Do you run a hotel business and you seek ways to reduce cost and increase efficiency? If YES, here are 10 undisputed reasons why your hotel should go green.
Going green refers to a way of life that contributes towards maintaining the natural ecological balance in the environment while also contributing towards preserving the planet, its natural system and its resources.
It is no secret that hotels can be wasteful with the average hotel guest throwing around 2 pounds of paper, plastic, cardboard and cans into the trash on a daily basis. However, consumer needs are always evolving and in recent times, consumers have become more aware and concerned about environmental issues and as a result, the demand for green products and services have continued to grow.
In fact, about 76 percent of travelers say that implementing eco-friendly practices is important in their choice of lodging. On the other hand 46 percent of European business travelers say their company’s environmental policies have a direct impact on their travel.
In a lot of industries, there is a pressure for them to become more environmentally friendly by going green. In the hospitality industry, both large and small organizations have begun to aggressively seek green rankings and certifications for their hotel locations. Here are 10 reasons why hotels should go green:
10 Undisputed Reasons Why Hotels Should Go Green
1. Long term monetary gain
One of the key focuses of green technology is resource efficiency. These technologies reduce resource consumption, which helps the hotel to save money in the long run. For instance, replacing standard incandescent light bulbs with longer-lasting high-efficiency bulbs is fast becoming a very popular way for hotels to reduce their energy bills.
A standard fluorescent bulb uses 60 watts of power, while an light emitting diode (LED) light might use 6 – 8 watts of power to generate the same amount of light (800 lumens). According to a comparison chart by DesignRecycleInc, the typical amount of energy used by 30 standard incandescent bulbs each year is 3,285 kWh. If your energy rate was 10 cents per kilowatt hour, then that would mean that those bulbs cost you $328.50 just to keep the lights on.
On the other hand, the same number of LED lights would only consume about 329 kWh of energy over the course of a year, according to the aforementioned comparison chart. This would mean that at the same energy rate of 10 cents per kilowatt hour, operating the LED lights would only cost $32.90 a year, a tenth the expense.
As an added bonus, your hotel wouldn’t have to replace its lights nearly as often, since LED lights last an average of 50,000 hours to an incandescent bulb’s meager 1,200 hours. That means you would have to pay for parts and labor to replace an incandescent light 41 times before you would have to buy a replacement LED light and have housekeeping replace it.
In conclusion, many green technologies can actually become self-funding by reducing your hotel’s operating costs. There are many other examples of green technologies that help to conserve energy costs, such as water saving laundry technology, solar panels that can be used to lessen your dependence on outside energy, and automated systems that can shut off electronic devices in a room when there are no guests present.
2. To entice more guests
Just as was mentioned previously, consumers are becoming more and more aware of how important it is to protect the environment. Many hotel guests want to stay in a “green” hotel, as it allows them to know that they’re helping to protect the environment. Having a green certification allows hotels to draw these ecologically-minded guests to their locations.
This can help to separate your brand from less eco-friendly hotels. By going green, you’re opening your hotel to an entire segment of the population that you might never have had access to otherwise, helping you grow your brand.
Even among less eco-conscious travelers, the good PR that comes with earning a place on green company ranking lists such as the one published by Newsweek can never hurt. Furthermore, customer loyalty tends to increase once guests have experienced a hotel which has proven a certain level of environmental commitment.
According to a study published in Harvard Business Review, 64% of consumers say that their loyalty to a brand depends on shared values with the business. If you incorporate sustainable values as a core part of your brand, you can use this to win loyal customers who come back for more and refer your hotel to their friends.
3. Meeting New Environmental Regulations
The fact that a lot more guests are becoming more environmentally conscious is not the only factor that contributes to the decision to go green. As the public becomes more sensitive to the earth’s environment, policy makers also take notice, passing new laws and regulations designed to limit pollution.
In some cases, however, new regulations may be passed to contend with a specific emergency. For instance, in California USA, the population has been living with a severe drought for several years. This drought eventually became so severe that the Governor declared a state of emergency, adding new state wide water use restrictions and penalties for violators. Several hotels in the area have turned to new near-waterless laundry technologies for their in-house laundry operations so that they can continue to provide guests with fresh linens.
Although the Governor only asked for a 25 percent reduction in water use, polymer bead-based laundry systems reduce water consumption by up to 80% compared to traditional laundry systems. By employing green technologies and methods, hoteliers can be better prepared for any new upcoming environmental restrictions that may come in the future.
4. A lot of hotels are already embracing it: Just recently, the world’s biggest travel website, TripAdvisor launched its GreenLeaders program (first in the US and Canada, later followed by Europe and the UK), essentially they rated hotels for their environmental credentials.
And when the big hotels start keying into it, then it is worth looking into. But even long before TripAdvisor, there have been plenty of green certification schemes in the industry. Travelife, for example, is a joint initiative endorsed by major travel trade associations and big tour operators such as Thomas Cook, TUI and Kuoni, which awards hotels for meeting important standards.
Other such popular programs include the Green Key eco label in Europe, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) in the US or the Green Tourism Business Scheme in the UK. Traditionally certification programs were used primarily as a tool to improve businesses efficiencies; nowadays they are as much a PR and marketing tool for potential hotel guests.
