Global warming has been looming on the horizon of social thought for decades and its impact has proven impossible to ignore. Violently unstable weather patterns have brought the issue of climate change to everyone’s doorstep and the most conscious of consumers have acknowledged not only the issue at hand but also the need to be an active part of the solution.

It is no secret that modern patterns of consumerism are to blame for the current state of our environment and this has put industries, especially those which rely heavily on leisure and entertainment at odds with the environmental movement, as it often undermines the core values of their business models.

Why Go Green ?

Rethinking hospitality as a sustainable practice is becoming an increasingly urgent matter, as the threat of global warming is not a passing trend that would fade away within a decade or so. An ever-growing number of consumers are becoming more vigilant when it comes to their purchases and the expectations they have of the business they patronize.

Expectations such as reduced use of single-use plastics and composting have made their way into almost a third of all guests’ lists of requirements when choosing an establishment. Adopting sustainable practices has thus become a go-to motto for many new businesses in hopes of appealing to this ever-expanding niche.

But the matter of reinventing hospitality is not just another way of building a customer retention strategy. Hospitality opens the possibility of setting an example of what sustainable living can be all about by putting it in practice.

While there are many proponents of greener lifestyle choices, few actually live by the words they preach. If we take for instance people who are in favour of recycling and composting, while many of them may support the practice socially, they are likely not practising it on a daily basis.

In this sense hotels are in a position to demonstrate what implementing this change could mean to a person’s daily routine by, for example, supplying rooms with recycling bins. Small changes like the aforementioned can have a meaningful impact on consumer practices. Not only would a guest be more likely to take up composting and recycling, but they are also going to expect the same of future establishments.

Which brings us to this, if an ever-growing number of hotels are already setting this example, what does that bode for a hotelier who casually brushes aside sustainability upgrades as either an unnecessary expense or a frivolity?

The Issue of Sustainability

The practical aspects of achieving sustainability in hospitality are extremely complex, on the one hand, there is the issue of reevaluating every process that supports your business, from amenities to distribution, while also looking for a way to create sustainable luxuries. On the other, there’s the issue of the cost of this process.

Many can be tempted to put off these changes entirely as at first sight there doesn’t really seem to be an urgency, especially with the reassurance of OTA driven revenue, which creates some income reliability. But these same businesses are losing out on the loyalty driven revenue that follows sustainability implementation. The predictions of guest investment in sustainability have been rising steadily over the last five years and the pattern does not show any signs of slowing down.

Every hospitality provider, be it your run of the mill backpack travel hostel, a budding hotel chain, or a titan such as Hiltons, has stakes in the game. Although the issues you are faced with may vary based on the kind of guests their business is targeted at, the end expectation is the same: rethinking hospitality to fit the new reality of our increasingly deteriorating ecosystem is inevitable.

By taking the necessary steps to not only rebrand as a green business by name but also to employ the necessary practices to actually earn the title, hoteliers are positioning themselves for a better future for both themselves and the environment as a whole.

What are Hotels Doing to Go Green ?

Sustainability in the hotel industry is only achievable if proper control is implemented. In order to measure your sustainability success rate, you need to know the parameters according to which you’ve improved.

  • Energy Consumption

Technological advancement has meant an overall increase in the use of electricity for day-to-day practices, which is why many hotels are looking to cut back on energy usage by implementing key-card activated electric keys and light-saving motion activated lights.

It would be impossible for a guest to forget the light on in their room and at the same time, the hallways of your establishment are only lit when someone’s actually present. The initial investment in the technology is more than made up for in the years to come, as it saves on utility and it’s also eco-friendly.

  • Water Management

Water wastage is one of the most often overlooked aspects of sustainability. It poses a particularly challenging issue for hoteliers as maintaining a swimming pool, or a Jacuzzi is a huge boost for relaxation-driven tourism. But the real challenge here is not communal swimming and bathing areas, but rather something that on the first look, seems quite harmless. Leaky taps probably account for larger water waste and adding leak detectors can aid you in reducing water waste. Along with the help of low-flow showerheads, you can take the reins on your establishment’s water usage and improve your hotel efficiency.

  • Waste Management

Plastic is one of the biggest offenders to the environment, with a single plastic bag having a lifespan that far outreaches its intended purpose, most establishments are racing to drop any needless use of plastic in their practices. The first to go were single-use plastic containers, anything from tiny shampoo bottles to the plastic coffee cups in the lobby’s vending machine. Replacing cutlery with single-use recyclables is a must, and most establishments are actively supplying guestrooms with multi-use shampoo bottles.

Another often overlooked aspect of waste management is food waste. With over 30% of goods purchased being later labelled as trash, a good way to reduce food waste is to limit the amount prepared to the actual needs of the establishment. By removing buffets from the food service option, and instead allowing guests to choose their breakfast order the evening before, a significant dent can be made in the food waste generated by hotels.

Buying in Bulk

Organic hotels get to claim this label mostly because they focus on supplying their establishments with bulk purchases of locally sourced, environmentally conscientious goods. From buying produce grown by local farms to choosing to purchase cleaning supplies with reduced usage of chemicals, organic hotels aim at alleviating the concerns of travellers who with favour local flavour and conscientious consumption.

Each of these practices can better an establishment and elevate its status in the eyes of the guest. These practices might have been quirky trends some decade or so ago, but now they are becoming the norm and it’s only a matter of time before all guests begin to treat them as such.

How is Sustainability Regulated?

Hotel certifications allow hoteliers to prove to both guests and investors that their practices are truly up to the standards that they proclaim to uphold. Certification can vary based on the goals set by your establishment, with certain programs such as Energy Star having a heavier focus on energy efficiency, or the Green Seal, who offer programs to corporate clients looking to improve the sustainability of their businesses.

Finding the right certificate could mean choosing the right school of sustainability for your establishment. Most certificates follow some system of merit which allows hoteliers to see exactly what more they can do to improve their business.

Here's a list of certificates different types of hotels can obtain:

Large Independent Chains:

  • Greenkey
  • Green Globe
  • Travelife
  • Green Seal
  • Audubon
  • ENERGY STAR
  • LEED
  • TripAdvisor GreenLeaders
  • Green Tourism (United Kingdom and Canada)

Bed & Breakfasts:

  • Greenkey
  • Travelife
  • ENERGY STAR
  • Audubon
  • TripAdvisor GreenLeaders
  • LEED
  • Green Tourism (United Kingdom and Canada)

Independent Properties or Hostels:

  • Audubon
  • ENERGY STAR
  • Travelife
  • LEED
  • Green Tourism (United Kingdom and Canada)
  • TripAdvisor GreenLeaders

Taking on the environmental issue and choosing to tackle it by scrapping wasteful and unnecessary aspects of hospitality allows hoteliers to pave the path to a more stable future for their establishment and the world as a whole.



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About Clock Software

Clock Software is a global provider of cloud-based property management systems (PMS), integrated online distribution, online & kiosk hotel self check-in solutions and mobile & in-room guest engagement systems with customers in more than 65 countries.