Hotel Backup Generators for Hospitality and Resorts

hotel back up generator

Why is it important to have a hotel backup generator? Think of it this way: Hotels and resorts rely on providing the best level of service possible in order to create a memorable experience for their guests and promote their business, increase reputation, and market their brand. From decorum to customer service and amenities, the experience must exceed the expectations of guests in order to thrive in the business of hospitality.

Let’s flash back to August 2003, when a massive blackout swept through the Northeast. Many businesses, including hotels, experienced significant operating failures that lasted anywhere from half an hour to several days after the lights first went out.

A Cornell University study assessed 93 hotels that lost power during the outage. Only about 25% of these hotels had standby generators powering at least part of their buildings. Many hotels were left without the ability to provide food service or running water, which negatively impacted the guest experience.

There is no doubt that hospitality management teams evaluate and implement protocols that aim to elevate the level of enjoyable and memorable experiences for guests, but there is one undeniable truth for hotels and resorts – one single bad experience can ruin a guest’s time spent at the hotel or resort and leave a long-lasting negative impression. This can then carry forward to reviews of your hotel or resort and can extend to word of mouth, potentially damaging your hotel or resort’s reputation.

While many hotels are prepared to handle most situations that arise, what happens in the event of a power outage? Are your employees prepared to face this type of situation, should it occur?

Do Hotels Have Backup Generators?

A single power outage can cause guests to become angry or frustrated or even scared, bringing along more challenges to an already chaotic situation. Even if every single aspect of the hotel or resort experience is flawless, a power outage could change a guest’s perception in an instant.

Hotel management needs to make sure they have a plan put in place so that they can continue to operate, even in the event of a power outage. It’s already widely known that the U.S. power grid has aged and is failing due to the increase in energy demands on the power grid network. There have been increasing numbers of rolling brownouts or complete blackouts due to power grid failure, adding on top of that – potential superstorms, severe Winter weather storms, natural disasters, or man-made disasters could bring down the power grid for not just your area, but the entire region.

Even if your hotel or resort has established a thorough emergency plan in the event of a power outage, there is nothing compared to the moment that it actually happens. When planning for emergency situations, such as power outages, hotels and resorts should include a backup power system initiative in their planning strategy.

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Tips for Creating a Hotel Emergency Preparedness Plan

Tips for Creating a Hotel Emergency Preparedness Plan

In a way, power outages provide an excellent opportunity to deliver excellent customer service and support. In emergency situations, people, including locals, will see your hotel as a safe haven from everything happening outside.

While guests expect hotels to have standby generators, most hotels still lack auxiliary power. As a result, hotels with backup generators stand out from their competition as the safer choice. They could even save money by keeping critical power running in areas like the kitchen cold storage and maintenance room.

Creating or updating your hotel’s emergency preparedness plan (EPP) is a great place to start. Here are some tips for creating a solid EPP:

  • Emergency training: Incorporate blackout training into your staff training protocols. Make sure you train specific staff members to power down certain areas of the hotel to prevent power surges.
  • Phone list: Texting is usually the only available form of communication during blackouts, so be sure to compile all your employees’ contact information on one sheet and share it with your staff.
  • Backup power: Install a standby generator to keep your power running through emergencies.
  • Plan: Make a list of the most critical areas in your hotel and make sure they will receive power from the generator.
  • Stock up: Have a supply of light sticks, batteries, and heavy-duty flashlights ready for your staff to use if a power outage happens.

Hotel Backup Generators — A Sound Choice

A popular and common choice for a backup power system is a commercial generator. Diesel and natural gas are the two most common fuel types for commercial generators. Depending on factors like size and output rating — the amount of electrical power a generator can produce — a commercial generator can do more than just keep the lights on. It can also provide reliable power to key hotel infrastructure components like servers and computer systems. Larger commercial generators can generally handle all of the basic necessities, but can possibly also power refrigeration, security, and internet systems. These generators can also be equipped with an Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS for short), so that the generator will kick in within seconds of power loss.

If space is an issue and you are unable to install a stationary backup generator in or around the hotel or resort, a portable rental generator can be a great alternative.

More information on portable rental generators can be found here: Benefits of Portable Rental Generators

Backup Generators for Guest Safety and Comfort

Many people expect hotels to keep operating even when power in nearby residential areas is knocked out. To meet these expectations, hotel owners must prioritize the safety and comfort of their guests in emergency situations, and providing an uninterrupted power supply is the best way to do so.

Hotels are not required to have backup generators, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t practical and worthwhile investments. Installing one can save your hotel from both financial and reputational damage.

According to the National Electrical Code (NEC), the following systems must have uninterrupted power in hotels:

  • Fire pumps and alarms
  • Card readers
  • Magnetic door holds
  • Emergency lighting
  • Elevators
  • Ventilation and smoke removal
  • Data and communication systems

One more area you need to power is your kitchen. Nearby restaurants are also likely to lose power during blackouts, so being able to provide hot food for your guests is a must.

What is the Difference Between Diesel and Natural Gas Generators?

