June 27, 2022

How can a Hotel be Sustainable?

The hospitalitiy industry is another industry starting to adopt sustainable practices. If you have a hotel, this article if for you as we delve deeper into how to make a hotel more sustainable.

Brice Degeyter
Brice Degeyter
Bizsu founder

The earth is drying at a faster rate than previously imagined. Indeed, everyone is feeling the repercussions. Irregular rainfall, extremely high temperatures in summer, dry water bodies, sinking coastal lands, and melting glaciers are only a few impacts. This list is never-ending. The truth is that if we do not act right away, our planet is racing fast towards a catastrophic end. 

Many industries are adopting sustainable practices to help save the environment, and the hospitality industry is also following the same trends. If you have a hotel, this is an awesome opportunity to also make a mark in helping save the planet. So, how do you make your hotel more sustainable

Keep reading to learn about the best sustainability practices to consider for your hotel. 

What is an Eco-friendly Hotel?

This is a type of hotel that works to reduce its impact on the environment and community by adopting the best sustainable practices in service, maintenance, design, and supply chain. The idea of sustainability can be traced back to 1992 when the United Nations held its first conference on environment and development. During this meeting, the UN member states agreed that you cannot separate the environment from development. 

As a hotel, you have to adopt strategies that help to optimize operations and returns without compromising the ability of future generations to enjoy planetary resources. The lovely thing, as we are going to see in a short moment, is that sustainable operations come with a long list of benefits. Therefore, do not be left behind in this important journey because the planet needs you.

Common Misconceptions/ Myths about Sustainability to Avoid 

We must say that a number of investors and leaders have pressed the pause button for their sustainability goals because of myths. It is time to debunk these myths and unshackle you to take the right steps towards sustainability. Here are some of the myths: 

Responsible Travel is Only Applicable in Rural Areas 

This is a lie, and you should not fall for it. The truth about the challenges facing the planet today is that they cut across all areas, from the cities to rural areas. Indeed, emissions released into the air, say, by companies in the United States, will be felt as far as Singapore in Asia, thousands of kilometers away. Therefore, every hotel facility, whether in a rural or urban setting, must adopt sustainability to help save the planet. 

A Sustainable Practice in Hotel is Only About People 

This argument is thrown around by people with a poor conceptualization of the concept of sustainability. For your hotel to be considered sustainable, it must factor in the people, processes, supply chain, and the environment. To get it right, always ask whether the action, process, or strategy is responsible. 

Sustainability is Expensive and Always Results in Losses

If you have or are planning to open a hotel, this is a common myth that is likely to be thrown your way. It is true that some efforts for sustainability, such as installing new lighting fixtures and energy management systems, require some money, but the gains will be way more. Most companies and hotels that have adopted sustainability practices are able to significantly cut down the cost of operations.

Special Advantages of Running a Sustainable Hotel

The most notable benefit of adopting sustainability is keeping the cost of operations low. Others include: 

  • It is an excellent branding method. Today, more people are looking for sustainable hospitality facilities, such as eco-lodges, green hotels, and eco-friendly resorts, because they provide a non-toxic environment. 
  • Sustainability helps to bridge a hotel with all stakeholders, from customers to investors. This engagement might be all that you need to rapidly grow the facility to the next level. The community can also help to grow your brand. 
  • It provides the satisfaction that you are part of the global efforts helping to address the problems facing the planet. 
  • Very effective in growing sales and profits for your hotel. 
  • Embracing sustainability is good for compliance with set laws and policies. For example, you will find it pretty easy to meet the standards set for waste management and emissions in Singapore. 
  • It can help your company to stand out and gain a competitive advantage against competitors in the market. 
  • It is an excellent way to retain staff because they feel valued by the strategies adopted by the company for sustainability.

The Best Sustainable Practices to Consider for Your Hotel 

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, hotels on the planet account for one percent of the global emissions. The percentage is expected to go up as the demand for hospitality services increases. This is why you should pick the right sustainability practice(s) and employ it to keep your facility more effective, compliant, and profitable. 

