Eco-Friendly Practices: The Value of Sustainability

The hotel industry continues to make remarkable progress in implementing sustainability policies and procedures in their properties throughout the world. As a result, they continue to reap the benefits of increased profitability, enhanced guest experiences, and improved community relations in the regions they serve. In addition, as industry standards are codified and adopted worldwide, hotels can now compare how their operations measure up against their competitors in terms of sustainable practices and accomplishments. This capacity to publicly compare and contrast is spurring competition and driving innovation as hotels do not wish to be left behind in this area. Water management and conservation is still a primary issue as population growth, urbanization, pollution and wasteful consumption patterns place increasing demands on freshwater supply. Water recycling; installing low-flow fixtures; using digital sensors to control water usage; and even harvesting rainwater are just a few things that some hotels are doing to preserve this precious resource. Waste management is another major concern. Through policies of reduce, reuse and recycle, some hotels are implementing “zero-waste” programs with the goal of substantially reducing their landfill waste which produces carbon dioxide and methane gases. Other hotels have established comprehensive training programs that reinforce the value of sustainability. These programs explain the need, vision, mission, strategies and benefits for achieving sustainability within the hotel. There is employee engagement through posters and quizzes, and even contests are held to increase innovation, sensitivity and environmental awareness. Some hotels are also monitoring a guest's energy usage and rewarding those who consumed less energy with gifts and incentives. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document how some hotels are integrating eco-friendly practices into their operations and how they and the environment are benefiting from them.

Library Archives

Nancy Loman Scanlon, Ph.D.

Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility practices in the Hotel Industry have been developing in a synergistic pattern that is reflected in the web pages and annual reports of many international lodging companies. In 2015 the United Nations revised the original 8 UN Millennium Development Goals to better the quality of life on the planet by 2015, establishing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's) to be achieved by the year 2030. Reflecting the original Millennium Development Goals, the 17 SDG's include eliminating poverty and hunger, fighting climate change, improving world health, education and saving oceans and forests. READ MORE

Lynne A. Olson

When executed at the highest levels, sustainability is a win-win proposition for your lodging cleaning program. A successful program can cost effectively deliver clean, safe and healthy guest rooms, using efficient products that are simple for the housekeeping staff to use. Does this seem too good to be true? If so, let's review the historical approach, and then explore a framework for the systematic design of a sustainable lodging cleaning program. READ MORE

Circe Sher

When Piazza Hospitality first started developing its h2hotel concept and design in Healdsburg in the mid 2000s, “green” properties were hardly as well-known as they are today. Architects tended to simply follow Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) guidelines, and most consumers weren't really clear on what “eco-friendly” meant. H2hotel's Eco-Friendly View Is All About You The idea of being earth-friendly seemed like something everyone could and should embrace, but bringing that vision into a reality consumers actually wanted could be challenging. READ MORE

Jan Peter Bergkvist

193 out of 196 possible countries have agreed on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in 2015, 194 countries signed the Paris Agreement that includes a joint commitment to leave 80 per cent of known fossil fuel resources in the ground. These are signs of a paradigm shift that is happening right in front of our eyes. What does this shift mean for an individual hospitality executive in May 2017? Has it, or will it perhaps change the playing field dramatically? READ MORE

Joshua Zinder, AIA

Discussions of sustainability in the hospitality industry have focused mainly on strategies at the level of energy-efficient and eco-friendly adjustments to operations and maintenance. These "tweaks" can include programs to reduce water usage, updating lighting to LEDs, campaigns to increase guest participation in recycling, and similar innovative industry initiatives. Often overlooked—not only by industry experts but even by hotel operators and designers—are possibilities for hotel design and construction that can make a property truly sustainable from the get-go. READ MORE

Shannon Sentman

Utility costs are the second largest operating expense for most hotels. Successfully reducing these expenses can be a huge value-add strategy for executives. Doing this effectively requires more than just a one-time investment in efficiency upgrades. It requires ongoing visibility into a building's performance and effectively leveraging this visibility to take action. Too often, efficiency strategies center on a one-time effort to identify opportunities with little consideration for establishing ongoing practices to better manage a building's performance ongoing. READ MORE

Susan Tinnish

Hotels brands have actively engaged in large-scale efforts to become more environmentally friendly. Individual hotels have made great strides on property. Many significant large-scale eco-initiatives s are most easily built initially into the infrastructure and design of the building and surrounding areas. Given that the adaptation of these large-scale changes into the existing asset base is expensive and disruptive, hotels seek different ways to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and eco-friendly practices. One way to do so is to shift the focus from large-scale change to “small wins.” Small wins can help a hotel create a culture of sustainability. READ MORE

Eric Ricaurte

In 2011, we visited the 10 hotels contracted in the room block for the Greenbuild conference in Toronto. As part of their award-winning sustainable event program, the conference organizers embedded green practices into the contract language for these hotels, who either had to comply with the requirements, explain their reason why they couldn't implement them, or pay a $1,000 fine. Part of our consulting work was to gather the data and confirm some of the practices on-site. READ MORE

Mandy Chomat

Over the years, luxury has been defined by everything from fancy objects and shiny finishes to exceptional service and authentic experiences. Today's definition of luxury encompasses a new element, eco-consciousness. Whether a property is Platinum LEED certified and positions itself as “green” or simply promotes responsible practices, an element of eco-tourism is now the expectation at upscale hotels and resorts around the world. READ MORE

