Financial Benefits of Sustainable Hotels and Travel

The Benefits Of Sustainability For Hotels

Sustainability is more than just a 2020 buzzword. No business can ignore the eco impetus and, as travellers become increasingly conscious of their carbon footprint, hoteliers must give sustainability serious consideration. And there are few reasons not to; far from being a cost-increasing fad, green policies can bring major environmental, financial and promotional gains.

Rising ECO Consumerism

No one could enter 2020 unaware of environmental issues. The end of 2019 saw major Extinction Rebellion action and its continued prominence in the media confirms that sustainable issues are critical amidst today’s Millennials. Plastic is a second hot topic following the hard-hitting content documented by Sir David Attenborough on Blue Planet II, while ethical veganism, another major movement, has been on the rise for some years. From streets to screens to supermarkets, the eco-friendly approach is permeating every aspect of our lives, and hotels cannot ignore this vital global drive.

Ethical Purchasing Decisions

Indeed, current hospitality trends are tending ever more persuasively towards eco issues as client appetites become driven by environmental concerns. Many guests would now call themselves a ‘conscious consumer’. They want, in other words, to spend their money in places that have purpose. Eschewing wasteful extras like over washed towels in favour of eco-aware hotel providers, the conscious consumer seeks top quality service that aligns with their sustainability values.

Experiential Travel Choices

Another trend – inextricably linked to environmental issues – is the rise of experiential travel. Sometimes called essentialism, invested travel or immersion travel, we are seeing a desire to more fully embed ourselves in the locations and hotels we visit. Today’s luxury consumer wants to be a traveller rather than a tourist; research by Global Web Index, for instance, shows that:

“Half of all holidaymakers wish to learn about and genuinely experience

new destinations and embrace its history, culture and people”

Independent hotels should take note: invested in the features and heritage of their locations, one-off hotels are ready made for experiential success.

Pioneering Sustainable Hotels

There is not a single route to achieving stunningly sustainable experiences. The eclectic variety of hotels promoting environmental issues shows just how exciting and wide-ranging are the approaches to eco hospitality.

A sustainable hotel might be chic, silver-lined and glistening:

  • Theatreland’s One Aldwych  for instance, has won a whole host of sustainability awards and stylishly aligns eco-friendly features alongside its cutting-edge artworks and top-quality cuisine.
  • Ham Yard Hotel is another ultra-fashionable, artistically minded hotel promoting an environmental ethos.
  • Kit Kemp’s Soho Hotel has, like One Aldwych, received formal recognition for its green principles (here it’s the BREEAM Excellent Rating) thanks to its subtle, stylish integration of sustainability features like green roofs and water consumption monitoring alongside its stunning interiors.

Alternatively, hoteliers might create a more hands-on feel through rustic interiors and back-to-nature materials.

  • The Pig Hotels are fantastic examples; each of their six properties prides itself on their distinctive ‘tumble-down charm’ and guarantees a hospitality approach rooted in sustainability practise. With a freshly foraged menu and oak-clad interiors, each Pig hotel has a heartening garden shed appeal assuring guests of its green values, and the group maintains that their primary motive is to show that ‘you can succeed as a business in a natural and environmentally correct way’.

Other hotels offering an outdoorsy atmosphere in boutique settings include Treehouse London and the Artists Residence Hotel Collection – each endearingly individual and keen to be green.

What is clear is that embracing the sustainability impetus opens up exciting and inspiring ways for hotels to carve unique experiences the 2020 traveller is going to admire – and pay for.

Low And High ECO Investments For Hotels

Whatever its personality, there are infinite ways a hotel can meet today’s sustainability goals, from the simple to the high investment.

Low cost ways to adopt a greener approach include:

  • Installing LED lighting
  • Reducing the washing of guest towels to every other day
  • Replacing those half-used toiletry bottles with bulk dispensers
  • Many top hotels, meanwhile, are cutting their usage of plastic bottles. The Radisson Hotel Group, for instance, is phasing out all single use plastics
  • Reducing Food waste reducing average cost of avoidable food waste per cover by £0.52 according to Guardians for Grub

Guardians of Grub provide resources to hotels, hospitality and restaurants to efficiently reduce wastage and save costs. According to Too Good To Go “1/3 of all food produced is wasted” but could the unsold edible food could be consumed.

Gianni Salvadori, Head of Business Travel and MICE Sales at Meliá Hotels International, also explained to us how Meliá are reducing travel for internal teams by opting for video conferencing rather than face-to-face seminars. This cuts carbon emissions, slashes travel costs, saves on employees’ commuting time and increases wellbeing – resulting in improved productivity.

Features requiring more investment include:

  • Installing up-to-date water systems
  • Renewables – Solar PV, Solar Thermal, Ground and air source heat pumps
  • Electric car charging stations
  • Reducing waste to landfill as Best Western Hotel Bath currently do by 72%

Such alterations can be costly in both time and money, but the long-term gains will be substantial.

Return On ECO Investment

Holiday Inn Vancouver, for instance, has so far calculated savings of approximately $16,000 since installing energy management systems. The U.S. EPA, meanwhile, calculates that a 10% reduction in energy consumption could have the same financial wins as an ADR increase of $1.35. Good for the planet, good for the pocket!

Adopting an environmental policy can bring many more benefits to hotel owners increasing RevPar and reducing operating costs. Alongside reduced running costs, green policies increase revenue as guests accept small price rises; a recent study conducted by TripAdvisor found 34% of travellers to be willing to pay more to stay at earth-friendly hotels.

Increasing Brand Equity

Another major benefit is the marketing boost gained by going green; an eco-friendly hotel creates its own PR, brand and reputation.

Many travel websites and grading organisations offer awards to top performing sustainable hotels. These include, but are certainly not limited to:

Travel providers like Kiwi Collection also grant awards and winning any number of these brings the undeniable perk of positive press and social media exposure.

What’s more, the rise in websites aiming to inform the sustainably savvy traveller (think Green Hotelier and TripAdvisor GreenLeaders) means that green hotels will increase their publicity, online ratings, overall online presence – and bookings.

Beautiful locations, gorgeous spas, five-star cuisine – these are all essential, but the key route to success this year and going forward is a genuine sustainable strategy.

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Article Author: Ellie Loxton – Intern at Sparks4Growth