The UN's Sustainable Development Goals and Lodging Practices

By Nancy Loman Scanlon, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Florida International University | May 28, 2017

While the UN SDG's seek to protect the planet and global population, they in turn protect the industries that depend on; the integrity of resources such as food supply and water, the health of local populations for a work force and the climate related conditions of destinations. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the total travel and tourism economic contribution globally in 2015 was more than $7 trillion dollars in GDP representing 9.8% of total GDP and employed 284 million people.

The International Tourism Partnership ( ITP ) represents a membership of over 12 global lodging companies. "Working with the worlds' leading hotel groups for the past 25 years, producing resources and supporting them to drive greater sustainability throughout the industry. ITP is in the process of setting goals for the future; focusing on our contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in four key issues of carbon, water, youth unemployment and human rights. The ITP goals will be launched in June 2017." noted Fran Hughes, Director, International Tourism Partnership.

The American Hotel and Lodging Association represents 24, 000 hotel members in the United States and is currently working to create sustainability resources to assist member hotel companies in implementing many of the UN SDG's.

The largest global lodging companies, American Hotel and Lodging Association members Marriott-Starwood, Wyndham Worldwide, Hilton International, InterContinental Hotels Group and Accor, are working along with other member hotel companies to implement the 17 SDG's in the operations of their lodging properties.

Wyndham Worldwide’s global footprint includes 7, 410 hotels and 190 timeshare resorts. Since 2006 Wyndham Worldwide has focused on sustainability practices throughout the company through their sustainability program Wyndham Green. The financial success of these efforts has been evidenced as Wyndham Worldwide has been the only lodging company listed on the S & P 500 Sustainability Indices since 2013. Climate change and risk management are an integral part of the company's Corporate Social Responsibility Report. Wyndham focuses on climate change and resource scarcity as a focus of its climate change and risk management report in the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility Report.

Wyndham Worldwide’s sustainability program, Wyndham Green outlines core strategies that focus on energy conservation and carbon emissions reduction ( SDG 13 ), water conservation, focusing on water scarcity issues ( SDG 6 ), waste management and reduction ( SDG 12 responsible consumption and production ) , community partnerships and engagement ( SGD 17, education of associates, guests and the community ( SDG 4 ).

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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.