hotel and swimming pools surrounded by palm tress reflecting importance of hotel sustainability on the environment

Nowadays, we see sustainability touted across trade publication headlines and social media.

NB: This is an article from GuestCentric

But beyond the buzzword, what does sustainability actually mean, in practical terms, for your hotel? Why does sustainability in travel matter so much now – more than ever – to consumers? Most importantly, how can hotels ensure that they are upholding sustainability standards and effectively communicating them to stakeholders and customers?

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In this article, we take a closer look at the implications of sustainability for hotels, including the operational and economic impact, what other hotels and travel/tourism businesses are doing to meet these demands, and how technology can help.

Beyond the buzzword, what does Sustainability really mean for Hotels?

In broad terms, sustainability refers to actions, programs, and initiatives that preserve a particular resource. It umbrellas four main pillars: Environmental, Economical, Social, and Human. For hotels and the wider hospitality, travel, and tourism sectors specifically, sustainable development encompasses the three elements of people, planet and profit (the 3Ps) – implying long-term considerations for all stakeholders. Here is a breakdown:

  • Planet: Your hotel must significantly reduce its environmental impact through green best-practices in maintenance, services, logistics, products, and supplies. The core elements revolve around reducing waste, saving energy, and cutting down on water usage.
  • Profit: Your hotel needs to be growing and profitable to be deemed economically viable (and therefore sustainable), contributing to the local economy, creating local jobs and, as a result, supporting the local community.
  • People: Your hotel must be socially engaged with employees, customers, suppliers and the local community. Social sustainability covers diversity and inclusion, health and safety as well as community impact.

Although in recent years there has been increased discussion around the importance of sustainability for the environment and to improve profitability by reducing operational costs, many companies (including hotels) are still grappling with how they can put sustainability into practice. But nowadays, it’s not enough to jump on the bandwagon and talk the talk. Hotels need to walk the walk – putting their money where their mouth is, by embedding sustainability into their business models.

Why is Sustainability Important for Hotels in the Current Climate?

Research shows that more people want to travel sustainably. In its annual survey on sustainability, recently found 71 percent of respondents planned to travel greener, up 10 percent over 2021 results. Not only have travelers grown increasingly focused on sustainability, but governments too. In Europe, large companies and SMEs are already required to collate data in order to report on their sustainability initiatives from 2024 onwards, by defining KPIs and how these are performing year-on-year.

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