One of the industries which was most severely impacted by COVID-19 shutdowns is the hospitality industry. However, as traffic is starting to pick up in several areas of the world, many hotels are reviving. However, the goal of healing cannot just be returning to “normal.” The travel industry has undergone lasting upheaval. Both business and leisure travelers now have different demands and objectives. Sustainability is now more important than ever in both markets, not just when it comes to carbon emissions. The hospitality industry has a special chance to lead on sustainability across all ESG dimensions—environmental, social, and governance—and integrate it into the foundation of the way the industry operates. The industry participants who satisfy their clients’ requests for more environmentally friendly travel solutions will prosper.
Every industry has to adjust in the shadow of COVID-19, but the hospitality industry can stand out by offering travelers products and services that make the planet better, not just bringing guests back to the same deals as before the pandemic. It should be an opportunity to innovate and develop a new kind of hospitality that meets the needs of both its customers and the planet.
Why Sustainability in Hospitality Matters
Sustainability in the hospitality industry is becoming increasingly important because of the need to reduce environmental impacts – such as greenhouse gas emissions caused by energy consumption – and to ensure ethical working practices. The hospitality sector is one of the world’s largest contributors to environmental and social harm. From stressful working conditions to energy-intensive processes to air and water pollution and depletion of resources, these impacts are part of the hospitality industry’s reality – and they’re only getting worse as the industry expands.
Sustainability in hospitality matters because it is an opportunity to make a positive impact on the industry’s functioning, both environmentally and socially. The positive impacts range from reducing energy consumption and waste to improving working conditions and creating an improved sense of community. The hospitality industry can take a lead in tackling environmental issues. Hotels can take steps to reduce their carbon footprint by using renewable energy sources, using efficient heating and cooling systems, reducing water consumption, recycling more, and using more environmentally friendly materials in construction can also improve their reputation and attract new customers.
Sustainability Trends and Initiatives in the Hospitality Industry
Automation technologies can help the hospitality industry reduce costs, increase efficiency and become more sustainable. Automation can help streamline manual processes such as energy management, lighting control, and other tenant and building operations. Automation can also be used to identify trends that could lead to improved energy efficiency and better guest experiences. Automation can also be used in creating a more sustained and efficient guest experience in aspects such as check-in/check-out, invoicing, paperless services, and much more. This can be achieved by the use of online booking systems and the introduction of digital keycards, which replace traditional physical room keys.
Adopt a Sustainability-Focused Supply Chain Policy
Hotels must begin to assess their suppliers and vendors and make sure they are in alignment with their sustainability goals. This includes looking at their manufacturing processes and how they source their materials. Hotels should also investigate their suppliers’ working conditions and explore ways to help them become more sustainable. Furthermore, they can create partnerships with hotels with similar sustainability goals and leverage those partnerships to achieve their objectives.
Hotels can also create a sustainable business model by incorporating sustainability initiatives and strategies into all aspects of their operations. This can include energy-efficient lighting, water conservation, waste reduction, green cleaning systems, and more. Hotels should also invest in renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and geothermal. In order to truly be sustainable, hotels should monitor their progress and continue to make adjustments as necessary to ensure they are staying on track with their sustainability goals.
Reduce water consumption
Another resource that needs to be appropriately maintained is water. Water is used extensively by hotels for a variety of purposes, including housekeeping, washing, swimming pools, irrigation, cooking, cleaning, and more. Depending on the hotel type and services, estimates place daily water usage per room at between 100 and 400 gallons; on average, water makes up around 10% of the utility bill for hotels. Water consumption is a major issue in the hospitality industry, especially in areas with dwindling water supplies or a lack of access to clean water. Water conservation should be a top priority in the hospitality industry.
Hotels should invest in efficient water fixtures and systems, use water-saving technologies such as rainwater harvesting and greywater reuse systems, and use recycled water for landscaping and other non-consumptive uses. Hotels can also encourage guests to take shorter showers and limit the use of towels and linens.