Lawrence Adams

Explore the evolution of wellness in hospitality from the early days of Greco-Roman Thermae to the thermal spas of Central Europe and US resort towns to ultra-modern spas in the heart of the Swiss Alps. As wellness takes on a renewed importance in hospitality, we see medical science-based technological innovation applied to the health and well-being of hotel guests through the Stay Well Rooms program created by health-centric real estate developer Delos. Learn how major hotel firms are incorporating robust wellness programs into their brands. Watch wellness evolve to satisfy growing market demands with technological advances and innovative programs. READ MORE

Rauni Kew

In 1994 & 1995 a British economist working on corporate social responsibility coined two phrases- Triple Bottom Line, and later People Planet & Profit. The simple three word phrase describes a sea change in hotel operations that would take place over the next 2 decades. John Elkington's minimal catch phrases for the complex theories of sustainability were easy to understand and provided a simple road map for business. Recognizing cost savings from reductions in water, waste, energy and chemicals as well as the value of preserving regional icons as travel destinations, the Planet piece of Elkington's phrase is now accepted as mainstream hotel operation. READ MORE

Scott Parisi

The hospitality industry is a unique sector when factoring in the total amount of guests that visit any given facility in a single year. Most commercial buildings do not see nearly the amount of people visiting their facilities in comparison to the lodging industry's visits. The Environmental Protection Agency has reported, “on average, America's 47,000 hotels spend $2,196 per available room each year on energy.” READ MORE

Gaynor Reid

The tourism industry leaves a significant impact when you consider the need to move people around, host them and feed them, with the intrinsic needs for water, energy and food. As the travel industry continues to grow apace in Asia Pacific it is becoming increasingly important for hospitality providers to reduce their environmental footprint as well as to give back to the local communities in which they operate. AccorHotels first committed to a comprehensive environmental policy back in 1974 and is firmly committed to creating positive hospitality wherever it operates. While many of its actions are on a global scale, it has found that what is just as important is for each hotel in the network to work regionally to impact positively on its local community. READ MORE

Joseph Ricci

Resource conservation is becoming more of an economic necessity than a choice in hotel business practices as the cost of water, energy and other supplies rises. Laundry operations represent a fertile frontier for such improvement. Using mass-production technologies easily accessible via outsourcing decreases a property's carbon footprint thanks to water and energy conservation in linen processing. Ensuing labor savings from this greater mechanization add to this economic benefit. TRSA aids hotels in locating high-efficiency outsourced linen, uniform and facility services through its Clean Green certification program and provides a published guide to finding certified green suppliers of all kinds of products and services needed for hotel operations. READ MORE

James Gieselman

This issue of Hotel Business Review is devoted to the concept of Sustainability, so how does energy efficiency fit into this topic? And why is it so important now? Well, because, as that famous philosopher Yogi Berra once said, “the future ain't what it used to be.” We're experiencing changing consumer attitudes with regard to the environment resulting in shifting market trends. We're seeing a vastly different and uncertain political landscape. Competition in many industries has begun to beat the sustainability drum. And all of these trends are linked back in one way or another to energy and how we use it - energy efficiency. READ MORE

Arthur Weissman

This article discusses the overall benefits for hotel owners and managers of partnering with their local jurisdiction to promote sustainable tourism. Such a partnership goes beyond the typical relationship with the city's CVB in that it directly includes city departments and ideally the mayor's office. The partnership may take many forms; the type expounded on in this article is based on promoting environmental certification by a third-party to tout the hotels' and city's sustainability credentials. The city's support may come in the form of in-kind service and promotion or actual grants to subsidize program costs, such as for certification fees. READ MORE

Coming up in July 2018...

Hotel Spa: Oasis Unplugged

The driving force in current hotel spa trends is the effort to manage unprecedented levels of stress experienced by their clients. Feeling increasingly overwhelmed by demanding careers and technology overload, people are craving places where they can go to momentarily escape the rigors of their daily lives. As a result, spas are positioning themselves as oases of unplugged human connection, where mindfulness and contemplation activities are becoming increasingly important. One leading hotel spa offers their clients the option to experience their treatments in total silence - no music, no talking, and no advice from the therapist - just pure unadulterated silence. Another leading hotel spa is working with a reputable medical clinic to develop a “digital detox” initiative, in which clients will be encouraged to unplug from their devices and engage in mindfulness activities to alleviate the stresses of excessive technology use. Similarly, other spas are counseling clients to resist allowing technology to monopolize their lives, and to engage in meditation and gratitude exercises in its place. The goal is to provide clients with a warm, inviting and tranquil sanctuary from the outside world, in addition to also providing genuine solutions for better sleep, proper nutrition, stress management and natural self-care. To accomplish this, some spas are incorporating a variety of new approaches - cryotherapy, Himalayan salt therapy and ayurveda treatments are becoming increasingly popular. Other spas are growing their own herbs and performing their treatments in lush outdoor gardens. Some spa therapists are being trained to assess a client's individual movement patterns to determine the most beneficial treatment specifically for them. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these trends and developments and examine how some hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.