October 18, 2022
How Do You Encourage Guests to be Green?
Sustainable travel is not only a rapidly rising trend but an important necessity in this day and age. According to a report by Booking.com, about 72% of travellers believe that the time to act is now and it starts by making responsible choices to ensure the planet is safe for the present and future generations. As a hotel or resort owner/ manager, you cannot be left behind in the current trend of sustainable tourism, but what initiatives should your hotel adopt? This post digs deeper into the concept of sustainable tourism to demonstrate what it is and highlight some of the best initiatives you can encourage guests to go green.
What is Sustainable Tourism?
According to the UN World Tourism Organisation (WTO) and the United Nations Development Program (UNEP), this is a type of tourism that takes full account of both current and future environmental, social, and governance impacts to address the needs of all stakeholders, such as visitors, communities, the industry, and environment.
Sustainable tourism is hinged on the realisation that the environment, visitors, communities, and businesses are all interdependent. Therefore, how hotels, restaurants, and resorts, among other hospitality entities, work should target helping the planet become a better place. A resort that emits waste into the nearby water systems is likely to harm the wildlife that attracts tourists. Ultimately, it might not have visitors!
We must say that the idea of green hotels requires a strategy that is clearly reflected in all areas of operations. So, while planting trees around your hotel is awesome and very helpful in helping sink some carbon emissions, it is not enough. You need to have a plan and clear goals to make travel and tourism more sustainable. To make it even more effective, it is prudent to interweave your plan with actions to encourage guests to go green.
Expert Strategies to Encourage Guests to Go Green
One of the most recommended strategies for making your hotel more sustainable and encouraging guests to go green is cutting down on plastics. In many hotels, there is heavy use of plastics in different areas, such as product packaging, coffee cups, and extra amenities. The problem with plastics is that they end up in the natural systems and take a very long time to degrade. Therefore, consider shifting to more innovative models, such as refill containers for shampoo and washable coffee cups, for guests.
Other methods that green hotels can use to encourage their clients to be more sustainable include:
Change the Menu Offered in Your Hotel
One of the primary goals of hotels and resorts is to provide delicacies that guests will enjoy and gives them a good reason to come back. However, the food you offer can easily make your hotel unsustainable. If the food is sourced from very far, the carbon footprint of the hotel is likely to be very high. Imagine the high quantities of emissions that would be released into the environment to move, say, fruits and vegetables, from South America to Singapore.
To promote sustainable tourism, you should provide local delicacies to visitors. Most of the people coming to Asia will be willing to experience the local menus and learn about the people’s culture. This also implies that you will be able to offer delicacies when they are still fresh compared to sourcing them abroad, where shipping takes weeks or months. The carbon footprints and wastes associated with locally sourced foods will also be pretty low.
Cut Down Water Waste
Although a huge percentage of the planet is made of water, only 3% of it is fresh. Worse still, 2/3 of the freshwater is permanently tucked in inaccessible glaciers. With this little amount available for people to use, about one billion of the world’s population does not have access to clean water. However, it is sad that between 100 and 200 gallons of fresh water are wasted every day for every occupied guest room.
To encourage every travel enthusiast or guest, you should cut down on wastewater from your facility. You can do this in a number of ways. Let's highlight the three most innovative:
- Install intelligent faucets: Unlike standard taps that require you to manually turn them on or off, the intelligent models have a sensor that requires action such as waving to release water. Also, they go off automatically if there is no one using the sink or when left flowing for a long period.
- Use low-flow showers: Most of the water that comes from a showerhead ends up flowing down the drain. Therefore, you can cut down on this waste by installing only low-flow showerheads for the guest rooms.
- Treat and reuse wastewater: Every hotel releases some wastewater, which can become a major source of pollution if it gets into the natural water system. Therefore, you should treat the water and reuse it in your hotel facility. For example, it can be an excellent option for watering plants or landscaping by installing greywater systems.
Provide Visitors with the Option to Go Paperless
When growing up, many people are taught how to recycle some of the things they use. With the realisation that recycling is an integral part of sustainability because it helps to reduce the pressure on natural resources, more visitors will be willing to support recycling. Therefore, green hotels should always increase the guests' paperless options.
