The New Souvenirs: Memories, Experiences, and Sustainable Sourcing

By Tara Hammond Group Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Manager, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts | April 30, 2017

The United Nations designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development to support a change in policies, business practices and consumer behavior towards a more sustainable tourism sector. But how will those of us whose purpose it is to innovate and drive change in corporate social responsibility affect change among consumer behavior? It is not enough to just implement policies and practices. Communicating our actions to guests is the key to inspiring change in everyday behaviors. The United Nations designation provides a platform to communicate the great programs and initiatives happening all over the world, especially within sustainable sourcing.

This journey begins with the decision to source sustainable goods and services in the first place. We live in a world where operating a sustainable business is not only commended by consumers, but is expected. The demand for sustainable operations from consumers has become more and more customary and businesses in the travel and tourism industry must keep up with this demand. As accessibility to secondary and tertiary cities opens up and travelers seek unexpected destinations, new challenges emerge in building sustainable supply chains. But it also provides an opportunity to educate travelers on responsible sustainable sourcing in food and beverage, employee recruitment and retention, and energy sourcing. With effective communication, we hope travelers will apply this information to their own purchasing decisions well after the vacation is over.

Food & Beverage – Farm to Table, Message to Action

Many terms are used to describe sustainably-sourced ingredients – farm to table, farm to mouth, from the earth, and more. These terms suggest the direct benefits of serving locally-grown or organic items to the consumer. While the importance of knowing where your food comes from and how it was produced cannot be understated, the benefits go beyond Michelin-starred restaurants and consumers’ delight in sustainable ingredients. The objective to source sustainable and trustworthy food and beverage options benefits not only the health and wellbeing of travelers and guests, but also the communities in which we operate.

The travel and tourism industry can promote positive change by supporting and partnering with other like-minded businesses that are either sustainable or have similar values and goals, especially in cooperation with underprivileged communities.

Coastal communities often rely on fishing and tourism as two of their main business sectors. However, these communities can be threatened by large-scale fisheries that take over the industry. How the travel and tourism industry can support their local communities is to partner with local sustainable fisheries or independent fishermen who employ ethical practices. Businesses that also communicate this practice to guests and stakeholders can “pay it forward” as travelers may select different fish and seafood to cook in their own kitchen.

Hotel Newswire Headlines Feed  

Joey Yanire
Scott  Watson
Banks Brown
Jerome G. Grzeca
David C. Marr
Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.