If you’re working in the hospitality industry, whether you’re running a hotel, guesthouse, hostel, or other types of facilities, “going green” is a smart business strategy. First of all, it attracts more customers and increases customer loyalty because people nowadays are actively trying to adjust to a more eco-friendly lifestyle. By adopting more sustainable practices, you’d be reducing costs and, most importantly, doing your part in protecting our planet.
There are hundreds of thousands of hotels throughout the world, so collectively, they can have a considerable impact on the environment. Maybe changing practices in just one hotel won’t make a huge difference, but think of what would happen if the entire industry adopted just one of the green initiatives listed in this article.
Conduct an Audit
The first step is to give your operations a check-up by hiring a company to conduct a waste, energy, and cost audit. The advantage is that these companies consider the local regulations and give your recommendations specific to your region.
You can also use a maintenance monitoring system that will show you how much energy your equipment is consuming both when it’s in use and on standby mode so you can more easily identify energy-saving opportunities that can bring down the cost and result in long-term savings.
Implement Energy Saving Technologies
Audits show that 75% of a hotel’s environmental impact results from excessive consumption, including energy. Incorporating more energy-efficient lighting, appliances, and heating and cooling systems can benefit both the environment and your bottom line.
If you don’t know where to start, try switching to energy-saving light bulbs such as LED bulbs and gradually take bigger steps. The long operating hours typical for a hotel make lighting a major contributor to energy use, so this change can drive down cost and maintenance. You can also install light sensors and timers to further reduce energy consumption. We recommend you look up grants and interest-free loans made available to businesses that are willing to adopt eco-friendly practices.
In recent years many hotels have successfully switched at least partially to alternative energy sources like wind and solar power. You might want to consider making this change yourself, and you can begin by researching funding options in your region.
As you probably know, hotels produce a significant amount of waste. In fact, the average guest leaves about two and a half pounds of trash per day. Since there are millions of guests, you can see how recycling should be a priority in the hospitality industry. It’s time to embrace recycling. You’ll need the full range of recycling bins to separate cans, glass, plastic, paper, and trash compactors like the ones from Mil-tek in Denmark which will reduce waste pick-up and cost.
You’ll also want to avoid disposable items as much as possible by replacing them with reusable alternatives and try to buy supplies in bulk, which will reduce packaging. Many hotels collaborate with other organizations that help them recycle retired sheets, stained tablecloths, and other similar items instead of sending them to landfills.
Benefit from the Waste
Instead of paving the area around the hotel, you can turn it into a garden. Your guests will appreciate a bit of greenery on you’ll also be reducing your hotel’s carbon footprint. You can also set aside some space for vegetable patches and use the fresh produce in the hotel’s kitchen. If you don’t have that much space, you can create a garden on the rooftop and install raised beds.
Another popular eco-friendly initiative in the hospitality industry is composting. It’s a great way to benefit from some of your food waste since you can use it as organic fertilizer for your garden.
In terms of saving water, there are quite a few strategies you can try. The most basic one involves installing toilet tank diverters that save ¾ of a gallon of water for every flush.
An enormous amount of water is wasted on laundering. You can minimize this by transitioning to more efficient equipment or working with a company that already has this type of equipment while you’re raising funds to buy your own.
Then there’s also rainwater harvesting, which involves collecting rainwater, typically from the hotel’s room, filtering it, and storing it in a tank. The water is not drinkable, but it can be used for cleaning purposes or watering plants and gardens during the dry season. This might sound like hard work, but it’s actually quite easy once the system is set in place, and it reduces water usage by up to 70%.
Use Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
Something as simple as changing your choice of cleaning products can have a significant positive impact on the health of our planet. That’s because most cleaning products contain chemicals that are harmful, not just to the environment, but to your guests as well. Many of these chemicals are known pollutants that release toxic waste in the atmosphere and water supply.
Again, you have to think of it on a grand scale. You can calculate how many cleaning products your hotel goes through every year and then multiple that to the hundreds of thousands of hotels in the world.
Your eco-friendly purchases shouldn’t stop at cleaning supplies. Hotels can reduce their environmental impact by making an effort to source locally, which also benefits their community. Guests usually prefer locally sourced, fresh ingredients, but you can also expand to other environmentally-friendly products since this reduces both the cost and pollution associated with transportation.
You may also want to consider advertising other eco-friendly businesses in your area. This gives environmentally conscious guests a good opinion of your hotel and therefore encourages customer loyalty, but it can also lead to mutually beneficial business relationships.
Encourage Guests to Go Green
As we mentioned before, nowadays, guests prefer staying in environmentally-conscious hotels, so make sure you place signs in the lobby and in the rooms explaining your eco-friendly policies. Not all your guests will be that knowledgeable about green living, so your signs might inspire them to make a few changes of their own.
You don’t have to bombard your guests with info, but you can do small things to get them involved, such as making recycling bins easily available, giving them vouchers for the hotel bar or coffee shop if they skip housekeeping for a day or reuse their towels or offering them the option of renting bicycles so they can explore the area in a more eco-friendly way.