The growing importance of sustainability in hospitality

One of the most important factors of travel for both investors and consumers is the environment. Learn how the industry is becoming more sustainability-focused and how hotels can follow suit.

Laura Beier
June 27, 2022
Hospitality
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As the hospitality industry bounces back after years of instability, it’s being met with a variety of newer requirements: maintain the cleanliness standards of pandemic days, provide even better guest service, and arguably most importantly, be green.

An evolving industry 

Both investors and consumers are demanding sustainability and higher environmental standards for hotels, especially in European and Asian sectors. 

As the issue of climate change comes to the forefront (or, remains), on a geopolitical level, investments across the board are being evaluated on energy-savings and sustainability. More environmentally-friendly properties are more cost-effective as the popularity amongst consumers increases.

Speaking of consumers, both GenZ and millennials prefer properties that (accurately) claim higher sustainability standards, according to Skift. In a Booking.com survey, 83% of respondents said they want to travel more sustainably, naming the pandemic as a factor that made them more aware of travel’s environmental impact. 

And hotels are listening: big players like Hilton, IHG, and Wyndham Hotels and Resorts partner with Clean the World, an initiative that recycles and distributes unused hygiene products from hotels to children and families at high risk for hygiene-related illnesses. Hyatt Hotels Corporation set a goal in 2020 to reduce water use by 25%. Marriott is aiming to reduce overall waste by 45% by 2025 and food waste by 50%. 

How to be more sustainable

These broad initiatives are sometimes easier said than done. When it comes to increasing sustainability standards in hospitality, there are lots of smaller ways properties can implement change. 

  • Lighting

Switching to LED lighting instead of fluorescent or incandescent lighting can help reduce energy costs and environmental standards—LED lighting uses 50% less energy than the alternatives. LED bulbs also last over 50,000 hours, compared to 1,000 hours for an incandescent bulb and 8,000 for fluorescent.

  • Water 

Reducing water usage is a key part to sustainability and making a hotel more energy efficient. Water management plans can help decrease water usage, with goals and cleaning procedures to help save water and cut costs. Using low flow bathroom features can also reduce water usage by up to 30%, and gray water strategies can help up to 50% of wastewater return to the property following treatment.

  • Heating and cooling 

HVAC is one of the biggest energy users in any industry. Using renewable energy to heat and cool properties is one way to increase energy efficiency and sustainability. Other improvements include inspecting building infrastructure for air leaks, keeping an eye on outdoor air dampers to ensure no outside air is getting in and affecting the temperature, and installing auto programming that puts systems into setback mode during the evenings or other off times. 

  • Technology

Using software systems such as guest messaging for hospitality can help eliminate extra waste or save water by communicating with guests on when they want certain amenities. Planning to not wash towels for a multi-day stay unless the guest asks can help save resources and avoid unnecessary cleaning processes. Communicating with guests via hotel texting services can also increase sustainability efforts by informing the guest of changes to the hotel (ex: no daily housekeeping), while not sacrificing those 5-star reviews. 

Learn more about how hotel texting can help increase sustainability efforts at your property today or schedule a conversation with our team

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