The biggest difference that determines which generator to go with is simple – What fuel source will you be using? Will you be using diesel or natural gas to power the generator?

Though there are a number of items to consider when choosing a commercial generator, we’ll briefly cover some of the most important factors:

Initial Cost

Your initial cost is the upfront cost of buying and installing a new or used commercial generator.

Fuel Costs

Fuel costs depend on two factors:

  1. The amount of fuel the generator consumes during regular operation.
  2. The amount of fuel required for the generator to keep running for a specific number of days.

Maintenance and Repair Costs

Regular maintenance is important for both diesel and natural gas generators. However, diesel generators are typically more advantageous for businesses because they require significantly less maintenance than their natural gas counterparts.

Routine preventive maintenance can help ensure your generator is always ready for the next power outage. It can also reduce the amount of money you spend on repairs, which can be costly.

Fuel Storage

Natural gas generators connect to the main gas pipeline, so there’s no need to store additional fuel. As long as your utility service doesn’t experience any interruptions, a natural gas generator should be able to function any time you need it.

Diesel generators, on the other hand, require a diesel base tank, which usually attaches to the unit’s base. Generators with smaller tanks will require more frequent fueling to keep them running continuously — as a result, it may be beneficial to store reserves of extra diesel fuel on the premises. You could also find a reliable delivery service for diesel fuel, including in the event of an emergency.


Diesel fuel is one of the least flammable fossil fuels. Because it is a liquid at room temperature and has a natural odor, you or your staff members should be able to notice a diesel leak fairly quickly. If a leak occurs, you should be able to clean it up safely.

In contrast, natural gas is highly combustible. It can explode if it comes into contact with an ignition source, even if it’s just a spark. It’s also dangerous to inhale natural gas in large quantities, as it is extremely toxic to humans. Routine maintenance and monitoring are crucial to the safe operation of natural gas generators.


Diesel generators create significant noise, which can be dangerous for anyone working nearby without proper protective headgear. Generators that use natural gas, on the other hand, are much quieter. Installing any generator in a sound-attenuated enclosure is a smart way to reduce excessive noise.

Of course, there are other factors you should consider when looking into a commercial generator, like durability and emissions. We’ve created some additional resources to help you evaluate these factors and more:

Are There Specific Guidelines For Installing Hotel Backup Generators?

In addition to adhering to local building codes, regional EPA, and state guidelines, hotels and resorts must also adhere to the National Electrical Code (NEC) to power the following circuits:

Emergency Systems

  • Path/walkway lights
  • Exit/emergency exit lights
  • Fire alarms
  • Fire pumps
  • Hotel/resort room key card readers
  • Doors with magnetic mechanisms
  • Critical safety & life saving equipment on premises

Legally Required Standby Systems

  • Communications & data systems
  • Emergency lights/lighting systems within the building
  • Elevators
  • Ventilation systems
  • Front desk power outlets

Optional Systems

  • Electrical sockets
  • HVAC units
  • Food storage & refrigeration
  • Food processing

These are the guidelines for installing a commercial generator:

The Woodstock Power Company Experience

There are many items to consider when installing a commercial generator for your hotel or resort property. However, there is one absolute fact – safety and comfort of all guests must be prioritized!

While we have covered the more important aspects of generators for hotels and resorts, if you are looking for more information about hotel backup generators or looking to purchase a generator, we invite you to reach out to us!

Our team consists of industry experts with in-depth industry knowledge to help you choose the right generator set to fit your hotel’s needs.

We lead the industry in buying and selling used generators uniquely suited to many businesses. Our expertise is in the industrial, medical, commercial, education, and agricultural industries. We’ve provided generators to various types of facilities like nursing homes, better living centers, hospitals, resorts, hotels, airports, restaurants, manufacturing plants, retail centers, universities, production facilities, and more.

Got Questions?

Our team of experts is here to assist you. We can answer any questions you may have so you can find the best generator set for your hotel.

Be sure to ask your representative about the following:

  • Average and peak power requirements
  • Fuel preference — diesel or natural gas
  • Requirements for prime and standby generators
  • Stationary power and portability
  • Exhaust restrictions and available space

What Can We Do For You?

We carry used, new, and surplus power generator sets from the highest-rated manufacturers, which allows us to provide you with great value hotel backup generators that fit into your budget.

We thoroughly inspect, service, and verify our generators, so we can assure you that you’ll get a dependable top-quality generator. When we get a generator that doesn’t meet industry standards, we take it in for repairs and modifications. We then put it through a series of rigorous tests before putting it on the sales floor. This process helps us create a turnkey generator you can install and fire up right away.

With a wide selection of generator sets to choose from, you can count on us to provide the set that best suits your hotel’s budget and operational needs. Plus, if you’ve already upgraded and your older model is in good condition, we can buy it from you.

Want to learn more about the Woodstock Power Company experience? Contact us with any inquiries, questions, or concerns. Our representatives will get right back to you with information on our company and the top-notch products and services we offer.

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