Responsibly Incorporating Sustainability Across All Departments

By Rob Howell General Manager, Shawnee Inn & Golf Resort | May 24, 2015

When developing new systems, purchasing new equipment, and devising new programs, how can we ensure that we keep an eye to sustainability?

Sustainability is here to stay. It is no longer a fad or trend; it has become an integral part of the hospitality industry and an expectation of guests around the world. As operators of hospitality businesses it is important that we acknowledge this new standard. Therefore, integrating sustainable practices into our operation across all departments is vital.

Hospitality operations run smoothly because we develop, train and revise standard operating procedures to achieve specific outcomes. These include, but are not limited to, check-in, check-out, table service, etc… Sustainability can be no different. To incorporate sustainability as part of your business, sustainable practices and policies must be developed. Once built, they must be implemented and followed through with like any other operational procedure or policy. Will there be some mistakes? Will we drop the ball? These are rhetorical questions, but what we will need to do is revise, review, and renew our policies on a regular basis.

One of the first obstacles is education. We must first educate our staff on the following: What is sustainability? What are we as an operation doing to embrace sustainability? What are we planning to do? Why is it important and how can we share this with our guests? Next we need to educate our guests. If we are implementing policies, spending capital (human and monetary) to provide these programs, we must make our guests aware of the existence of them. Part of the reason we are doing it is because it is "the right thing to do". Another reason is because more guests are expecting these sustainable programs. What are you doing to promote sustainability? How can your guests get involved?

Every department in your property needs to responsibly incorporate sustainability. Look at each of your departments and make a list of the things they can do to be more sustainable. What are the practices and procedures they can adopt? What are the purchasing policies they can put into place to emphasize the acquisition of products that assist our operation in being more sustainable? What are we doing now AND what can we do in the future?

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