Sustainable Strategies in Hospitality
Sustainability is defined as the ability “to meet the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” 1
For the hospitality industry, managing the infrastructure of buildings, facilities, and equipment is critical to the operational success of the hotel. At the same time, the hotel must comply with strict quality and safety guidelines, along with the many service-level standards to meet the needs of their most valuable assets—their guests. Hotels focus on top-line growth for revenue management, distribution strategies, and creating profitability via customer loyalty. Sustainability, on the other hand, is intrinsically difficult to quantify. Sustainability typically touches nearly all aspects of hotel enterprise ownership and management, necessitating the alignment of environmental, social, and financial factors to promote responsible business operations over time. Despite the lack of clear, universally accepted metrics, there is a noticeable shift toward sustainability, with momentum demonstrated by a growing number of sustainability programs and initiatives that have arisen both internally in the hospitality industry (via hotel owners, managers, and operators) and externally in the environmental community.
Sustainability practices in hospitality have been in play for the last 50 years, when hoteliers realized they could provide an enhanced guest experience by integrating natural elements into the resort experience. Key drivers for sustainability and green initiatives for hotels include:
- Earth summit encouraging nations to adopt stricter CO2 emission reduction guidelines
- Governments and local authorities providing tax incentives for companies to be more self-sustainable
- LEED certification to ensure buildings are self-sustainable
- Partnership arrangements between hotels and various organizations promoting sustainability
- Financial crisis that led to hotels emphasizing cost cutting measures
As a result, hotel companies have embarked on green initiatives and are looking at ways to implement sustainability that don’t interfere with profit. Energy consumption for HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) is one of the greatest expenses for hotels. With the right monitoring tools and enterprise asset management (EAM) software in place, hotels can realize significant cost savings on energy consumption and promote sustainability. Click here to learn how hospitality-specific EAM can support green initiatives and asset sustainability.
Read the City of Des Moines’ success story on being sustainable.
Learn simple tips and tricks on how to go green: Eco Tips for Green Hotels and Resorts.
Read the SHRM Foundation, the World Federation of People Management Associations (WFPMA), and the North American Human Resource Management Association (NAHRMA) report, HRM’s Role in Corporate Social and Environmental Sustainability.
1WCED (1987). Our common future. Oxford: Oxford University Press.