Z Hotels are one of the fastest growing hotel chains in UK. Their cleverly designed compact rooms promise ‘everything you need, and none of the things you don’t need’. This model enables a touch of luxury, in exceptional city locations, at a great price.
The estate has grown to 14 hotels in just 12 years and is keen to expand further with locations currently in London, Glasgow, Liverpool and Bath. As the chain grows, it continues to focus on ethical and sustainable business practises too. The F&B offer is ‘on brand’.
Before connecting with the Aqua Libra team, Z Hotels were already starting to exit packaged water from rooms altogether and transition to filtered water systems instead for guests to help themselves to in Z Cafes. They were pioneering adopters of water systems, convinced by the environmental and commercial upsides versus single-use packaging, as well as the operational benefits of handling less packaging in keeping with the very simple and disciplined business model that Z Hotels run. Russ was disappointed though with the service from the incumbent tap suppliers. Service levels were ‘woeful’, with issues around reliability, servicing, invoicing and basic account communication. Enough was enough. He was determined to re-set the offer, and find a quality partner who could live up to the high standards that Z Hotels have.
Re-evaluated water category
Aqua Libra were appointed sole water partner, to be rolled out across all sites, current and new. Commercially, the assurance of very low COGS and reliability meant that that finely filtered water systems could quickly become part of the standard fit at Z Hotels, giving guests the fantastic benefit of gratis of branded water, served in beautiful glassware, as part of the cost of their stay. "Guests love everything about it…we are getting nothing but compliments. We went out of our way to tell guests about the change, including for example, leaving messaging in rooms when guests have checked in, encouraging them to adopt the re-fill model. Aqua Libra are in a different league to other tap suppliers. There isn’t really a comparison – be it in knowledge, service, equipment, brand or innovation … it’s exemplary. " Russ Bodycomb, Hospitality Director at Z Hotels.
‘For many hotel brands, giving free water away in rooms is a huge financial and operational cost, and a totally unnecessary environmental footprint. The prize was to eradicate the cost, environmental impact and operational hassle of buying, moving and disposing of over a million plastic bottles per year’.
Russ Bodycomb, Hospitality Director at Z Hotels.
What are the sustainability benefits?
There is one more step to go on to eradicate single use water in Z Hotels, and Russ is determined to complete it when the right solution is available. The remaining single-use water is a relatively small amount of 500ml water still listed in Z Cafés. This is usually sold to guests to take away or for staff to drink on-site. Russ is working with the Aqua Libra Co to trial a game-changing aluminium screw cap 500ml “prefilled refill” bottle. The vision is to remove plastics altogether in Z Hotels, and encourage staff guests to adopt a refill model, without any downside.