understanding of consumption levels.

We also recognize the need for research on what the appropriate levels of consumption should be for hotels and guests, as well as the steps needed to achieve those levels. Our monitoring solution helps to evaluate whether the steps taken to reduce consumption are effective or not by measuring KPIs and tracking guest consumption levels.

By calculating guests' footprints, we can provide a more recognized comparison in terms of carbon emissions from their stays. 

As a global industry, tourism is responsible for 5% of worldwide emissions, with hotels accounting for 2% of that total. Our goal is to reduce emissions by half, in line with the European Commission's objectives. Our solution can help ensure that consumption levels are met.

Potential Markets for Noytrall's Solutions

Our service and solution are currently designed to focus on the hospitality industry, specifically for hotels, camping parks, bungalows, and various types of stays. However, we are open to exploring opportunities to expand into other sectors. For example, our technology could be used by businesses to monitor energy consumption in offices. Additionally, we have plans to potentially expand into the cruise industry, which also falls within the realm of hospitality. So while our primary focus is on the hospitality sector, we are open to exploring other possibilities.

Guests and hotels' feedback

Hotels are definitely interested in improving the management of their operations with clearer and more precise data on their operation and efficiency. 

Sustainability is a pressing concern for hotels, especially with the rising costs of water and energy. They want to keep these costs in check while also catering to the new wave of eco-conscious tourism, where hotels are beginning to see the effects of new legislation regarding ESG (environmental, social, and governance) goals.

We are seeing hotels that want to ensure their suppliers are sustainable and are doing everything they can to improve their own sustainability. 

Our solution is a tool that allows them to express and interact with guests on this level, improving communication and awareness of sustainability.

From the guest side, transparency in their relationship with hotels is important. Guests want to understand that hotels are placing them at the centre of the sustainability question and asking for their help in understanding what is going on. We have seen different reactions from guests, with most realizing that their actions and voices count in making the changes required to achieve sustainability in tourism. Some guests still prefer for hotels to take action, but most are excited to play their part.

Changing guests' behavior by educating them about sustainable actions

We certainly hope that for people the experience of staying in accommodations that have adopted our solution could serve as an example of an experience that might change their behavior. So, after staying in such an accommodation, they might start adopting more environmentally conscious behaviors when they return home.

However, we have also thought about it in the opposite way. If you are already sustainable at home, with practices such as recycling, being aware of what you eat, how you shower, and turning off lights when not in use, it can be challenging to maintain those practices when you stay in a hotel or other accommodation. Therefore, this is also a way of letting hotels know that we want to maintain these practices while we are away from home. By educating guests about sustainability, we hope they will continue these actions in their day-to-day lives.

The main challenges Noytrall had to face along the process

As a startup, everything is a challenge, and that is what makes us grow. 

Developing a technological solution that is robust and reliable, and then putting it to test in so many different types of accommodations is just the first challenge we have encountered. 

We are facing the challenge of funding, especially given the current economic status quo. However, we have received a wonderful response from the hospitality sector, from its different shareholders, including guests, hotels, hospitality associations, and institutions. 

We have received numerous awards recently, and we are confident that the work we are doing is essential in reducing the impact of tourism and emissions in the hospitality industry. We believe that all the challenges we are facing are making us stronger, and we are confident that we can successfully navigate them.

About the author

Miguel Rolinho Clemente

Co founder of Noytrall