Hotel Sustainability: Measuring What You Value, Valuing What You Measure

By Rebecca Hawkins Managing Director, Responsible Hospitality Partnership | May 17, 2015

For many hotel businesses, measurement of energy, waste and water is a hit and miss affair. Those businesses that have developed effective procedures to 'hit' the resource measurement button have found that they can use their knowledge of resource consumption patterns to drive impressive cost and environmental savings. Those that have 'missed' have found their organizations mired in targets that cannot be met, staff who are not motivated and customers who are unconvinced by claims of sustainable practice.

There are a growing number of reasons that measurement really matters in the hyper competitive hotel environment. These inevitably include the need to continually review and reduce resource consumption, but they also extend way beyond the short term cost savings and into something that is far more significant to all businesses.

As Edelman demonstrate, measurement and management of environmental impacts can be fundamental to building trust in any brand (and we're not just talking about trust among those who are seeking green businesses but all consumers/stakeholders).

It is also increasingly being associated with great quality and authenticity in hotel environments (those who keep an eye on current trends will be all too well aware that authenticity is the Holy Grail for those hotels who are seeking to stand out from the crowd).

Within the 16 attributes that Edelman define as essential to building trust in a brand, they list 8 that have a broadly 'ethical or sustainable' dimension:

• Treats employees well
• Places customers ahead of profits
• Has ethical business practices
• Has transparent and open business practices (including reporting of results)
• Works to protect and improve the environment
• Addresses society's needs in its everyday business
• Creates programs that positively impact the local community
• Partners with NGOs, Governments and 3rd Parties to address societal needs
Source: Edelman Trust Barometer

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Coming up in February 2019...

Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.