Here are some of the best practices: 

Create a Green Team 

We must say that implementing a sustainability practice requires some expertise. Therefore, it is important to create a team that comprises experts plus your employees to help steer the hotel’s sustainability agenda. This team will be able to review the current status of the company and identify the best strategies for promoting sustainability. For example, efforts such as cutting down carbon footprint and ESG sustainability reporting require a clear plan. Furthermore, a great way to engage your team would be through participating in  Climate Fresk. These are an IPCC-based interactive workshop designed to clearly communicate the causes, consequences, and complexities of climate change. This highly-effective platform is one of the best and fastest ways to understand the big picture and the main idea of climate change. To learn more or book a workshop for your team: https://bizsu.co/sustainability-workshops 

Go Paperless 

Did you know that thousands of trees are felled every day to make papers? According to the Food and Agricultural Foundation (FAO), about 80,000 to 160,000 are cut down every day to process paper. If you use paper in your hotel, perhaps for memos, ads, or other purposes, it implies that the facility is part of the entities promoting the cutting down of trees. Therefore, you will have made a huge stride towards sustainability by going paperless. 

COVID-19 pandemic taught us that it is possible to communicate effectively without physical contact. Therefore, you might want to shift to digital methods of communication and only use paper when it is absolutely necessary. This model can also help to cut down paper-related costs with a significant margin. 

Embrace Recycling 

Hotels, like other organizations, generate a lot of waste. Some of the main sources of waste include the kitchen, guest rooms, and offices. The good thing about recycling is that almost everything can be recycled with some creativity. For example, the Green Hotels Association has reported that one of the hotels in Toronto recycles stained tablecloths by making neckties, chef's aprons, laundry bags, and napkins.

When creating a recycling plan, make sure to include wastewater treatment to reduce the risk of polluting the ecosystem. The best option is recycling water and other wastes on site, but you might also want to work with specialized recycling facilities for other types of waste. 

Plant Vegetation in Your Hotel and Away

One way of removing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHG) is by planting trees. There are two ways of promoting this. An excellent sustainability practice to help sink more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is planting trees around the hotel. With live and potted plants in the entire hotel, you also achieve the following: 

  1. Better aesthetic appeal for your hotel. 
  2. Plants help to keep the hotel rooms and facilities cool. Isn’t offering special dishes or hotel services under a tree awesome? 
  3. Helps with air purification. 

You might also want to support greening initiatives through communities working on afforestation projects in Singapore or away. If this will be part of your sustainability reporting for stakeholders, make sure to accurately capture the plan and results.

Cut Down Energy Consumption in Your Hotel 

Cutting down energy consumption is another useful sustainability practice that you should consider. This is one of the most recommended methods of cutting down carbon footprint because GHG emissions are mainly associated with energy use. Indeed, there are a number of methods that you can employ to cut down energy. 

The most recommended method is improving the efficiency of the hotel’s HVAC system with Continewm. The device works by clearing electrostatic disturbance to help make airflow smooth. Continewm is installed on the front part section of the heat exchanger, where it helps to clear positive charges to increase the efficiency of the airflow and reduce the energy consumption of the HVAC. 

Other methods of cutting down energy consumption in your hotel to cut down sustainability are: 

  1. Using an energy management system that switches off lamps when no one is in the hotel rooms or office. 
  2. Installing energy-saving LED lamps, which use 75% less energy compared to standard incandescent lighting fixtures.
  3. Shift to solar energy to power some parts or the entire hotel if possible. 

The strategies we have listed in this post can help your hotel to operate more sustainably. Remember that you should have a good plan, clear with well-set objectives for achieving sustainability in your hotel. Again, one sustainability practice might not be ample to demonstrate the hotel’s commitment to eco-friendly operations. The best thing is to identify several strategies, such as using Continewm nets and cutting down waste.