Greening Hotels to Improve Occupancy and Sales
By Mike Sawchuk President & General Manager, Enviro-Solutions | August 07, 2010
Hotel owners and managers are always interested in what attracts guests to a certain property. Many of the draws have remained basically the same over the years, but recently guest demands have changed. For instance, luxury amenities previously found in only the best hotels are now requested in less expensive hotels, and as new technologies such as wireless Internet evolve, we are again seeing a change in guest wish lists as well.
And because of new technologies business guests, as well as those traveling for pleasure want high-speed Internet in their rooms, a business center, and the ability to make reservations online. In addition, in recent years we are seeing a new trend evolve. Guests are increasingly looking for "Greener" hotels, which install more environmentally preferable carpets and fabrics, incorporate energy- and water-conservation measures, and use Green cleaning chemicals, among other things.
The Green Trend
Although the hotel industry has not been a leader in building and operating environmentally preferable facilities when compared to schools, office buildings, and other public and private facilities, in recent years it appears that they are fast catching up. One of the first steps hotels have taken is to adopt designs that allow more natural light into their facilities. Larger windows let more sunlight into the building, which can lower energy costs for lighting. And lighter-colored fabrics, wall coverings, shelving, and other decor elements generate more ambient light, again helping to cut energy costs.
Water-saving devices, such as low-flow faucets, toilets, and urinals and even waterless urinals, are also becoming commonplace. Not only is less water used, protecting natural resources, but the cost to heat, deliver, and remove water from the hotel property has also been reduced.
And today, as both the hotel industry and the public become more environmentally concerned, some hotel owners are building new properties and renovating older ones seeking LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. In order to achieve LEED certification, facilities must earn points by incorporating Green and sustainable components into their buildings' design and operation. For instance, points can be earned for cutting long-term energy use, reducing water usage, transferring to Green cleaning products, installing energy-saving HVAC systems that also help protect indoor air quality, installing Green roofs or heat-reflecting roofs, and planting more water-efficient landscaping.