Going green or becoming environmentally-friendly is now more than a trend and has become part of our culture, affecting individual, local, and corporate initiatives.
Businesses of any size can hardly avoid incorporating an ecological approach in the global strategy. People have become more aware of environmental issues and are themselves, whether they want it or not, having to adopt greener practices in their daily life.
5. It gives you a competitive edge
Hotel chains discovered sustainability as a selling point long ago. Nevertheless, a recent article by a UK newspaper The Guardian, found the boutique-style hotels rather than big chains were truly driving the sustainability trend forward.
Quoted in the newspaper, Willy Legrand, a hotel management university lecturer stated the current best practices are in small boutique hotels, mainly because these are often independently owned and managed, many reflecting their owner’s personality.
Other than product differentiation, a competitive advantage can also be gained from being recognized for your green efforts. Green awards and recognition spreads the news of a hotel’s efforts and attracts new clientele, such as corporations looking to conduct business with socially responsible companies.
6. Reverse the effects of climate change
There’s no denying the massive impact human activity is having on our atmosphere as we are seeing an increase in super storms, rising sea levels and shrinking glaciers. Every day, the emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and other pollutants are pumped into the atmosphere.
These emissions change the balance of gases and cause climate change, global warming and degrade the ozone layer. The only way to reverse these effects is by reducing our emissions. Going green can help to revert the trend of climate change in the world today.
7. Benefit from tax relief schemes
Most countries have put into place financial incentives for companies to promote recycling and environment-friendly business practices. Companies can qualify for free carbon surveys, insulation quotes, etc. Enquiries need to be made to banks and public institutions to know the incentive schemes in place in the local community or in the industry sector to set up energy-savings options or insulation projects – at a better cost.
8. Employee retention
There is no doubt that working for a bigger cause excites employees. A lot of employees would prefer to work in an environment where eco-friendliness is embedded into the corporate culture, it’s a selling-point to attract and retain workers.
9. Brand reputation and publicity: Fostering positive consumer relations through sustainable initiatives generates brand value and improves a company’s image.
10. Greener goods are more humane: Just as materials and energy, all “stuff” requires another common resource: the human kind. If you opt for green and ethical goods, you are often supporting local and global craftsmen and communities. Supporting “Fair Trade” products and fair labor practices ensures that goods from coffee to clothing were not born in a sweatshop.
Sustainability is one of the most crucial global issues facing the world today. Climate change, global warming, air pollution, water conservation, waste management, deforestation, and the loss of bio diversity are some of the pressing issues affecting societies and business operations across the globe.
Here are a few steps that hotel businesses can take in order to go green.
a. Replace disposable plastic coffee pods and bleached paper filters.
b. Replace disposable cups with ceramic or glass: making this switch can get rid of disposable cups especially Styrofoam which contains a lot of toxins and takes a very long time to break down. The guests in the hotel can either take their coffee while they are in their room with glass or ceramic cups or they can fill up their travel mug. You can also take initiative and sell reusable travel mugs.
c. Replace the waste basket in the rooms with trash sorters: you can improve the recycling of products and still conserve the time of your staff by replacing the waste baskets with a simple trash sorting system. You can get a wooden basket with two plastic bins in it.
In one you can label it regular trash while in the other one can be for paper and plastic recyclables. Using this simple technique, your staff do not need to waste their time sorting through the trash because the guests will do it themselves. Also, the guests will get to see for themselves that the hotel is taking an active step towards going green and they will appreciate it.
d. Get rid of toiletries in little plastic bottles: even though toiletries such as shampoos, conditioners, lotions, body wash, hand soap et al look good in small plastic bottles, replacing them with wall dispensers that can be refilled and cleaned from time to time is less expensive and generates less waste.
e. Replace plastic laundry bags with cloth bags which the guests leaves in the hotel room at the end of his or stay there.
f. Switch to a key card system that activates the light and air conditioning: sometimes guests can be careless and forget to switch the light or air conditioning off when the go out. This problem can be tackled by having a key card that when inserted into the wall unit allows the light and air conditioning to be controlled and when the key is removed, the light and utilities are disabled.
g. Have a garden in the hotel: having a garden in the hotel cuts sourcing costs and provides the visual confirmations to guests that some of the food they are enjoying is locally sourced.
h. Save energy: you can do this by;
- Switching to light emitting diode (LED) to reduce electricity use and also reduce carbon foot print
- Educating your employees to turn off lights and turn down heating or air conditioning when a room is not being occupied.
- Installing window films to lower heating and cooling loads and reduce glare in guestrooms.
- Use proper insulation and reflective covering
- Replace old washing machines with water and energy conserving models
i. Clean green: make use of non-toxic cleaners, sanitizers, paints, pesticides et al in the hotel
j. Provide discounts for eco-oriented groups who would like to make use of your hotel for their stay or meetings.
k. Get your guests involved: The guests in a hotel play a very vital role in your sustainability strategy. For instance, the towels, the heating and cooling bills are to a large extent in the control of the guests so it becomes the role of the guests to help put these eco-friendly acts into practice.
However, some guest may not have eco-friendliness in mind. You can encourage them by having small note cards around the room to give them thoughtful reminders about water wastage and electricity use. Apart from the potential funds that can be saved by going green, guests involvement with your hotel practice can also foster a closer, more connected relationship with you and your customer.