To increase guests’ ability to recycle materials, consider providing them with recycle bins where they can put recyclable items. Also, you can provide guests with paperless receipts to ensure they do not have to walk around carrying heaps of receipts. Good options include emails, phone numbers, and biometrics. To make it even more effective, consider going digital with notebooks and local tour guides instead of printed papers.
When you take such initiatives, do not fail to emphasise the focus on sustainable tourism in your marketing. This alone could win your hotel more clients, both individual and corporate, compared to other initiatives because more people prefer sustainable approaches.
Adopt Sustainable Practices in Housekeeping
From cleaning products to garbage management in guest rooms, a lot of work goes into keeping a hotel in pristine condition. Therefore, this is an excellent area to cut costs and implement more sustainable practices. So, how do you encourage guests to go green with these activities?
First, you should request visitors to opt-out of the laundry charges on their booking sheets. This would work excellently if their travel plans indicate they will stay for several days or an entire holiday. To make the request even friendlier, consider installing additional hooks and signage in the bathroom to remind guests to only use what they require.
As a hotel, you should also contract only sustainable cleaning companies. For example, you should consider working with a cleaning company that uses the latest vacuum technology and only use water for cleaning when absolutely necessary. This will be crucial in helping you to cut down on water use, energy-related bills and reduce pollution.
Automate the Lighting and Heating Systems of Your Hotel
One of the methods used by hotels to cut power bills is requesting guests to always switch off the power and HVAC system when not in use. However, this method is likely to yield little if guests fail to read the signs or forget about the message altogether. A better idea is to use an automated energy management system.
- Lighting and HVAC Control
The automatic energy control system works with a network of sensors and thermostats that help to turn the lighting and HVAC system off when not in use. For example, if a guest checks out of the room and forgets to switch off the lamp, the automated system will detect and switch it off. The system also notes when the guest is back and switches the lamps on.
When it comes to the HVAC of your hotel, the automated energy management system uses advanced programs that note the guests’ preferred room temperatures. Therefore, it ensures that the preferred level is not surpassed. This means that the guest will not have to keep adjusting the preferred temperature when returning to the room after a long day, perhaps site seeing in the neighbourhood. Also, it helps to reduce the energy bill by only using the HVAC system when necessary.
- Improve the Efficiency of the HVAC System
One of the greatest ways to improve the efficiency of the HVAC system is by installing CONTINEWM®. CONTINEWM® is a net made of a special ceramic that naturally emits specific infrared rays. These unique infrared rays can break down clusters of water molecules present in the air. This allows the AC unit to reach the desired temperature faster and reduces the load on the compressor so that it can work more efficiently, consuming less energy. CONTINEWM® works by eliminating electrostatic charges that cause resistance to airflow into the HVAC system. It also helps to clear bad odours, and your guests will enjoy every moment of the stay. So, make sure to mention the innovative technology to your guests, and you will be surprised to see more visitors supporting the idea.
Remember that CONTINEWM® is pretty easy to install, inexpensive and durable. Also, it has very low maintenance costs because it is easy to access and clean only with a wet piece of cloth. CONTINEWM® has a lifetime warranty, therefore, it can be used for many years to come. No modifications are required for the AC unit or for electricity to be switched off during installation. Simply install CONTINEWM® nets above the filter at the air return of the AC unit and it is ready for use. If your hotel uses an HVAC system, CONTINEWM® will come in handy in helping you strengthen the concept of sustainable tourism.
Every green hotel should identify good sustainable practices and identify ways to get its guests involved. As we have demonstrated in this post, there are multiple strategies for green hotels to encourage visitors to act more sustainably. As for the hotel owners, adopting a sustainable, proven, and effective energy-saving solution like installing CONTINEWM® in their AC units will not only save them a significant amount in their electric bills, but they are also paving the way to a greener path of doing business.
Remember to always review the strategy and be innovative because there is always a way to improve the current strategies for better results. You should also follow and work together with international organisations, such as Climate Fresk, for further support and building of new skills in sustainability management.