Why your Hotel Should Go Green, Too
"Going green” may have once been seen as a trendy fad, but it’s become apparent in recent years that this trend is here to stay. Millennials recently became the largest generation in the United States, numbering 75.4 million people in 2016. Since various polls have shown that Millennials tend to be more environmentally-conscious than other generations, it’s important for businesses--especially ones in the hospitality industry--to focus their efforts on becoming more environmentally sustainable.
According to “green” hotel booking platform Bookdifferent, the tourism industry is responsible for 5% of all carbon dioxide emissions. 20% of that 5% originates from overnight stays at hotels, resorts, and other accommodations. Because of this and the fact that 68% of polled tourists would prefer to stay in an eco-friendly hotel, many hotel chains and hospitality management companies have chosen to take measures to ensure that their operations are more sustainable for the environment.
Take Marriott, for example. As of 2015, Marriott had 142 Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) registered and certified buildings. While this is a small percentage of Marriott’s 5,700 properties worldwide, it is a step in the right direction--LEED states that “certification means healthier, more productive places, reduced stress on the environment by encouraging energy and resource-efficient buildings, and savings from increased building value, higher lease rates and decreased utility costs.”
Hotel chains have taken up additional measures to become more sustainable. Hilton launched LightStay, a corporate responsibility performance measurement platform, to track how their hotels are managing water and energy usage, waste disposal, and more. As a result of these performance measurements, Hilton has been able to save enough energy to power 112,520 homes for one year, enough water to fill 5,272 Olympic-sized swimming pools, and reduced waste by 29.1% between 2009 and 2015.
How are hotels making such drastic reductions? One way is by giving guests the option to reuse their towels and sheets, thereby reducing the amount of water and energy that would be used to launder them. Some hotels allow guests to control in-room temperature, which can reduce energy usage. Use of water has been reduced in some hotels via low-flow showerheads, toilet tank flow diverters, greywater recycling systems, and only offering drinking water upon request at hotel restaurants.
Witness Management, a hospitality management firm that manages 29 hotels in three states, has recently partnered with Clean the World, a Florida-based charity that recycles partially-used soap and shampoo left behind in hotel rooms. These recycled hygiene items are donated to impoverished parts of the world to help prevent the spread of diseases. Since its founding in 2009, Clean the World has donated over 41 million bars of soap to 118 countries.
Initiatives like these not only minimize the impact on the environment by keeping millions of bars of soap from going into landfills; they save lives, too. Clean the World focuses on reducing the prevalence of pneumonia and cholera, which are the two largest killers of children under the age of 5 in the developing world. Hotels wishing to donate their used soap to this program may sign up for a partnership on Clean the World’s website.
If your hotel is not currently utilizing green initiatives, now is the time to start. It will make your guests more comfortable about the impact their stay will have on the environment, and it will have a positive effect on your bottom line.
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