This past September, Marriott International announced its recommitment to climate stewardship, setting science-based emissions reduction targets with a long-term goal of reaching net-zero value chain greenhouse gas emissions by no later than 2050.
While Marriott’s long list of initiatives is truly admirable and aspirational for many hospitality businesses, you don’t need to be the world’s biggest hotel chain to make strides in going green.
Read on to unearth ideas that can be put into practice at your own property. Trying just one could make a difference with your leisure and group business—and help sprout massive, Earth-wide change!
What are the benefits of becoming an eco-friendly hotel or resort?
Guided by the 17 global priorities outlined in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, your hotel or resort can strive not only to lead through best practices in sustainability and closely support and connect with actions worldwide, but also to inspire every member of our industry to maximize their efforts.
Additionally, along with the significant good you’ll be doing for the planet and its people, expect an upswing in revenue. Event planners and their clients insist on sustainable event management. And last year, Booking.com surveyed travelers from 30 countries and affirmed that more of them are now seeking eco-friendly travel options.
The 2021 Sustainable Travel Report revealed that 83% think sustainable travel is “vital” and that 61% say the pandemic has made them want to travel more sustainably in the future. Plus, opportunity alert: 49% feel there still aren’t enough sustainable travel options available.
Nearly half of travelers say they consciously apply their own sustainability routines, such as turning off their room’s AC/heater and bringing a reusable water bottle, instead of buying/using bottled water. In fact, 53% confess to getting “annoyed” if their accommodations prevent them from acting sustainably (example: by not offering recycling).
Note that recently, Google integrated a new feature with which travelers searching for hotels will find an eco-certified badge next to the names of those meeting high standards of sustainability from organizations like Green Key or EarthCheck. They can also click on their “About” tab to discover more details about their efforts.
Bottom line: Reducing that carbon footprint grows increasingly crucial to travelers and planners—and to your revenue. But spread the word! Because your sustainability practices deeply affect their decisions on where to book, remember to proactively communicate about them to prospective and existing guests and clients.
The possibilities are practically endless…
Here are only some of the wise ways hotels and resorts can reduce their carbon footprint:
- Ditch single-use toiletries | Swap them for large, refillable bottles. Marriott anticipates that by doing so, they alone will prevent 500 million tiny plastic bottles from heading to landfills—annually! Anything beyond the basic shampoo, conditioner and soap can be made available by request.
- Install water refill stations | Toss the disposable plastic water bottles in rooms, in favor of handy water refill stations around the property. Another opportunity: Provide a reusable bottle with your logo on it, which guests can take and keep boosting your brand wherever they go.
- Embrace energy efficiency | Consider a light-colored roof, shade trees, upgraded appliances, LED lightbulbs and more.
- Adopt smart energy management | Ideas span keycard master switches, photosensors and timers that can turn off power and/or dim lighting, regulate thermostats, shut curtains and more automatically, to conserve energy when rooms/areas are empty/less trafficked.
- Switch to renewable energy sources | Rely less on fossil fuels for cooling, heating, cooking, refrigerating, lighting, etc.
- Buy from local suppliers | Not only is an authentic experience preferable to guests, you’ll also reduce the energy expended in long-distance transportation, extended refrigeration and extra packaging. This principle applies to everything from furniture and décor, to menus crafted from deliciously fresh ingredients.
- Avoid food waste, in addition to solid waste | Discarded food releases methane as it breaks down in landfills. Another option is to start converting food scraps into biogas, a renewable fuel that can be used for heating, electricity and more.
- Offer sustainable transportation | Around the property, use, loan or rent conveyances including bicycles, canoes, kayaks and electric golf carts.
- Conserve and restore forests and coastal and marine ecosystems | According to The Blue Carbon Initiative, “Blue carbon is the carbon stored in coastal and marine ecosystems…[such as] mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrasses… When degraded or destroyed, these ecosystems emit the carbon they have stored for centuries into the atmosphere and oceans and become sources of greenhouse gases.”
A couple of ways you can protect these critical habitats are by simply leaving them intact (if found on your property) and/or by buying carbon offsets.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Together with our clients, we’ve explored and fulfilled countless opportunities to reduce their carbon footprints—and to share their efforts with the world. Let’s talk about yours! Reach out to Lynn Kaniper at firstname.lastname@example.org or 609.466.9187, ext. 117.