Hotels can also partner with other organizations in the community to promote conservation and sustainability. For example, hotels can work with local water utilities to install meters in hotel rooms and provide guests with information about water conservation and sustainability initiatives. The hospitality industry can also help by creating more sustainable menus by reducing food waste, educating guests on sustainable food habits, and sourcing local food.
Go Local and Sustainable Food and Beverages
Locally-sourced products, from seasonal fruits and vegetables to locally-produced meats and cheese can help reduce transport emissions and provide a more sustainable solution for the hospitality industry. Purchasing local food products also helps strengthen connections between the hotel and local farmers and producers, creating a mutually beneficial relationship in the long term. Hotels can also use local ingredients to create sustainable and delicious meals for their guests.
The hospitality industry is under increasing pressure from customers to offer more sustainable food and beverage options. Sustainable food and beverage includes local sourcing, organic and sustainable ingredients, and reducing food waste. Hotels can also adopt green cleaning practices, and source cleaning products with eco-friendly ingredients addition, hotels should focus on increasing the use of renewable energy sources and reducing their dependence on traditional energy sources. Furthermore, hotels can make sure that their suppliers and vendors are sustainable and ethically sourced, and that they are aware of their carbon footprint. With these sustainability initiatives in place, the hospitality industry can ensure that they are providing a sustainable experience for their guests.
Implement Sustainability Education Initiative
Hotel operators should also invest in education initiatives to make their guests more aware of the effects of their decisions and behaviors on the environment. Hotels can use in-room pamphlets, instructional videos, hotel staff training, or even social media campaigns to raise awareness about sustainability issues. In addition, hotel staff should be trained to be mindful of environmental and social impacts throughout the facility. This can include simple steps such as providing reusable items, composting in the kitchens, and promoting eco-friendly cleaning products.
In addition to using green materials for construction and renovation projects, hotels should take steps to improve the energy efficiency of their facilities by investing in efficient HVAC systems, efficient lighting, and other green building practices. Such investments can help the hotel save money on energy costs and improve indoor air quality.
These are some of the main trends and initiatives for sustainable hospitality that hotels and other businesses in the industry should consider. By embracing these initiatives, the hospitality industry can make a real difference in the environment and in the lives of its customers. Sustainability is no longer a choice but a necessity; it is a way to ensure the long-term success of the industry.
Facts and Figures About Sustainability in The Hospitality Industry
Let’s look at the numbers! shall we. The hospitality industry is one of the largest contributors to food waste. Studies show that the hospitality industry wastes up to 4.8 million tons of food each year. That’s enough food to feed 10 million people. According to the US Department of Energy, hotels account for around 11% of the commercial sector’s total energy consumption. Meanwhile, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) estimates that hotel guests leave the lights on for an average of 30 minutes a day, wasting nearly 2 million tons of precious resources every year.
The hospitality industry is one of the largest water consumers in the world, using up to 400 gallons of water per room per day. By investing in water conservation methods, such as more efficient fixtures and appliances, gray water reuse/recycling, and rainwater harvesting, hotels can reduce their water consumption by up to 35%. Furthermore, carbon emissions from the hospitality industry have been estimated to represent around 10% of the global total emissions. Hotels can reduce their emissions by investing in renewable energy sources, energy efficiency practices, and carbon offsetting strategies.
In a Nutshell
The good news is that the hospitality industry is already taking steps toward sustainability. Increasingly, hotels are becoming aware of their environmental and social impact and are taking measures to reduce waste and energy consumption. By making sustainability a priority, hotels can save money, reduce their environmental footprint, and create a better experience for their guests. With travelers now more conscious and informed about the choices they make, it is urgent that the hospitality industry takes the necessary steps to ensure a sustainable future.
Evidently enough, sustainability has become a must-have for businesses, and the hospitality industry is no exception. Hotels and resorts looking to provide top-notch services for their guests must take into account resource conservation and the environment. By implementing measures such as local sourcing, sustainable menus, green cleaning, and energy efficiency within their facilities, hotels can create a more sustainable experience for both their guests and the environment. Implementing education programs and communicating about the measures taken to their guests can help create a sense of responsibility in their visitors, further contributing to the sustainability of the hospitality industry.