The past few years have certainly been difficult for the travel and tourism industry, not only due to Covid, but also due to major environmental issues around the world. From north to south, from east to west, many countries have been affected by events ranging from air pollution and droughts to wildfires and sea level rise. Leisure and business travelers alike have new priorities and needs. Sustainability is more important than ever in both segments. The role of sustainability in the hospitality industry has become a big topic: the sector is now responsible for around 1% of direct global carbon emissions. Numerous hotels have had to spend serious amounts of time thinking about their long-term impact while considering financial performance. Though sustainable practices can sometimes require an initial investment, using innovative and environmentally friendly technology can lead to long-term cost savings.
SOURCE : Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok – hotel operating with WiseFins
Sustainability and the COVID-19 crisis
Several changes can be seen in the relationships between sustainability and the hospitality industry following the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. While the sanitary crisis may have produced some, possibly short-term, environmental benefits, it has also had a devastating impact on economies and societies across the world. The crisis highlights the necessity of leading players in the industry to listen to growing demands from their customers; taking direct actions in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by focusing on renewable energies, as well as making a true commitment in adopting circular economy principles. That said, such changes have major implications for the hospitality industry’s traditional business models. Nevertheless, it is impossible to ignore the reality that the COVID-19 crisis has wrought havoc on the world’s financial markets and has reduced capital availability. This will force major players in the hospitality industry to focus their accessible financial resources on their core business.
Can the hospitality sector afford sustainability?
The landscape for hospitality has changed permanently. The sector has an opportunity to lead in sustainability as growth picks up. The benefits of hospitality are clear: matching with customers’ values and desire to be able to travel sustainably; winning back business travelers as corporates bear down on their carbon emissions; capitalizing on the growing willingness of consumers to pay a little more for sustainability; and playing its part in the global effort to limit temperature rises and avoid catastrophic climate change. Thriving in the new world means putting sustainability at the heart of the strategy for recovery. Many of the major players in the hospitality industry have emphasized their commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aimed at achieving a global transition to a more sustainable and resilient future. Despite the growing importance of sustainability for both leisure and business travelers, parts of the travel industry still struggle to justify it financially. Accenture Managing Director, Daniel Kowalewski, said: “Businesses are in a quandary. When cash flows are so disrupted by the pandemic, this is a real dilemma. But the question is not whether the industry can afford to be more sustainable, but whether it can afford to keep up with evolving customer expectations.”
SOURCE : Grand Hyatt Singapore – hotel operating with WiseFins
Meeting customers’ new expectations
Hotel and restaurant managers can no longer expect that offering an amazing experience in terms of service, amenities, food, design or location is enough to attract and retain guests.Sustainability now greatly influences people’s lifestyle choices and how they behave, and it has undoubtedly become a key decision driver. Consumers are increasingly trying to stay away from brands that don’t align with their values. According to a study launched by Booking.com, 83% of global travelers think sustainable travel is vital, with 61% adding that the pandemic has made them want to travel more sustainably in the future. Other studies also suggest they’re increasingly prepared to pay a premium for those that do especially for the millennials and Gen Zs generations. Indeed, 83% of 25- to 34-year-olds are willing to pay more for sustainable travel options. More than ever, guests expect sustainability to be a standard feature of hotels just as they expect excellent service and Wifi. A hotel’s commitment to sustainability has the added benefit of a positive public image and internal communications. Communicating successful sustainability practices to past, present, and potential guests, is truly a matter of reputation management. The return on investment for hotel decarbonization could be substantial, relatively quickly : a study found that such investments could yield internal returns of 38% after five years. Many of the hospitality industry’s major players have stressed that hotel companies struggling to engage with customers are vulnerable to greener competitors.
Sustainable actions for your hotel
Sustainability is not unattainable for any hotel, but quite the opposite. With the right solution, hospitality properties can adopt sustainable business strategies to improve efficiency and attract more and more customers. To differentiate, hotels and restaurants can focus on different key aspects: rethinking food sources, decreasing food waste or even investing in decarbonization. The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance has calculated that hospitality needs to reduce carbon emissions by at least 66% by 2030, and 90% by 2050, based on 2010 levels. That level of decarbonization will require some investment—but the cost:benefit ratio is constantly improving. Companies such as Google or Booking.com are introducing an eco-certification to their search engine filters which will undoubtedly encourage more customers to make low-impact choices. It is in the interest of hotels around the world to make the necessary changes in order to be seen as valuable lodging destinations. How to implement decarbonization initiatives? Simplifying the process by which a hotel or restaurant conducts its sustainable operations is one of the most important aspects of a successful sustainable business strategy. The implementation of a planet-driven software can help to reduce the environmental footprint in various hotel areas such as rooms, wellness, or restaurant. Using an environmental solution for your restaurant will highly reduce your property’s total carbon footprint. In fact, the global food industry is responsible for ⅓ of global greenhouse gas emissions. For instance, WiseFins offers a 3-in-1 software that reduces restaurants’ environmental impact while optimising food and beverage costs. Hotels and restaurants using WiseFins have already reduced their carbon footprint by 30 tons and increased their profit margin by at least 15%.
SOURCE : Grand Hyatt Singapore – hotel operating with WiseFins
Conclusion : Think outside the box
Adapting and reducing hotels’ environmental footprint is undoubtedly a major challenge for the entire hotel industry. When we think about sustainability, often the first things that come to mind are the old standards like recycling bins and solar panels. However, sustainable practices come in a myriad of shapes and forms, and it’s important to do your research to determine which solutions will best suit your business model and local needs. Above all, it aims to maximize environmental impact while protecting profits and profitability. Are you thinking of becoming a sustainable hotelier?DISCOVER WISEFINS