Improving hotel sustainability is one of the greatest challenges the hospitality industry faces now. There are four main axes to guide your decision: environmental and economic impact, social responsibility and cultural awareness. What we want to say is that a sustainable hotel has a smaller carbon footprint, a better cost-efficiency ratio and, thus, more profit. At the same time, customers tend to prefer companies with a sense of social responsibility, which means your brand can also benefit from this.
In general terms, improving hotel sustainability relies on three changes: decreasing water consumption, saving power and reducing waste. Programs to reuse towels and robes, as well as light and movement sensors, were the first steps towards sustainability and are already industry standards — but they are not enough. These are some suggestions you might want to take in to improve your hotel’s sustainability:
1. Utilise Rainwater
If your hotel has gardens (or even a golf course), using rainwater is the best way to maintain your green spaces well-kept. Storing rainwater in tanks to be used later on for watering plants avoids the misuse of potable water. Plus it decreases your environmental impact during the dry months.
2. Prefer local and seasonal produce
Bananas from Costa Rica, Uruguayan meat, South African hake… Of course, you have tried all these foods already, but have you imagined how shipping them across the Atlantic pollutes its waters? A good way to reduce your hotel’s carbon footprint is to work towards menus that feature local and seasonal products. You can even turn this into a visiting card — after all, nobody travels to eat McDonald’s, right?
3. Avoid disposable products
From glasses and plastic cutlery to the disposables you leave for every guest in their room to plastic water bottles… How many tons of plastic are you using per month in your hotel, if you must be honest? Whenever possible, replace them with glass bottles or washable materials (such as bamboo, for example) and finally reduce waste at your hotel.
4. Don’t throw leftovers away
Between breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you’re likely to end up with plenty of leftover food. Instead of throwing them into the garbage, consider investing in a composting machine where you can turn leftovers and peels into fertilizer for your hotel gardens and green spaces. If your hotel doesn’t need it, consider finding a partner, such as a city council, that might use it for parks and help your local community.
5. It’s time to change the key cards
Most hotels use key cards for each room. Usually they are made of plastic (in fact, most are made of PVC). So as to use less plastic in your hotel, we strongly suggest that you find more ecological materials, such as wood or bioplastic, which comes from used plastic bottles and biomass itself.
6. Go paper-free
Invoices, worker’s notes to their co-workers, internal requests, orders… We don’t need to remind you how many reams of paper you’re using per day. This is why we recommend using something much more efficient and ecological: smart software that can store every note and every reminder, instead of a paper that — you know — might end up lost somewhere.
7. Prefer natural, eco-friendly cleaning products
Whether you’re looking for fabric detergents or cleaning products for rooms and common areas, try to find natural, eco-friendly products. These cleaning products use natural ingredients and less chemicals, which means they are less toxic to people and less harmful to the environment. Everyone wins!