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Canada: BIZZLine: Get a charge from this hotel

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE – Frank Vismeg has always gotten a charge out of pushing his hotels to lead the way environmentally.

“I was the first as far as I know in 1980 to open the first two non-smoking floors at the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Toronto,” said Vismeg, now managing director of marketing and sales for the Hilton Garden Inn in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

In 2009, he was involved in the country’s first new-construction LEED-certified hotel‚ the Hilton Garden Inn Toronto Airport.

That certification focused on best practices in areas like water savings, energy efficiency and environmental health.

So when electric-car driving customers at his current York St. hotel asked about charging stations, Vismeg was intrigued.

“They asked me where they could charge their cars here,” Vismeg said. “And naturally, at first I had no answer for them.”

After some research, he connected with Stephen Bieda of Sun Country Highway who proposed installing a 90-amp station to power up e-vehicles like the Chevy Volt and Tesla.

“We had coffee, talked about it and make an agreement to install,” Vismeg said.

He said the amenity — put in late last month — lets him attract a growing e-car driving market from further afield.

The level-two charging station usually takes in the neighbourhood of an hour for vehicles to charge.

Vismeg also decided the service would be free for car owners staying at the hotel

Two spots for the charging area are designated in the parking lot area, with the spaces appropriately painted green.

He said a number of customers have already charged up their wheels there.

The Hilton Garden is among an emerging trend of select e-car friendly hoteliers.

And it isn’t the only Niagara hotel with charging stations.


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