A new era for sustainability awareness is on the rise and more people around the globe understand that we need to sustainably manage our planet’s resources. We no longer only read about the melting icecaps and dying coral reefs, but also experience change in our own surroundings by facing more natural disasters such as flooding, heat waves or hurricanes. We are all more aware. We are more aware of our environmental footprint and the impact of our choices. The impact of buying fruit that is shipped in from the other side of the world or the impact of forgetting our reusable shopping bags when shopping for groceries.
Is the travel industry impacted by this shift of increased awareness?
According to an Accor study, sustainable development is not only a familiar concept for guests, it has actually become an important issue. Guests said they were ready to continue their eco-conscious life style while being on holiday and staying in hotels. The study also found that young millennials pay more attention to sustainable development than their elders which is also shown in their behaviours. They are more likely to consume organic produce, even when it is more expensive, and they are more likely to turn off their electric appliances. Guests, particularly those in younger generations, often allow ethical practices to drive their purchasing decisions.
What hotels can do to be more sustainable?
The brands that have been successful at sustainability have made choices and actions part of their DNA and company culture. To have an authentic sustainable customer experience, companies must walk the walk in addition to talking the talk. But what does that mean for hotels? Here are just some of the ways to make your hotel more sustainable.
1. Reduce energy use
Making just some simple changes to how your hotel uses energy can improve guest experience and result in cost savings. Try switching to long-lasting LED lights to reduce electricity use. Energy saving equipment such as kitchen or laundry devices, can also drastically reduce energy use in hotels. If your hotel or resort has a pool, consider purchasing a solar water heating system.
2. Conserve water
Fresh water is a limited resource for all of us. Installing low-flow shower heads, dual flush toilets and sink aerators in hotel rooms can greatly reduce water waste. Conserving water also reduces energy use, thus contributing to cost savings.
3. Ditch disposables
Single use hotel room items such as shampoo, soap, lotion, and coffee all have an enormous impact on the environment, especially when refilled on a daily basis. Consider switching to bulk sized toiletries in recyclable or refillable packaging or offer items to guests on request for free. Another great way to reduce waste in guest rooms is to swap plastic and paper cups with reusable glasses, mugs and stirrers.
4. Have a linen re-use programme
5. Go Local
Offer local, seasonal, organic food to ensure that guests are dining on fresh produce. Opting to serve local ingredients doesn’t only reduce the carbon emissions associated with transport but it can also bring travellers closer to the local community and experience local culture.