Today, more and more travelers are taking into account ecological criteria when selecting accommodation. As a hotelier, it is important to know how to highlight your eco-responsible side to your customers. In addition, reducing your carbon footprint will also help you reduce your operating costs: it’s a win-win commitment!
If you want your hotel to become part of the green properties saving the environment, here are some ideas to follow:
Support local businesses
Encourage the short circuit by choosing food from local production to minimise transportation. This way, you will reduce your impact on the environment while helping the local economy.
Manage food waste
Food waste makes up a big part of hotels’ carbon footprint. Local organisations would be more than happy to take care of your surplus of food. You can also sell meals on apps such as TooGoodTooGo,
Another alternative would be to compost food waste and use it as an organic fertilizer for landscaping! Once again, this will allow you to save and highlight your green side to your guests.
Recycle, recycle and recycle!
Another huge impact the hospitality industry has on the environment is due to the amount of waste hotels create. It's time to embrace recycling! There’s so much to do in this field, it is all about creativity! Why not create cloth laundry bags from old sheets? Or offer organic soap in large containers to your customers and reuse leftover products to make soap again? You will avoid packaging and waste at the same time!
These are the sort of initiatives that can make a long term difference when put into practice.
Furnish your property with recycled furniture
Give a second wind to quality furniture while saving money! French multinational hospitality company Accor owns two locally engaged hotels, Greet, that use upcycled furniture sourced from flea markets.
The nice thing about recycled furniture is that it attracts curiosity, as there is always a story behind every object. Besides, it is becoming trendy, so now is the time!
Join an eco-certified label
Joining an eco-certified label will ensure that you meet the expected criteria and will be a guarantee of your eco-responsible commitment to your customers and potential partners. There are different eco-labels depending on your type of property. Here are some ideas of labels you could join.
European Ecolabel for Tourist Accommodations
This label is used throughout the European Union and sites can be labelled all over the world. In order to be granted the label, your property will have to meet a set of criteria regarding water and energy-saving measures and waste sorting. Requirements are quite high but the European Ecolabel is probably the best known eco-certified label in Europe.
More info here.
The Green Key award is a leading standard of excellence in the field of environmental responsibility and sustainable operation within the tourism industry. This eco-label is very well known in Europe and North Africa and has very high environmental standards expected; based on the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), rigorous documentation, and frequent edits.
More info here.
Green Globe is a worldwide renowned eco-label. It is positioned as the standard for managing sustainability in the tourism industry. It includes multiple actors of the travel industry (properties, restaurants, amusement parks etc.). Companies with the Green Globe label fulfill a series of sustainability conditions based on four criteria: responsible management, cultural heritage, environment, economic and social matters. This label is perfectly adapted to independent properties.
More info here.
Choose your cleaning products carefully
There are many equally effective alternatives to chemical cleaning products. Some labels recommend them.
Regulate your water consumption
There are so many ways hotels can save water: installing a wastewater system, using low water usage washing machines, or installing water fountains to reduce the use of plastic bottles for your guests. Though seemingly small, changes like these can reduce your hotel’s carbon footprint substantially.
Install energy-saving technologies
It has been estimated that 75% of hotels' environmental impacts can be directly related to excessive consumption—including energy consumption. Installing energy-efficient technologies such as appliances, lighting, heating, and cooling systems can make a difference for both the environment and your property’s operating costs.
If your accommodation is located in a sunny area, installing solar panels can be a real penny saver because you will benefit from a renewable energy source and also make significant savings in the medium or long term.
Offer responsible activities to your guests
No matter where your property is located, there are always fun activities to do around! Instead of offering karting or boat rides to your customers, go for a bicycle outing, a hiking trail or a kayak trip!
And finally: encourage your guests to be green!
Let your employees and guests know about your approach, they will be happy to contribute!
Put cards in each room asking guests to turn out the lights when they leave, or reuse towels if possible. Make recycling bins readily available to guests and be sure that they are aware of your green programs.
When guests see that your hotel is making an effort to help the environment, they will generally want to do their part as well. For your guests as well as for you, the environment is becoming a key issue. Make it matter!