August 10, 2022

How Would You Transform the Hotel into a Green Hotel?

Are you a hotelier seeking the best methods of going green? The hospitality industry today must look for sustainable strategies because they are crucial in helping to improve brand perception, cut down the impact on the environment, and keep operating costs low. However, the actions to take for sustainability are never easy to identify and implement.

Brice Degeyter
Brice Degeyter
Bizsu founder
Green Hotel

To be considered sustainable, it is important to avoid simply selecting random actions because it will be considered greenwashing. Instead, sustainability requires the inherent adoption of the core concept into all the structures of your hotel. One thing you need to appreciate about sustainability is that it is a process and not a specific end. Therefore every action should integrate well with the overall objective of the hotel. 

In this post, we take a closer look at the main sustainable practices that you should consider to help transform your hotel into a sustainable facility. 

Why is Sustainability Important?

The primary reason for adopting sustainability is that your hotel becomes part of the global efforts directed at addressing the current problems facing the planet. For example, the world is facing the huge threat of global warming, which is threatening to tear it apart. According to the Paris Agreement, we have to cut down emissions to counter the dangerous phenomenon of global warming. So, everyone must join hands. 

Global tourism alone contributes approximately 8% of the total carbon emissions, according to the Sustainable Travel Organization. Therefore, every hotel has to get involved in pulling down emissions to counter global warming. Other benefits of adopting sustainability in your hotel include: 

  • Sustainability can help your hotel to be more compliant with different legal requirements. 
  • It is an excellent way to build a stronger brand. 
  • Sustainable hotels are able to lower their operating costs and optimize profitability. 
  • Helps to build a satisfied and committed workforce. Staff turnover is also reduced when your hotel operates sustainably. 
  • Crucial in winning more visitors for your hotel. 
  • Makes it easy to build a better connection with stakeholders, such as visitors to investors.

How to Transform Your Hotel into a Sustainable Facility 

Sustainability is not simply a buzzword. Rather, it is a way that hotels and the entire hospitality industry can use to help mitigate impacts from their operations, such as water use, waste management, and energy use. It means making sustainability part of the organization so that its operations are more ethical and responsible. So, let’s highlight some of the sustainable practices that you can adopt to make sustainability more effective and help your hotel reap maximum benefits. 

Understand the Current State of the Hotel by Carrying Out a Review of Its Operations

When we talk about sustainability, it is important to appreciate that you have to start from somewhere. This means that you should review the hotel's design and operations to appreciate the risks and opportunities. If your hotel runs as a company and is listed on the stock market, such as HKEX, NYSE, LSE, or SSE, the capital markets define the nature of the review process to be followed. 

During the review, you need to put more focus on areas such as the hotel’s carbon footprint, waste management, and material use. Explore the impact they are having on the environment. For example, is your hotel's waste being released into the natural waterways? Are you using products that are causing a lot of harm to the environment? 

While still at the review stage, you need to do two more things. One, make sure to involve different stakeholders. This is crucial in order to make them understand what the hotel is doing. The best way to do this is by using different digital platforms and meetings to seek their views on the preferred actions for sustainability

Two, you need to ensure that the whole sustainability focus is driven by the leadership of the hotel. This means that it will become part of the main agenda, just like financial performance and product development. Therefore, every department of the hotel will be extra keen to implement the recommended strategies.

Define the Preferred Areas of Interest and Craft a Plan 

As we indicated earlier, trying to implement sustainability in your organization without a clear plan is likely to get it labeled greenwashing. Therefore, you need a clear strategy. The idea is not to demonstrate that all of a sudden, the hotel is sustainable but to showcase the journey that led to specific achievements. To demonstrate this, let's take the case of carbon footprint.

First, you need to establish the current carbon footprint level. Then, determine the target, such as achieving carbon neutral status within a specific time. Consider something such as 30 years, which means that by 2050, the hotel will be carbon neutral. 

