Many luxury hotels and resorts face the ultimate irony. The same natural resources that make them the most attractive destinations in the world are at risk from the impacts of tourism. As a result, the industry is driven by a desire to make positive changes that preserve the environment, while continuing to deliver a premium guest experience. But where do you begin? We’ve listed 4 strategies to turn sustainability dreams into reality.
Going green has many benefits to hotels. In addition to causing less damage to the environment, it is proven to lower operating costs due to reductions in resource consumption and staffing needs. Additionally, sustainability in hospitality builds goodwill with guests, which is especially important as consumer’s appetite for environmentally-friendly accommodations continues to rise. In fact, a recent Booking.com survey reported that 83% of tourists would like to travel more sustainably.
For all of these reasons, it’s no wonder that resort sustainability practices are on the rise, offering several lessons for other hoteliers looking to take the leap into a greener hospitality experience:
1. Create a Cross-Functional Sustainability Committee
Educating and engaging staff in your resort sustainability practices is essential for success. By doing this, your team can adequately communicate policies to customers, leading to greater adherence across the board.
Taking it one step further by creating a cross-functional sustainability committee instills a sense of ownership and pride in green policies from staff. Not to mention, it’s effective in generating fresh eco-friendly ideas for your hotel.
2. Communicate Sustainability Initiatives to Your Guests
A survey by the sustainable brand consultant Futerra found that 88% of consumers would like brands to help them live sustainably. Hotels can capitalize on this sentiment by effectively communicating to guests everything they’re doing to become a more eco-friendly property.
Putting thought and effort into marketing communications is time well spent as it allows hotels to reach and engage eco-conscious customers. Tactics include promoting specific initiatives on social media, building an SEO strategy that targets guests specifically seeking sustainability in hospitality, and partnering with green business organizations for access to additional marketing and publicity tools.
When guests are on-site, use strategic communications to inform them about options for reducing the environmental impact of their stay. For example, place literature in rooms outlining resort sustainability practices and share a few ideas guests can take, like turning off the lights and unplugging appliances when not in use.
Don’t forget to celebrate your success with storytelling! Include guest testimonials in hotel collateral like an Impact Report or a brochure, and capture content from guests or staff engaged in “green moments” to share on your website or social media platforms.
3. Make Sustainability a Part of the Guest Experience
Travelers are increasingly aware of eco-friendly changes that minimize the environmental impact of their trips, so engage them in your efforts!
Keep things easy by making the sustainable option the default. For example, place cards in guest rooms acknowledging that linens and towels are not changed every day, rather than making guests take an extra step to opt-in to a reduced linen service program.
Create thoughtful experiences that promote locality and make guests feel like they’re a part of the resort sustainability practices. 100 Sails, the restaurant at the Prince Waikiki Hotel, delivers on both of these objectives through a locally-sourced menu and commitment to zero food waste. In fact, nearly 100% of the produce, meat, and fish served at the restaurant is locally-sourced, and the restaurant composts all of its food scraps.
4. Start by Targeting Single-Use Plastic
If you’re looking to put resort sustainability practices into action at your hotel, start by targeting the low hanging fruit–like cutting down on the use of plastic on-site. Hotels rely heavily on plastic–from toiletry bottles, to water bottles, to key cards–so opting for recyclable and biodegradable alternatives makes a big difference, with a low barrier to entry.
By switching to a recyclable alternative, like Mananalu’s reusable and infinitely recyclable aluminum water bottles, you’re taking a stand against plastic waste and communicating that you care about the environment. Placing easily accessible recycling bins throughout your property is the cherry on top.
A switch like this is an attainable first step that makes a big difference. Not only are you reducing your property’s plastic waste, you’re engaging guests in the process, creating a sustainability commitment that everyone can feel good about. And you’re just getting started.