Let’s talk about People, Planet, and Profit. And how we can maintain a balance. Guests want hotels that are committed to sustainable practices. Hotels are stepping up to the plate and “doing good” for the environment, and business is better because of it. But getting the word out to potential guests? Well…there’s plenty of room for improvement.
Guests Want Sustainable Hotels
Globally, hotels that employ sustainability practices attract more guests than hotels that don’t, and guests are willing to pay a higher price for it. Case in point:
- 73% of travelers would be more likely to choose an accommodation if it has implemented sustainability practices, as stated in a 2021 sustainability report by the digital travel company Booking.com
- In the US and UK, 88% of consumers want brands to help them improve their environmental and social footprint. This according to Futerra, an organization that helps companies institute and then promote their sustainability practices,
- A sample of LEED-certified hotels in the United States had a higher ADR (average daily rate) ($169 versus $160) and RevPAR (Revenue Per Available Room) ($110 versus $109) over non-LEED-certified hotels, a Cornell University study found.
Fun fact from the sustainability desk of this English major: “Single-Use” was declared the 2018 Word of the Year by the Collins Dictionary.
Travelers Demand and Hospitality Responds
What action has the industry taken in response to travelers’ demand for sustainable practices?
- In 2022, hotels are turning away from wasteful extras like tiny shampoo bottles, sewing kits, and slippers. Instead, they are leaning into ideas like bulk dispensers for high-end shampoos and bath gels and promoting linen reuse.
- From a practical business standpoint, unsustainable hotel practices have had negative environmental impacts on the very attractions that travelers have come to see. I recently read about a travel destination in Thailand called Maya Bay. As a result of relentless tourism, the area was stripped of most of its coral reefs. Once the coral reefs all but disappeared, so did tourism in Maya Bay. A concept called “Carbon Offsetting” can help in this kind of situation. Essentially, a business commits to polluting less and earns carbon credits in return. In doing so, hoteliers are beginning to turn their attention to the future that’s almost here. (Hmm. this seems like an entire blog post in itself.)
- Hotels are keeping it local by more enthusiastically promoting local and neighborhood events and businesses. They can offer guests what they are looking for: a taste of what that local area is all about.
- Digital technology has the valuable side benefit of reducing paper (think: menus) and cardboard (think: in-room signs).
- Speaking of technology, GRMS and EMS systems promote sustainability by saving a significant amount of energy. What’s the secret sauce? Real energy savings happens when guests are away from their rooms. GRMS and EMS systems use automation that allows the temperature to drift; they more aggressively control humidity; they turn off power to “energy vampires” and power outlets. By the way, GRMS and EMS systems are more than merely behind-the-scenes actors. Their guest-facing technology helps personalize the guest experience. When guests are present, they are treated to a personalized experience using electronic key cards, mobile apps to control lights and televisions, and voice-activated command devices.
Guests Don’t Know Which Hotels are Sustainable. Hotels Should Do More to Market Their Efforts!
Typically, travelers don’t even know which hotels have instituted sustainability practices!
A study by the TUI Group found that only one in 10 European travelers book environmentally friendly holidays, but more than half would book more if they were more readily available. Imagine! Most hotels have instituted at least some sustainable practices, such as promoting linen reuse. Getting the word out about it can drive up the heads-in-beds count.
Although 3 out of 4 hoteliers say they have implemented at least some kind of sustainability practices at their property, only one-third actively communicate about their efforts proactively to potential guests. If they’ve earned sustainability awards or certificates, they should most definitely be promoted via social media. (#greenhotels and #ecohotels are good tags to use).
Outside Sources That Can Assist
Trip Advisor is a good resource for promoting your environmentally-friendly business. Their Green Leaders program showcases all kinds of hotels (from eco-friendly to 5-star) that are committed to green practices. “Just look for the leaf”, as they say.
Travel agents report that a growing number of their business travel clients seek out hotels that employ sustainability practices. In fact, 53%* of North American companies have corporate sustainability programs that affect their decisions to contract with a travel supplier. Seriously.
Travelers are becoming more conscious of their effect on the environment and want their travel accommodations to promote sustainability. The hospitality industry needs to comply in order to remain competitive, but so far it’s like turning around the Queen Mary…it’s slow going but picking up speed. And whatever eco-friendly and energy-efficient changes hotels are already instituting, they must promote their efforts on their website and on social media.
If your property values people, planet, and profit, call us. We do too, and we can explain how our GRMS/EMS systems can contribute to your efforts, and pay for themselves in as little as 2-3 years.
U.S. Sales: (888) 703 9398
Domestic and International Sales: (414) 302-2282
*Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, Business Case for Sustainable Hotels, 03/2020