Today we can see guests expecting hotels to operate some kind of sustainability program, but the industry still remain motivated more by price and convenience than concern for the environment, according to recent studies.The connection between
a sustainable hospitality approach and customer satisfaction is still weak compared to guests satisfaction drivers like quality rooms and food and beverage choices. Very often what happens is that guests want green hotels, but they're not going to support
initiatives with paying any extra. In addition, if those initiatives cause inconvenience, they will get angry and ultimately consider other choices. So, how to embrace sustainable operations while saving money and keeping guests happy at same time? This is
a question that poses a great threat to operations.
Below some of the best practices coming directly from leaders in the industry:
Green hotels shall measure everything:
Guests nowadays understand that serious sustainability requires a great level of knowledge and planning in hospitality operations and they ask specific questions about hotel practices.
That's why hotels need to provide real figures in numbers, by conducting a proper assessment of waste, energy and water usage, which means all green efforts in place should be measured.
In this way it is possible for guests to have a comparison when data are public between hotels practices related to energy and water usage, responsible consumption and wastage reduction practices. By reducing electricity consumption by 10 percent, a full-service hotel has same financial benefit as increasing the room rate by $1.35 according to recent studies.
Green hotels should also think small:
The public perception of a sustainable hotel involves very large improvements that are visible to guests, such as native plantings or rooftop solar panels, but the most popular sustainability programs involve small, low-cost changes, such as low-flow shower heads installation, LED lighting, energy-efficient appliances low-flow toilets.
Costs and benefits of certifications:
Hotels can earn various certification by adopting green practices, usually during preopening and for new constructions. A recent study by Cornell University's Center for Hospitality Research suggests that certified hotels perform better than non-certified competitors, for at least the first two years after certification. “This is a good indicator that shows how guests now choose their hotels based also on the sustainable practices in place there.
Green hotels should reward guests:
"Green" guests choose to participate in sustainability efforts when they receive something in return, such as loyalty program points.
It doesn't have to be always and only a monetary reward. Significant are the results obtained by a business eco-hotel in Mumbai, where when a guest presses a button, the air-conditioning temperature rises by two degrees, and a certificate of appreciation is granted to the guest. This is a very simple, effective strategy that saves the hotel money in the long run and at same time make the guest feel part of an important strategy.