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An eco-friendly hotel is not just about greenwashing – i.e. making your hotel sound more appealing to attract more people – it's about a real commitment to the environment that’s necessary in order for the hospitality industry to take an active role in protecting the planet. It's a positive trend that is here to stay, and there’s no time like the present to get involved.
But what exactly is an eco-friendly hotel and how can you make your hotel more sustainable? Keep reading to find out more.
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What is an eco-friendly hotel?
An eco-friendly hotel is a hotel that’s committed to reducing its carbon footprint, which it does by implementing a series of sustainable actions such as installing solar panels, reducing waste, favoring cleaning products that are non-toxic and biodegradable, and reducing both energy and water consumption.
They also take care of their footprint by buying products that are produced locally to avoid excessive carbon emissions, retrofitting their facilities for use of alternative energy, and reusing gray water for watering plants. There are many ways to become an eco-friendly hotel, and we’ll provide some tips below. It's important to keep in mind that going eco is not only better for the environment, it's also more cost-effective.
11 ideas for eco-friendly hotels
As people become more and more conscious about the environment, it's important to know what you can do to be more sustainable. Or if you want to create an eco-friendly hotel from scratch, you know where to start.
Give back to your community
Giving back to the community is an important part of being sustainable. Supporting the local community, whether that's buying produce from local farmers or working with local artisans to create eco-friendly soaps and amenities, helps reduce your environmental impact by taking away your reliance on industrial production, which is responsible for a lot of greenhouse emissions every year.
You can also hire locals or support visits to local communities so that tourists directly invest in the economy instead of in generic mass produced goods. The circular economy is key to fomenting a sustainable tourism model.
Reduce waste created in the check-in process
Eco-friendly hotels should care about reducing waste during every step of the guest journey. That means creating a seamless digital journey that creates no paper or waste with the help of mobile check-in and a check-in kiosk. Instead of cutting new keys every time, you can use technology to create digital entry into rooms with keyless entry.
Reusable water bottles
As the famous saying goes, “reduce, reuse and recycle.” Reusable water bottles are a great example of reusing. Not only is providing guests with reusable bottles more environmentally friendly, it’s also a great marketing tool once guests leave your property as every time they use their water bottles they will be inadvertently promoting your hotel.
Smart rooms are not only good for increasing guest satisfaction, they are also great for the environment. You can install smart energy management systems into your rooms that have climate control and automatically shut off when the room is unoccupied. They also allow you to control electricity use and water use more easily and efficiently.
Why not install solar panels to reduce your hotel's reliance on the grid, or rely on alternative energy sources and companies? You can even reduce air-conditioning and heating use by installing radiant floors that more efficiently heat from the ground up, or install trees around the property that create shade, cooling the building naturally.
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This may seem like an easy solution, but the hospitality industry is one of the industries that produces most waste. Recycling is often not provided in the rooms or within the facilities, so make sure to provide in-room recycling options as well as various stations around your hotel. Within your restaurant, make sure your staff is recycling correctly, and encourage composting of food waste.
With the hospitality and food industries creating lots of food waste, there's no better way to go eco than creating a compost with the food scraps. You can then use this compost to give nutrient-rich soil to your plants, which is an amazing full-circle and great for waste-reduction. You can even plant a garden as well and use the compost as fertilizer.
Install LED lights and motion sensors
Use LED lights, which are even better than energy-efficient bulbs because they last longer and have to be replaced less often. Instead of keeping the lights on all the time around the hotel, you can install motion sensors that turn the lights on when movement is detected. This will cut your electricity costs and at the same time help save on unnecessary energy waste.
Get rid of single-use plastic
Amenities are often individual, small one-time plastic bottles that are thrown away after one use. Why not have attractive soap and shampoo dispensers that can be refilled, reducing plastic consumption and waste.
Use gray water or rainwater when possible
Use gray water and rainwater to water plants, flush toilets, and for any water use that doesn't require drinking water. There are also some systems available that allow you to isolate the energy from the hot water from showers and reuse it. With much of the world in a drought, this is one of the most eco-friendly decisions you can make.
Educate your staff
It may not necessarily be an eco-friendly idea, but it is actually the eco-friendliest idea of all. Not everyone is raised to be conscious about the environment, so it's important to work sensibility around the topic into your training schedule. Upskill your staff about ways they can contribute to making your hotel greener, and have them be active participants in the process. They will be more committed and the whole process of going green will be more effective and lasting.
We've looked at what is an eco-friendly hotel and some ideas to make your hotel more eco-friendly. The benefits of incorporating these eco ideas into your hotel's modus operandi is that you can save money, protect the environment, differentiate yourself from the competition and provide an incomparable guest experience by leveraging more sustainable energy choices that prove your commitment to the environment.
More and more guests are choosing hotels for their unique value proposition, and there is no better value proposition than a commitment to the environment. It's good for your brand, and it's good for the world, and driving engagement is key to customer loyalty. So why not go eco?
Your guide to going green
Sustainability should be at the heart of your property's operations, but it can be hard to know where to start. The Green Hotel of the Future will tell you how.
Our guide will help you become more eco-conscious with practical advice and inspiration, which in turn should also help you cut costs.
Eva has over a decade of international experience in marketing, communication, events and digital marketing. When she's not at work, she's probably surfing, dancing, or exploring the world.
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