Hotel Sustainability in the Spotlight on Earth Day

Sustainable hotel companies help care for the planet by consuming fewer resources and avoiding toxic waste. Focusing on ways to run more efficient hotels must take priority.
Hotel Sustainability in the Spotlight on Earth Day

Smart hospitality companies today are prioritizing sustainability, leaning in on optimizing resources and eliminating waste to building a better future. A sustainable hotel takes care of the planet by consuming fewer resources and avoiding toxic waste.  

A new generation of travelers wants to patronize properties that align with their values and are willing to pay more for sustainable offerings. Deloitte's "Future of Travel and Tourism" report highlights the imminent transformation of the travel sector, driven by younger demographics with sustainability concerns. As boomers gradually exit the travel scene, millennials and Gen Z are projected to dominate, comprising nearly 90% of trips by 2030, and this shift necessitates a reevaluation of strategies as younger travelers prioritize convenience and sustainability. 

To cater to these evolving preferences, hotels are adapting their offerings and investing in innovative strategies. Lifestyle brands have been launched to target younger demographics, while operators are focusing on sustainability initiatives to appeal to environmentally conscious travelers. 

Protecting Future Investments 

Experts suggest that environmental considerations are now integral to investment strategies as well, according to Hospitality Investor. Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors are increasingly influencing decision-making processes, with ESG officers playing a pivotal role in transactions and due diligence. 

Some predict that in the next five years, understanding ESG will become a core part of hospitality and asset management roles. Institutional investors are demanding greater ESG compliance, necessitating a focus on certifications, net-zero pathways, and EU taxonomy compliance in due diligence processes. 

However, there remains a challenge in tracking the social element of ESG in the hospitality industry, according to Hospitality Investor. Technology platforms can play a role in supporting workforce well-being. Major hotel brands like Marriott and Hilton offer employee well-being programs, while Accor, Hyatt, IHG, and Choice Hotels focus on diversity and inclusion through analytics and training modules.  

Brands Taking Action 

Accor Chairman and CEO Sébastien Bazin spoke candidly last week at the International Hotel Investment Forum about environmental concerns across hospitality, according to Hotel News Now coverage. The global hotel industry has taken some preliminary steps to addressing environmental, social and governance issues, but there's plenty of room to grow, Bazin said.  

“An occupied [hotel] room in the Western world consumes 500 liters of water a night. This includes the bathrooms. In Sri Lanka [and] South America, populations consumer 80 to 120 liters. We need to reduce this by at least 25%, and we know how to do it,” he said. 

Credibility in Sustainability 

For hotels looking to be recognized and certified for their sustainability actions, the American Hotel & Lodging Association and the Hotel Association of Canada have teamed up on Green Key Global, a sustainability certification body for hotels, according to Hotel Dive 

Green Key Global’s certification criteria require hotels to undergo an assessment and audit of their performance in energy and water conservation, land use, hazardous and solid waste management and indoor air quality. Green Key Global’s certification is designed to “give credibility to sustainability initiatives properties are already undertaking,” while providing guidance for continued improvement. Partners include Accor, Choice Hotels International, Hyatt, IHG Hotels & Resorts, Marriott International and others.  

Reduce Hotel Waste 

For hotel operators, focusing on the myriad ways we can run our hotels more efficiently must take priority. In the back office alone, by adopting digital document management and removing the file storage room and paper transportation process, hotels can achieve an effective and measurable environmental impact. 

Several companies that have adopted a paperless night audit compliance process through Otelier DigiAudit have already seen measurable impacts on reducing the number of byproducts created in the printing of nightly property-level reports and documents. To learn more, download, “Your Guide to Centralizing Data and Night Audit Reports in the Cloud.” 

Environmental concerns and evolving consumer preferences are driving change around sustainability in the hospitality industry. Smart hospitality companies will adapt their offerings and invest in innovative strategies to cater to environmentally conscious travelers.  

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