“Sustainable Stays”: How Green Hotel Design Improves Occupancy and Operations

By Cristine Henderson Associate, Hoefer Wysocki | January 27, 2019

Sustainable design has made its way into the upper hierarchies of a hotelier's priorities as it has proven to correlate with increased revenue. Benefits of the "greening" of the hospitality industry result in higher occupancy rates, coupled with efficient and profitable operations. To say that sustainability has become desirable among modern consumers and hoteliers alike, would be an understatement. As previously witnessed in other business sectors, sustainable measures have made a lasting impression on the hospitality industry.

Forward-thinking hoteliers incorporate sustainable practices into their operations as early as possible to remain ahead of the curve and achieve higher results, where both sustainability and profit are concerned. Marriott, for example, has committed to reduce water consumption by 15%, carbon by 30%, waste by 45%, and food waste by 50% by 2025. Marriott began setting sustainability goals in 2008 and has documented their progress every year since. As an industry leader, Marriott has set an example to incorporate waste-reducing measures as a standard business practice. These measures are environmentally sound, help improve operations, and also resonate with consumers, particularly Millennials.

A recent Nielsen global online study found Millennials are the demographic most willing to pay a premium for sustainable features. Generation Z follows this trend with 72% reporting they would pay more for products or services from "companies who are committed to positive social and environmental impact." However, it is important to note that while these demographics highly favor businesses who engage in sustainable practices, they still expect plentiful amenities. This is especially true of Millennials.

Millennials are also noted as being twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues, and also expect brands to not only manage their impact but communicate it. Still not convinced? Studies show that 43 million U.S. travelers are "ecologically concerned" and 70% of travelers prefer hotels with sustainability credentials. The buying power of these travel-savvy, well-informed consumers is paving the way toward a more sustainable hospitality industry, which continues to experience strong growth.

According to a study by CBRE, demand for hotels is expected to rise by 3.8% in 2019. This increased influx of travelers also tends to seek hotels that integrate technology with enriching experiences in environmentally sound spaces, all while incorporating sustainability. Today's consumers simply want more for their money. While sustainability credentials can be acquired through simple practices such as recycling and reduced water consumption, hotels are seeking more innovative methods through which socially responsible practices can be channeled. To achieve these results, hoteliers are increasingly turning to architects and design professionals to create sustainable structures. Sustainability has extended into the overall construction and design of the hotel itself.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.