To demonstrate the ability to achieve carbon-neutral status, consider cutting down emissions by about 15% every five years. Next, you should outline the main activities that will drive the results. These could be things such as shifting to solar energy, installing CONTINEWM in your HVAC system, shifting to LED lamps, and using electric vehicles. Then, target to update the stakeholders about the progress. 

Remember that every strategy requires clear funding and the dedication of the committed staff. If you run a big hotel, it might be a good idea to create a unit that will deal with sustainability in the hotel. However, smaller hotels might prefer to use the available departments in the hotel. 

Make Sure to Pick an Appropriate Reporting Model or Framework for Sustainability 

One fact about sustainability is that it requires a lot of commitment and inherent adoption throughout the hotel system. Once you have started the process of sustainability and achieved some significant progress, you have to showcase that to the stakeholders. Therefore, you should identify a good sustainability reporting framework that allows you to capture all the details accurately. 

Sustainability reporting frameworks are used to help hotels, businesses, and institutions stay on course with their efforts. They also make it easy to capture data and create annual reports stakeholders such as visitors, customers, and authorities can look at to appreciate the work. Some of the best sustainability frameworks you should consider for your hotel include:

  • The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). 
  • The Task-force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). 
  • The UN Global Impact. 

Note that if you find the process challenging, it is a good idea to consider working with experts on matters of sustainability. You should also use the right tools to help you learn more about sustainability and its implementation. A good example is Climate Fresk, which can help you to understand more about specific actions and achieve more with the adopted efforts for sustainability. 

Common Sustainable Practices to Consider for Your Hotel

Now, let’s identify specific sustainable practices that you should use to drive sustainability in your hotel. Note that there is no one-fits-all action when it comes to sustainability. Rather, you should implement the activities that will deliver a higher sustainability score for your hotel. 

Educate Your Staff 

When running a hotel, consider employees as green ambassadors. Since they are the ones who work in the kitchen, guide guests and cook food, they are important components in the hotel’s sustainability journey. Therefore, you should train them to implement the selected green policies, be they cutting waste or switching off lamps. 

Training staff is also very useful because employees become part of the drivers as opposed to being passive. Therefore, you are sure of getting new ideas, menus, or other sustainable practices from staff to help the hotel achieve better results.

Reduce Plastic Use in the Hotel 

Most hotels heavily rely on plastic to offer their services. A closer check into every room is likely to reveal heavy use of plastic, such as conditioner bottles and coffee cups. However, this use of plastic contributes to over eight million tons of plastics that find their way into the beautiful oceans. Therefore, you can cut down your negative impact on the environment by reducing the use of plastics. 

The best way to achieve this is by shifting to recyclable items. You might also want to consider refillable cartridges for products such as shampoo that are stocked in a hotel. Most visitors greatly appreciate such efforts for sustainability because they can directly associate with them. 

Change Menu to Local Delicacies 

If you want to attract more eco-travellers, you should consider providing delicious and local organic cuisines. This becomes an excellent way to help visitors interact and learn more about local cultures. Using local food can also help to cut down the carbon footprint, deliver better nutrition and antioxidants. Also, local ingredients are fresher and pollution-free, and they can keep visitors coming back for more. 

Cut Down Energy Use in the Hotel

A big percentage of hotels’ budgets go into meeting energy costs. The bigger challenge is that using fossil fuel, biomass, and internal combustion engines go a long way in raising their carbon footprints. Therefore, you should focus on cutting down energy use to help in two ways: cutting down the cost of operations and reducing your hotel’s carbon footprint.

One of the best ways of reducing carbon footprint is installing CONTINEWM on the front part of the heat exchanger. CONTINEWM helps to clear positive electrostatic charges, reducing resistance to airflow and cutting the energy used by the HVAC system. You should also consider shifting lighting to LED lamps and start using eco-friendly sources like solar. 

This post has demonstrated the journey that you need to follow to make your hotel sustainable. Remember to make the process progressive and maintain the pace until the goals are achieved. Also, appreciate that some costs might be involved, but they will be negligible over the long term. When it comes to promoting sustainability in the hotel industry, do not be left behind.