The hospitality industry is a major contributor to climate change and environmental degradation. Hotels, restaurants, and other businesses in the industry consume a lot of energy, water, and other resources. They also produce a lot of waste. For these reasons, it has become common practice at hotels and other lodging properties to talk about sustainability in hospitality.
Sustainability in hospitality is tricky for a couple of reasons. First, hospitality is often about luxury. When people go on vacation they want to feel special and they want experiences that are extraordinary compared to their everyday lifestyle. The problem with this is that sustainability and luxury can often be at odds with one another.
The second problem that hospitality faces is that tourism often revolves around natural wonders. People often travel to visit mountains, lakes, beaches, and other natural landmarks. The problem faced with hospitality and tourism is that the more people visiting these landmarks, the more degradation they face overtime, yet businesses in the area still need to promote themselves or they face going out of business. In either case tourism is not sustainable because either the landmark was destroyed over time or the businesses in the area went out of business.
However, there are many ways for the hospitality industry to become more sustainable. I have been working in the hospitality industry over the course of two years now and would like to list out some observations about sustainability in hospitality based on my experiences and research.
Some Steps for Sustainability in Hospitality
Using renewable energy sources
Hotels and restaurants can install solar panels or wind turbines to generate their own electricity. I have noticed this particularly in hotels in desert regions. For instance some hotels in Las Vegas have small placards in their rooms that state how much of their property’s energy is produced by solar panels.
Lodging properties can also use energy-efficient appliances and lighting.
Hotels can install low-flow toilets and faucets, and they can recycle wastewater. Restaurants can use water-saving appliances and practices, such as pre-rinsing dishes.
Hotels and restaurants can compost food waste, recycle paper, plastic, and glass, and reduce their use of single-use plastics.
Reducing waste requires two things. Number one the business must have the space to store compost or sort recycling, which may be more difficult for urban properties. Second, the business needs a local government that is supportive of recycling.
Supporting local businesses
Hotels and restaurants can buy food and other products from local suppliers. This helps to reduce the environmental impact of transportation.
Using local supplies especially food can have a positive impact on the environment by decreasing the businesses environmental footprint.
Hotels and restaurants can educate their guests about sustainability and how they can help. This can include providing recycling bins, offering sustainable travel options, and promoting energy-saving practices.
Lodging properties could be creative by adding educational experiences to their guest amenities. Something like a small museum to educate guests on the history of the area or a garden with educational information on local plant life. By adopting sustainable practices, the hospitality industry can help to protect the environment and create a more sustainable future.
The benefits of sustainability in hospitality
There are many benefits to sustainability in the hospitality industry. These benefits include:
- Reduced environmental impact: By reducing their environmental impact, hotels and restaurants can help to protect the planet. This includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions, conserving water, and reducing waste.
- Cost savings: Sustainable practices can save hotels and restaurants money. For example, installing solar panels can reduce energy costs, and using energy-efficient appliances can save money on electricity bills.
- Improved reputation: Hotels and restaurants that are seen as being sustainable can attract more customers. This is because many people are now looking for sustainable options when they travel.
- Increased employee satisfaction: Employees are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs if they work for a company that is committed to sustainability. This is because they know that they are making a positive impact on the environment.
The future of sustainability in hospitality
The hospitality industry is increasingly adopting sustainable practices. This is due to a number of factors, including the growing awareness of climate change, the increasing demand for sustainable travel, and the financial benefits of sustainability.
The future of sustainability in hospitality looks bright. As more and more hotels and restaurants adopt sustainable practices, the industry will become more environmentally friendly and attract more customers.
What can you do to promote sustainability in the hospitality industry?
There are many things that you can do to promote sustainability in the hospitality industry. These include:
- Choose sustainable hotels and restaurants when you travel. Look for hotels and restaurants that are certified by a sustainability organization, such as the Green Seal or the Sustainable Travel International.
- Ask hotels and restaurants about their sustainability practices. Let them know that you are interested in staying at or eating at businesses that are committed to sustainability.
- Support businesses that are working to be more sustainable. This includes buying food and other products from local suppliers, and choosing businesses that use renewable energy sources.
- Educate yourself about sustainability in the hospitality industry. The more you know about sustainability, the better equipped you will be to make sustainable choices when you travel.
By taking these steps, you can help to promote sustainability in the hospitality industry and make a positive impact on the environment.