Sustainability in hotels: 5 Ways to Recognize a Sustainable Hotel

April 17, 2023
Sustainability in hotels: 5 Ways to Recognize a Sustainable Hotel
Sustainability in hotels- Ditch plastic bottles

The hotel sector contributes about 1% of the world's carbon emissions, and this percentage isn't declining. The research conducted by Sustainable Hospitality Alliance found that by 2030 and by 2050, the hotel business must reduce its carbon emissions per room by 66% and 90%, respectively. This is necessary to prevent a similar rise in carbon emissions as a result of future growth projections. As a result of this, sustainability in hotels has become a hot topic of discussion these days.

Therefore, hotels all around the world have started adopting sustainable practices to lessen their environmental impact. For instance, Element New York Times Square West in New York mounts art on the walls using recycled tires creates a program to reuse towels, and stops using plastic cutlery. NH Hotels has implemented water recovery and reutilization systems to reduce water consumption.

Well, everything is different from what it seems! This growing concern for green travel has led to greenwashing- a method of misleading customers into thinking that the hotel's operations are environment-friendly. Now, the issue that frequently crosses travelers' thoughts is how to tell whether the hotel they are booking is genuinely eco-friendly or is just pretending to be.

To help you with this, our blog will briefly explain the concept of sustainability in hotels and discuss the guidelines you should follow to determine whether a hotel is eco-friendly!

Sustainability in Hotels Explained

The term "sustainability in hotels" refers to the actions taken by hotels to lessen their environmental impact by reducing energy waste, promoting alternative energy sources, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

A hotel is said to be sustainable if it does the following :

  • Reduces energy consumption.
  • Minimizes food and plastic waste.
  • Digitizes the customer experience through automation.
  • Implements practices to decrease water consumption.
  • Adopts sustainable means of transportation.
  • Uses non-toxic, environmentally friendly products.

All of these techniques will have a favorable future for sustainability if they are implemented and maintained.

5 Ways to Recognize a Sustainable Hotel

Due to the emerging concept of "greenwashing,” travelers now need help to distinguish between hotels that are genuinely implementing eco-friendly procedures and those that are merely claiming to do so.

Let’s dive straight into the 5 guidelines that will help you identify the hotels that are actually investing time and resources to lessen their carbon footprint.

1. Presence of a sustainable certification

There are many credible environment certification agencies to accredit sustainability in hotels, such as Earth Check, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), Green Globe, Trip Advisor Green Leaders, Green Key Global, Green Seal, and Travelife. These are the top certifications in the world that guarantee a hotel's support of sustainable practices and its provision of high-quality, sustainable tourist experiences in the area. If you go to a hotel's website and don’t find this information, contact the hotel and ask for it. Remember that these certifications are expensive, and if you are planning to stay in a smaller hotel, it might be difficult for them to have them. So, please don't judge the accommodation providers; instead, contact the hotel and ask for it.

2. Presence of a sustainability report

Any hotel genuinely concerned and committed to protecting the environment will always have a sustainability report on its website, for example, the Marriott hotels sustainability report and Hilton hotels report. The report will outline all the environmentally friendly practices the hotel has been taking, a clear indication of its dedication to lowering its carbon footprint, a history of the hotel's water conservation efforts, and a record of its carbon emissions through time. In addition, the report should have a section explaining the framework the hotel uses to measure sustainability and a guarantee from a third-party organization that the information given by the hotel is correct.

3. Close collaboration with the local community

Remember, hotels that emphasize sustainability will empower their local communities as well. These hotels know the importance of including the local communities in protecting the environment. For ages, local communities have had a deeper relationship with nature and know several hidden truths about the region they belong to. By acting together, the hotels and the local communities can make a huge difference in reducing the carbon footprint.

Now the question coming into your mind must be: ‘How can hotels work closely with the local communities?’ This can be achieved by employing locals, providing them with the necessary training, by paying them fairly and by supporting community initiatives that are both sustainable while encouraging the preservation of cultural traditions. By collaborating with local communities, the hotels will have a better understanding of the neighbourhood and practical methods for managing operations and using resources wisely while minimizing their environmental impact.

4. Guest Involvement

A hotel dedicated to being environment-friendly will inspire its guests to follow the practices that it has been implementing. For example, using reusable water bottles and renting eco-friendly bicycles for short-distance travel. The staff can enhance the involvement of guests for sustainability in hotels by providing incentives for guests who want to be part of sustainable initiatives by hosting environment-friendly events.

Any hotel that uses eco-friendly procedures would understand the value of incorporating guests in those activities since joint efforts are more effective than alone. What the guests learn from the hotel's values and incorporate into their daily lives is more important than just what they experience while staying at the hotel.

5. Look for a holistic approach towards sustainability

In your journey of identifying whether any hotel is eco-friendly, you will come across a majority of hotels that have made a few changes, like switching to energy-efficient bulbs and using organic shampoos. Still, it does not necessarily mean that the hotel is environmentally responsible. A hotel is probably engaging in "greenwashing" if it brags about its efforts to minimize its environmental effect just because it has implemented one or two of those modifications. Hence, always look for a bigger picture, a holistic approach towards sustainability.

Be picky about the smaller details. Is the hotel supplying single-use, little plastic bottles of organic shampoo? Are they urging you to reuse towels to conserve water but are silent about their energy use? Hotels serious about sustainability will go above and beyond and will sincerely use less plastic, invest in renewable energy, and limit water waste. Analyze what steps they have been taking in the past in order to ensure sustainability and whether they have a detailed plan for the future on what should be done to curb the increasing carbon footprint.

Wrapping Up

The blog has come to an end. We hope that you have enjoyed reading this and will now be able to tell which hotels are genuinely implementing sustainable policies and which are not. Before selecting your place of stay, remember to look into the minor details, as greenwashing can be easily misinterpreted as sustainability in hotels.

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