Natural resources are in limited supply. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability are becoming increasingly important topics across all industries. In the hospitality industry, where work happens 24/7 and natural resources are used up at a high rate, change needs to occur. If you are ready to make your hotel business more eco-friendly, here are 10 steps you can take in 2017.
How often do you print information, maps, receipts, agendas and other information for your guests? While some paper use is necessary, sometimes you can eliminate this by communicating through a video wall, hand-held tablet or kiosk. Instead of paper maps, install kiosks around your facility that will point guests in the direction of the conference hall or an exit. Use screens to showcase speaker bios or agendas, rather than handbills.
How many bottles of shampoo and conditioner does your hotel go through every day? While those bottles are recyclable, do you really think your guests are taking the time to recycle? Instead, install attractive dispensers in the shower area to give your guests the toiletries they need, without the high waste of plastic bottles.
By the year 2030, estimates indicate water scarcity will be a global problem, with demand for water exceeding supply by 40 percent. In the typical 300-room hotel, 60,000 gallons of water are used every single day. Most hotel management can cut down on facility water use, with savings as high as 50 percent per guest per night, with some simple changes. One of these is to stop changing towels and bedding daily, which means more laundry to do. Instead, inform guests that they can request towel or bedding changes, if needed, but that the bedding or towels will simply be reused if no request is made.
When you need to remodel your facility, consider any local non-profits that could use the items you no longer need. Carpeting that is in good shape, furniture and fixtures can all be reused, keeping them out of the landfill.
Car exhaust contributes to global warming and dangerous emissions, yet your guests need a way to get to your facility. Learn how guests can travel to your destination, then make it easy for them to access public transportation by providing a shuttle service. Advertise public transportation on your website and in your in-room pamphlets to encourage guests to use it.
When guests or event attendees ask where you recommend they eat, instruct staff to recommend places they can walk to, if possible. If your area's walkability score is high, advertise this when marketing your facility.
Guests and attendees typically will recycle if it's easy, but they aren't going to go out of their way to throw their bottle into the recycle bin. Make it easy by placing recycling bins in many locations around the property. If your facility is hotel, include recycling containers in the guest rooms as well as public areas.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification shows that your building is resource efficient. By becoming LEED certified, you show your guests that you are doing what is necessary to ensure your facility is as energy efficient as possible, from the initial building to the everyday operations of your facility. Today, LEED-certified hotels can be found on five continents, 31 countries and 40 states in the United States.
Finally, ask your guests to do their part to make your hotel or conference center more energy efficient. Signs by the light switch asking for them to turn off lights, signage explaining your towel and bedding policies and posters advocating recycling can all prompt guests to make the right decisions while visiting your facility.
In order to preserve natural resources, the hospitality industry needs to step up. These changes are fairly simple, but can have a big impact on the sustainability of the hospitality and tourism industries. If you are in a hotel management role or are pursuing a degree in hospitality management, make a commitment that 2017 is the year you will embrace these eco-friendly practices.