Sustainability remains at the forefront of evolving business practices and whilst the hospitality industry is progressively demonstrating a shift towards turning ‘green’, it can no longer rely merely on outdated sustainability practices, such as towel reuse programs.
Today’s consumers are more conscious and aware than ever before and demand more impactful eco-friendly efforts.
A survey conducted by the U.N. World Tourism Organization claims that approximately 1.6 billion trips will be eco-inspired by 2020.
Increasing consumer sentiment and corporate social responsibility towards sustainability are pushing for the industry to adapt.
The Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership announced that the tourism industry is responsible for approximately 5% of global carbon emissions.
The shift to sustainable practices is not going to happen overnight so what are the ways owners and operators can increase their sustainable practices today?
We have featured some initial ideas of how technology can enable significant changes to both increased sustainability and long-term cost savings:
Renewable Energy Production
In recent years, we have started to see a shift within hotels towards renewable energy production as a form of reliable and ‘clean’ power.
Through the use of systems such as Install solar photovoltaic (PV) systems or combined heat and power (CHP) fuel cells for onsite energy generation, hotels can reduce dependence on fossil fuel sources as well as utility costs.
Several hotels are already leading the way. In the Maldives, a five-star resort has installed an impressive 6000sqm solar photovoltaic system which allows them to rely solely on sunlight for energy production.
In Nevada, a geothermal system has been built under the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino hotel allowing them to use the ground as their main source of energy.
Another impressive example is the Hilton of Fort Lauderdale hotel that has combined green power and design through the installation of six wind turbines which now sit proudly on the roof of the hotel.
Smart energy management
Adopting smart energy management can be beneficial for both guests and hotel owners.
Today’s guests are more aware of their consumption practices and will tend to pick eco-friendly hotels and destinations more than ever.
Opting for tech-enabled energy management is also cost-efficient. The use of sensors can lead to savings of 30-50% on lighting costs.
Additionally, sensors can detect if a guest has left the room and adjust the heating, accordingly, turn off lights, and even notify the cleaning staff that a room is ready to be cleaned.
Besides having control programs, sensors can also collect useful data which through detailed analysis, can be used to identify trends and drive efficiency.
Another efficient way for hotel owners to conserve energy is to implement the use of LED light bulbs.
These are known to use approximately 75% less energy and lasts 25 times longer than incandescent lighting.
As well as conserving energy, the use of LED light can also enhance the customer experience through colour changing and time adapting capabilities.
Food waste management technology
Annually, hotels in the U.K. alone produce about 79,000 tonnes of food waste.
This represents a high cost to the hotel industry which is estimated at around £318 million. Reducing food waste is therefore beneficial both for the planet and the economy.
Some hospitality professionals are already using smart bins to track waste in kitchens.
Another way of reducing food waste is not only collecting data from the kitchens but from the customers themselves.
Operational platforms could be used to gather data around food preferences to allow kitchens to propose more tailor-made menus.
In this way, the kitchen would order the right amount of food and thus avoid unneeded products ending up in the bin.
The above illustrations are only a few examples of how hospitality professionals could improve their sustainable practices with the help of technology to meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals in a faster and more efficient way.