Going Green: Trend Turned Standard

According to a recent survey by the travel website, TripAdvisor, over 60% of travelers admit they are more inclined to make eco-friendly choices when booking hotels.

Nowadays, “green” has become trendy. We see it everywhere and it can be applied to virtually any business model. But this trend is planting deeper roots in our culture and becoming a way of life that is impossible to ignore. According to a recent survey by the travel website, TripAdvisor, over 60% of travelers admit they are more inclined to make eco-friendly choices when booking hotels. Half of them even say they would be willing to pay extra to stay at an environmentally conscious hotel.

Another recent report published by the Green Hotels Association found that companies with proactive environmental strategies have a 4 percent higher return on investment, 9 percent higher sales growth and 17 percent higher operating income growth than companies with poor environmental track records. Numbers like this tell a very powerful story about what the customer (and society) wants from your business.

An Earth-friendly image is important and will eventually set the standard for how every business operates. It can take your brand to the next level and gives your hotel a unique opportunity to increase both revenue and market share by aligning with the consumer’s emerging green focus. There are many benefits to choosing and implementing various environmentally sustainable strategies. These include:

Competitive Advantage + Increased Brand Value
The recognition that comes from making environmentally friendly changes to your business can have a tremendous effect on your reputation and ultimately, give you an advantage in the marketplace. There is a certain level of prestige that comes along with maintaining green operating practices that can give you a leg up in a very competitive market.

• Awards. There are many environmental accreditations and awards given to hotels for various green practices. Green Globe, Green Hotelier and Green Key are just a few of the many organizations that recognize eco-friendly players in the hospitality industry and promote responsible business agendas. This type of recognition can help attract new clientele, such as business travelers that want or need to conduct business with socially responsible companies.
• Green revenue growth. The green economic revolution is heading in a very lucrative direction. This is a multi-trillion-dollar global opportunity for growing and cementing customer loyalty as guests gravitate toward sustainability and global wellness.
• Create your own PR. The bottom line: going green gives you positive press. Your company will be associated with credible green organizations that your guests will recognize and appreciate.

Customer Loyalty + Recognition
The typical hotel guest of today is more sophisticated and likely to be conscious of environmental issues such as recycling bottles, cans and paper, as well as making greener lifestyle choices, such as consuming organic food or purchasing fuel-efficient vehicles and even small luxuries like green linens. First-time guests often base their decisions on location, amenities and reviews. But true customer loyalty (repeat business) may increase once guests have experienced a hotel that has demonstrated an impressive level of environmental commitment.

Many companies are now insisting that their traveling employees stay at hotels that do their part to improve the environment.

As we recognize that guests are increasingly concerned about social and environmental issues, sustainable development should also be placed high on the list of priorities for every hotel. It is becoming an integral part of a hotel’s growth plan. As previously mentioned, many companies are now insisting that their traveling employees stay at hotels that do their part to improve the environment. Contracting special rates and availability with companies like these creates a mutually beneficial partnership that only drives more constructive business.

 

Employee Retention

Hotel guests are not the only ones who care about the environment. Employees are also tuning into the green movement and are far more likely to identify with an employer whose principles and practices align with their own values. It’s important to generate enthusiasm and motivate employees to work as a team to achieve a common purpose, and an environmentally conscious mission does this with determined grace. Many hotel companies use environmental programs as a staff incentive—the financial savings earned are translated into cash or other rewards for staff such as in-house events, bonuses or even trips. Staff members are also likely to show an affinity for companies that protect their health by using green products. Green cleaning chemicals, for example are less toxic to the employees using them than their non-green counterparts.

Cost Savings
This is obviously the area that provides a majority of the incentive to making an environmental change to your property. There are many green practices that hotels can implement to save both time and money. Some of the easiest upgrades are listed below.

    Water-saving products (local utilities and government agencies offer rebates for water-saving equipment)

  • Sink aerators 
  • Low-flow showerheads 
  • Low-flow toilets  
  •  
Energy saving products

  • LED light bulbs 
  • Energy Efficient Guest room appliances  
  • In room recycling bins 
  • In-room water saving initiatives: Less frequent changing of sheets and towels (saves water, detergent and energy) 
  • Installation of renewable energy sources (i.e. solar panels)  
  • Refillable shampoo and body-wash dispensers (reduce waste output)  
  • Chlorine-free pool sanitation system

The ultimate result of these actions is a win-win situation: the reduction of hotel operational costs and minimizing harmful environmental impacts.

Regulatory Compliance
The hospitality industry worldwide is increasingly being regulated for:

Encourage guests to recycle by placing a recycling bin next to the trash bin in guest rooms.

  •  Water 
  •  Waste 
  •  Energy use 
  • Greenhouse gas emissions 

 

Hotels must consciously anticipate regulatory changes that will occur in the future and implement initiatives to offset the potential costly effects of

emerging regulation. Savvy businesses are aware that regulations shouldn’t be seen as a negative restraint on their daily operations—in fact, they can offer opportunities to gain an advantage over competitors.

Beyond regulation and compliance, many environmental and social initiatives are voluntary, but in the future, all businesses will be expected to run on an environmentally sustainable model. Whether driven by cost savings or a marketing strategy, the hospitality industry is recognizing the environment, the community and customer loyalty as valuable resources to be protected. Long-term business sustainability will depend on a genuine awareness and practice of environmentally friendly habits.

Essentially, the more green changes you make now, the further your hotel will be ahead of the curve. Any upfront expenses of making upgrades to more eco-friendly systems will be absorbed and paying for themselves ten fold in the long term.

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