Sustainability in The Hotel World – an Easy Task Or Continuous Compromising?
Updated: Sep 17, 2019
We all know that hospitality industry has a significant impact on the environment due to its high water consumption as well as hotels’ use of consumable goods and energy. Eco-consciousness is on the rise in the hospitality industry but making big environmentally friendly changes might be a more difficult task as one might think thanks to guests’ expectations.
When we go to a hotel we usually expect it to be nicer than our home. We secretly make assumptions: there must be a huge garden, an infinity pool and a fireplace, otherwise we’ll be slightly disappointed. At the same time sustainability is on the top of our priorities. We favor sustainable and authentic experiences and want our accommodation to be as environmentally friendly as possible.
Hotels need to compromise all the time in order to both fulfill guests’ expectations and maintain sustainable operations. Think about food for example: many guests have a basic assumption that an entrecôte is always served in a 5-star hotel. How would a regular guest react if the restaurant didn’t serve their favorite dinner anymore? They would probably choose another hotel where to get their favorite meal.
We have also certain expectations regarding the room temperature. Nobody wants to freeze in a hotel room, even though it would be more sustainable and tolerable at home. Wouldn’t a fireplace be a nice and comfy solution? No, actually its emissions are a lot worse than heating up the building with electricity. It’s a really nice amenity adding guests comfort in the lobby, though!
When traveling to a vacation to somewhere warm, don’t we expect to bathe in a swimming pool? A big and heated swimming pool if possible? We expect to have one, but do we really think about the costs and consequences of having one? Heating up a pool throughout the year requires a lot of energy and its water consumption is massive. Even though the hoteliers are fully aware of the environmental impacts of having a pool, they will probably invest in it to keep up with the competition.
So, how to stay attractive without compromising our planet’s future? Here’s a few examples:
1. Equip hotel rooms with smart thermostats, which help you save both money and energy: once the thermostat is connected with the hotel’s booking system and occupancy information, the cooling or heating costs of vacant rooms are minimized.
2. Invest in an eco-friendly swimming pool. Unlike most sparkling blue swimming pools, natural swimming pools are filtered organically rather than by chemicals. If a pool filled with aquatic plants and gravel and clay instead of fibreglass feels too extreme, at least reduce the energy costs of a regular pool. Simple actions such as covering the pool when it's not in use and heating it with renewable energy help you get started.
3. Skip environmentally harmful pesticides. Bed bug infestations have increased in recent years primarily due to the growing resistance against a broad range of pesticides. Today you can safeguard your hotel from bed bugs with new design preventively and get a higher return for your rooms at it!
4. Encourage your guests to make sustainable decisions. Most of your guests are those eco-conscious travelers who just might forget their principals in hotels. Recommend vegetarian options at breakfast, give your guests the option to decline daily cleaning services and equip rooms and public areas with recycle bins.
No one will have a bad guest experience if you implement these examples. On the contrary, it might just add that extra value your guests are looking for.
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Valpas is the first and only company in the world that advances thoughtful travel by introducing travelers to hotels that will keep them safe from gnarly bed bugs. Valpas collaborates with the most caring hotels around the world to leave people, places and the planet better off than how they found it. The company was founded in 2013 and has offices in Helsinki, Finland and Dubai, UAE. https://www.valpashotels.com/