Environmental sustainability in the hotel industry has evolved far beyond traditional towel and linen programs. Sure, initiatives like these are still needed but as most European hoteliers already know, it's time to start thinking bigger.
The problem, however, is that many of the most effective energy and water saving initiatives require a hefty capital investment. To help you do the right thing without breaking the bank, I compiled a list of 5 sustainable hotel management practices that will help you save not only the environment but also some serious money.
Curbing your guests’ water consumption with a ‘showerglass’
While it’s true that guest-facing sustainability initiatives are typically only the tip of the iceberg, I’m willing to make an exception here.
First introduced at 1 Hotel Central Park in New York, hourglass-shaped 5-minute timers strategically placed on the walls of guest bathrooms inform the guests about the negative impact of excessive water consumption and encourage them to take shorter showers.
Accompanied with a positive message about the difference an individual guest can make, shower timers can considerably reduce water consumption in the long run. As an added benefit, they also help hotels communicate their sustainability initiatives to the guests in a non-preachy and playful way.
Carbon footprint measurement
According to our research, only 21% of European hotels measure their carbon emission.
And as we concluded in the report, the first step towards more sustainable hotel operations is proper measurement. After all, without a deep understanding of your current standing, how are you meant to decide which initiatives to drive next?
Existing carbon footprint measurement tools like the Hotel Carbon Measurement System (HCMS) allow hotels to keep track of and optimize their sustainability initiatives – completely free of charge. Simply use the free calculator to establish a baseline, and start reducing the carbon footprint of your hotel business one step at a time. Simple, free, and powerful!
The anti-innovation against plastic waste
Earlier this year the world’s largest hotel group Marriott announced that they will remove plastic straws from all of their hotels in the UK as a response to the Evening Standard’s campaign dubbed as “The Last Straw”.
As Marriott’s spokesperson explains, removing plastic straws is a significant step towards reducing the plastic waste that ends up endangering the local environment and wildlife.
As Marriott's example demonstrates, banning environmentally harmful products or substances can have a hugely positive impact on the environment. The best part? Initiatives like this don’t cost a penny and can be put to action immediately.
All local everything
Another cheap and trendy sustainability initiative boils down to choosing local produce and suppliers in favor of their more geographically dispersed alternatives.
While the downside is that your hotel restaurant’s Head Chef may no longer be able to serve salmon all year round, the good news is that your carbon footprint will reduce dramatically as a result, putting your brand new carbon emission measurement tool to good use.
As an added benefit, local touches in the decor will bring your hotel an authentic flavor, which authenticity-seeking guests are likely to appreciate.
Smart water monitoring solution
When it comes to environmental sustainability, measurement is the key to success. While the carbon footprint measurement tool will help you get started, you’ll also want to measure water consumption to make sure that you’re not flushing money down the drain.
Smart water monitoring solutions like Smartvatten help you monitor water consumption in real time and catch leaks before they cause structural damage to the building. By continuously checking back on your water consumption, you’ll also start seeing the effect of the ‘showerglass’.
With these five clever innovations and practices in place, you’re well on your way towards becoming a more sustainable business.