Securing a sustainable future in the hospitality industry

Sustainability is at the forefront of most people’s minds, and is a concern for all industries – including the hospitality sector. 

Within the sector, hotels and other accommodation are increasingly having to think about sustainability as part of their offer to customers. There’s no denying that a hotel’s primary objective is to provide the luxurious experience that guests expect, but how can they continue to increase revenue through bookings while focussing on improving their sustainability practices?

Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the dangers of unsustainable businesses, and are therefore making purchasing choices based on a company’s ethical and sustainable practices.

There are many areas that hotels can focus on to reduce their impact on the environment, including:

  • Energy usage
  • Water consumption
  • Waste reduction and recycling
  • Cleaning products
  • Food production
  • Bathroom amenities

Getting buy in from guests

Encouraging guests to ‘be green’ is also a great way to spread awareness of what you are trying to achieve. Try leaving a card in each room with your sustainable practices and ask guests to contribute to your efforts.

Without guests’ co-operation, it will be very difficult to make valuable contributions to the environment, so do everything you can to make it as easy as possible for them. If you want to reduce energy usage, ask them to turn out the lights when they leave. If you want to reduce water consumption, as your guests to think about how often they request laundry, and use low-flush toilets in each room.

The hospitality sector has the opportunity to set a benchmark for consumers on how to implement more sustainable practices in their everyday life. Although people are aware of the impact certain practices can have on the environment, there is still that expectation of ‘one night of luxury won’t hurt’ when it comes to the splurging of a night away.

But image having a recycling bin in the hotel room – this could start to embed the idea that sustainability is an everyday norm and should be treated as such. Although, for that particular guest, it’s ‘just one night’ – when you consider that there are approximately 874,000 hotel rooms in the UK – all those ‘one nights’ can cost our environment heavily.

Sustainability in practice 

One hospitality company that is committed to responsible and sustainable travel and tourism is Hilton. Every year, Hilton publish a report that highlights their efforts to the United Nations’ sustainable development goals, which include clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, and responsible consumption and production.

In 2018, the company had distributed 9.6 million bars of soap to 127 countries, and launched a brand standard to remove the use of plastic straws, stir sticks and cocktail picks from all hotel operations. Additionally, in the last 11 years, they have reduced water consumption by 22%, energy consumption by 22%, and carbon emissions by 30%.

A huge organisation making such valuable contributions to the environment sets a precedent for all hospitality and leisure companies to implement sustainable practices. In 2017, the number of consumers who wanted ecological travel experiences was predicated to grow by 39%. This figure is only going to increase in the years to come – so businesses need to prioritise their eco practices, and fast.

Reed specialises in recruiting professionals in the hospitality and leisure industry. Speak to a consultant today, or find your local office. 

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