How Hotels Can Have a Positive Impact on Communities

By Gaynor Reid Vice President , AccorHotels Asia Pacific | May 07, 2017

The tourism industry, by its very nature, leaves a significant carbon footprint, with estimates saying that tourism accounts for around 5% of all carbon emissions and that the hotel sector is responsible for approximately 20% of those. As one of the largest hotel operators in the world, AccorHotels acts like a giant city, welcoming 600, 000 guests every day and providing water, energy and food to those guests. Recognizing this fact, back in 1974 the group became one of the first hospitality providers to commit to a comprehensive environmental policy to reduce its impact on the planet and its people.

Today AccorHotels recognizes that its responsibilities extend far beyond reducing its environmental footprint and the group is committed to not just reducing its negative impact but to actually positively impacting on the communities in which it operates. With Planet 21, the group’s CSR commitments for 2020, they have an ambition to drive the change towards positive hospitality wherever they operate. Importantly, the group recognizes that actions cannot just be global but that it is key for each hotel to implement local programs that reduce their environmental footprint and give back to the people who live around it.

In Indonesia, the group works with A Tree For A Child ( ATFAC ) a community investment program created by AccorHotels and the foundation Yayasan Peduli Tunas Bangsa in 2001, which focuses on poverty alleviation through education, health, nutrition and environmental protection.

Through this program, hotels in Indonesia help to create access to education and health for children while providing an opportunity for staff to volunteer so they are engaged with the communities surrounding their properties. The group has now opened two education centers in Indonesia for underprivileged children to help develop their skills in Basic English, computer skills, gardening, cooking and other life skills by professional teachers and volunteers from the group’s hotel network. An on-site clinic also offers complimentary medical check-ups as well as free nutritional meals. The program is linked to sustainable farming projects in the country so that families can not only feed themselves but also ensure their children have opportunities for a brighter future.

Ni Nyoman Sri Aningsih is a beneficiary of the project whose parents are vegetable farmers in the Bedugul area. “I want to be a teacher when I grow up so that I can teach children like myself, ” she says. “Going to the education centre will help me achieve that goal.”

Since its first center opened in Jakarta in 2001, AccorHotels has benefitted over 200 children and their families, with several of the children actually going on to work with AccorHotels in Indonesia.

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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.