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Cutting Back to Move Forward: How Sustainable Hotels Are Shaping the Future of Hospitality

As a manager in the hospitality industry, you understand the delicate balance between internal operations and guest services. And while you probably recognize the importance of conserving resources, the last thing you want to do is reduce the quality of your facility by making cuts to specific services or amenities guests love.

This is the greatest fear many hoteliers have when they hear “sustainability,” a word that implies significant organizational change. The reality, however, is sustainability can be achieved through a series of small steps and can ultimately result in a healthier bottom line—which of course means more capital to reinvest in your guest experience. Plus, not to mention the tax benefits and other perks for these “eco hotels.”

Creating a more sustainable hotel can take a variety of forms. Here are just a few tactics being applied by hotels and resorts across the country:

  • Reducing water usage: With hundreds or thousands of guests every month, it’s a given that hotels will consume a large amount of this finite resource. Eco hotels are combating this with numerous solutions, including low-flow shower heads, aerated sink faucets, waterless toilets and more.
  • Limiting plastic and disposables: Reducing single-use plastic materials has become a hot issue not just in the hospitality industry, but across all others as well. Sustainable hotels are adapting by taking measures like eschewing individually wrapped toiletries for refillable containers and scrapping plastic straws for paper straws. Some hotels are even pledging to eliminate all single-use plastic at every one of their locations.
  • Repeated use of linens: Many eco hotels are asking guests to use linens more than once. And many guests are actually willing to comply and view the practice as responsible and smart, increasing satisfaction with their stay.
  • Dividing waste into categories: While it may be logistically challenging at first, the returns for categorizing waste are huge. Sustainable hotels are also setting up designated bins for recyclable materials like paper, plastic and glass. These changes compound over time for significant environmental impact reduction, and the added choice allows guests to participate in sustainable practices during their stay at these facilities. Eco hotels across the industry are now composting their food waste, saving tons of trash from landfills (and saving costs on dumpster service in the process). In addition, reducing loose food scraps in trash cans throughout the building helps keep away nasty pests like rodents and flies further bolstering the quality of your guest experience.

The direction of the hotel industry is clear: Sustainable practices are becoming the norm, and businesses that don’t adapt stand to lose business in the wake of this green revolution. The good news is that adopting sustainable practices is a win-win—for your guests and your bottom line—and can be achieved gradually through a multitude of available strategies like the ones listed above. If you haven’t yet, consider evaluating and implementing these and other techniques in the near future.

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