Post-COVID Initiatives for a sustainable hospitality in the tourism sector
As social impact and a more responsible approach are today a driver in the way consumers choose their destination and hotels, we can see how environmental awareness is evolving around the way both tourists and businesses approach the issue and try to tackle the related problems. It is no mystery that companies willing to invest on long-term innovative transformations were so far able to perform better than companies that could not find proper solutions and initiatives related to environmental and social problems. New consumers and new concerns emerge in the post-Covid era, and the interest for environment and social matters has reached an all-time high in every demographics segment, where every tourist is well aware of the cost on the planet of services that are simply not sustainable. As highlighted by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), sustainability shall be at the core of tourism’s re-birth and should become the new normal in every part of the tourism sector. From luxury travel to a more down to earth form of tourism, implementing more environmentally friendly solutions is something that businesses now consider a priority. Companies today are investing more financial resources to energy savings building features and initiatives that aim to reduce waste for example. As 73% of Millennials are willing to spend more with businesses that have in place sustainable and socially conscious practices, owners understand how in the long run their expenditure toward this new approach will be rewarded and at same time will contribute to a faster recovery.
Local sourcing and partnerships to grow together
As there is the need of getting out of the post pandemic related problem together, many professionals in the hospitality sectors understand that more options and solutions are available closer to home. Now is a great time to create partnerships with businesses in the local areas and reinforce strategically these new alliances to create longer lasting strategies to grow together. Eco conscious guests will be happy to find out how their money impact in a positive way local economies and small family businesses that can offer fresher and more high quality food or other local products. Owners can also market these initiatives through digital channels and keep the conversation running when explaining the reasons behind these initiatives. Through local sourcing of seasonal foods for example, is also easier to tackle food waste, as produce is less likely to spoil because the long distance travel's negative impact is reduced.
Another important factor for a more sustainable hospitality is the importance of benchmarking, as understanding what are the improvements in this journey also leads toward a clear direction for better future sustainable initiatives. An initiative to create a common and globally recognized definition for hotel sustainability has been launched recently in order to promote sustainable travel and tourism. The Basic Sustainability Framework is available to every hotels worldwide to offer an important tool to improve their environmental impact and their practices, all this to have a much needed positive impact on people and planet. Some focus areas are in energy, waste and water management, eco-design, food security, sustainable food and beverage management and finally corporate social responsibility.