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It is with no surprise that sustainability is a part of this year’s top trends in the hospitality industry. The topic has been talked about for a few years now and is, today, more relevant than ever. With guests’ expectations changing and turning towards an eco-friendlier lifestyle, hotels must adapt to those needs and expectations. According to Booking, “almost everyone wants travel to be more sustainable”. Indeed, their latest report on Sustainable Travel in 2021 shows that 80% of travelers intend to choose a sustainable accommodation, and 73% of travelers are more likely to book a stay if the accommodation has some sustainability initiatives. Therefore, it is crucial for hotels to implement more sustainable practices.
But how, you may ask? Sustainability is a complex topic and to create an impact, you cannot simply ask your guests to re-use their towels in the bathroom. It has to be bigger than that and it has to involve the physical infrastructure: hotels are now being built with a real sustainable impact. Of course, we are not asking you to re-build your hotel, but going step-by-step in your change towards a more sustainable facility.
Changes to Implement in Your Hotel To Make It More Sustainable
Most places are now almost completely plastic free. This practice has been implemented a few years ago and started with replacing plastic straws. Many alternatives are available such as biodegradable plastics, stainless steel, bamboo straws or even no straws at all. Careful though, depending on the drink, it is not always practical for the guest, and they might ask for a straw. However, it is the best solution available as some alternatives to plastic still have an impact on the environment.
But straws are not the only problem, water bottles, toiletry and all sorts of containers are to be banned. A solution to replace water bottles is to filter tap water and make it available for everyone so they can refill their stainless-steel bottles at any time. Or even, create your own stainless-steel or glass bottles to sell. As for toiletries, many hotels are now providing guests with biodegradable amenities, it has way less impact than single-use plastic sets. And for shampoo, refillable dispensers are a great alternative.
Sadly, those are not the only products that contain plastic, it is everywhere! Fortunately, a lot of biodegradable options are available for all sorts of products such as trash bags, you just need to be careful with what you choose.
Eliminate Unnecessary Paper Consumption
One thing that the pandemic did well was reduce paper consumption. Instead of a printed menu, we would find a QR code with all the needed information. And that was also the case for a lot of other services. No more paper, just scan the code.
How many changes does your menu go through in a week? How many times do you print a flyer to make sure it looks good? How often do you have to re-print everything because you noticed a typo? You probably don’t even count anymore. Hotels are known to consume a lot of paper; whether it is to print receipts, newspapers, menus, it is a lot.
The pandemic has introduced us to QR codes. If many facilities used that technology before, it was not very well-known or at least, not in the hotel industry. But don’t stop at only using QR codes, use other digital solutions like e-mails. Instead of printing receipts, send them by e-mail, and have your guests sign documents online instead of printing them. TV screens are also a great way to display information rather than printing flyers.
Reduce food waste
Did you know that the hospitality industry creates 18% of the annual food waste? That is a lot of food. But don’t worry, there are many solutions to reduce that waste. One of the most important being to make your F&B employees aware of that issue. Also, analyze your operations and try to understand where that waste comes from. Is it because you serve buffet breakfast, and a lot goes to waste? Or maybe is it from room service? Once the source is identified, it is easier to control.
However, even if you’re measuring and controlling everything, there will still be some waste. A great way to save it is by serving it in your employees’ cafeteria. Of course, we are not talking about giving them half a bread or half a steak. But if you have a breakfast buffet, it is more than likely that you will end the service with some pancakes, eggs, or sausages left. Therefore, not only does it prevent the food from going to waste, but it also benefits your employees.
Other solutions include training your chefs into cooking with all the parts of a product, simply compost all the food that remains or give it to farms as an exchange for other products.
Grow own products or buy local
Not only is this a great option to reduce plastic, but it is also a great way to consume locally. Growing your own vegetables, fruits, herbs, or any other product, is a real added value to your hotel. However, not every hotel has the privilege to own large gardens to produce their own products. But buying from local farms is almost as good. Travelers show a real interest in consuming local and mentioning that on the menu, is a big win for you, but most importantly, for the environment.
More vegetarian or vegan options
Let’s stay on the food topic. Meat has been proven to have an enormous impact on the environment. More people are sensitive to that and are turning towards more plant-based meals. Restaurants are now serving vegetarian or even vegan options as it has a lot of demands. By implement more of those food options, your hotel will attract a whole new clientele and show its involvement in the environment.
Ethically produced products
Yes, local is better, but unfortunately, you cannot always find what you are looking for locally. If you need certain products from abroad, you have to make sure the producers you work with have ethical practices. It is important to see whether they have good work conditions and the materials used are sustainable. If you’re not convinced by a supplier, a great way to see if they use ethical practices is by visiting them or by making sure they are a part of the Fair-Trade Federation. It is very important that your hotel and your producers trust each other.
Lastly, a more expensive solution for your journey towards a sustainable hotel would be to implement solar panels to generate power. We mentioned at the beginning the fact that sustainable practices need to involve the physical infrastructure to have a bigger impact. Well, solar panels are a great way to change a part of the physical infrastructure without having to re-build a whole new hotel.
Solar panels are a great way to manage how your hotel consumes energy, gas, and water. And even though they are a big budget, they will help your hotel save a lot of money in the end by also helping the environment.
These few ways to make your hotel more sustainable are a great starting point if you do not know where to start your sustainable journey. It might be costly at first to make all those changes towards an eco-friendly hotel, but most solutions end up saving you money while creating a real impact. Of course, these are only a handful of solutions, there are so many more ways to help the environment.
- EHL Insights (2022). 2022 Top Hospitality Industry Trends.
- Hospitalitynet (2022, 02 11). 10 Hotel Trends to Watch in 2022
- Sustainability Booking (2022). Sustainable Travel in 2021: What we Learned
- HotelTechReport (2022, 01 17). 100 Hotel Trends You Need to Watch in 2022 & Beyond
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