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Ethical practices in hotels help hoteliers ensure guest and employee satisfaction while protecting the brand's reputation. Fostering an environment based on mutual respect between guests and staff is crucial for ongoing success.
Ethics is the backbone of remarkable hospitality, so let's explore the must-know ethical practices in hotels. We'll also discuss the best ways to adopt an ethical mindset.
What is ethics in hospitality?
Ethics in hospitality refers to a value system that guides all your management decisions. It encompasses the principles, values, and standards your hotel promises to live up to. Be sure to communicate all of these on your website. Remember the golden rule – treat your guests how you want to be treated and consider how your actions affect them.
Guests need to be able to trust you to have their best interests in mind. The best way to do this is to work from a place of emotional intelligence. That means treating guests with empathy and extending it to your employees and suppliers. Such an approach makes your hotel a pleasant place for anyone visiting.
Nine ethical practices in hotels you should know
Let's look at the key aspects of ethics in the hospitality industry – from how you treat your staff and guests to the community you operate in and how you advertise. Ethics defines a holistic approach to doing business.
Treating your employees fairly
Treating your employees fairly is one of the most important ethical commitments in the hospitality industry. Your employees are the face of your business – if you don’t treat them well, you probably won’t treat your guests well. Ensure fair and competitive wages, safe working conditions, and equal opportunities regardless of race, socioeconomic background, and education level.
You should also have zero tolerance for harassment and discrimination. Place diversity and inclusion at the forefront of your staff training. Your organizational culture should encourage and reward people for speaking up when something isn’t going right. Empower your teams to anonymously report issues without fear of losing their jobs.
'The guest is always right' is an ethical premise. After all, your guests are keeping you in business, so treat them with respect, honesty, and fairness. Avoid false advertising, price gauging, or hidden fees. Ensuring transparency across all channels encourages positive guest interactions because it shows your ethical responsibility.
Nowadays, data privacy and security are ethical and legal obligations, especially in Europe with GDPR. Hotels handle a large amount of sensitive data, so tell your guests what you do with the data and who's managing it. You must safeguard their data and use it with consent in the most transparent way possible.
Fulfilling your legal obligations is critically important for your success. Those include labor laws, health and safety standards – such as having fire hydrants on every floor and an exit plan – and other legal requirements. Be sure to keep an eye on changing legislation.
Many governments have created laws to be more inclusive to people with disabilities and motor impairments. This means installing elevators and ramps to ease the use of wheelchairs, as well as ample space to maneuver them around the hotel. Accessible bathrooms are on this list, too. When your hotel can’t meet those requirements, it’s your ethical responsibility to share that clearly on your website.
Read more in our guide to accessibility.
Climate change shifted our focus back to the environment. As a sector that creates a lot of waste, hospitality must promote environmentally friendly practices that reduce carbon footprint. Hotels can do their part to conserve energy, produce less waste, and reduce, reuse, and recycle, playing positive role models in their local communities.
Community involvement means actively engaging with the local neighborhood. Your hotel can support the local economy by partnering with local businesses, creating events, and promoting socially responsible initiatives. Why look for outside providers when you have the possibility to foster a strong local community?
Marketing and advertising
Responsible marketing and advertising include accurately portraying your rooms and services, avoiding deceptive advertising, and being culturally sensitive. Marketing campaigns should feature guests from different backgrounds while being socially responsible and truthful.
In the face of a crisis, such as a natural disaster or an epidemic, hotels must take responsible actions and prioritize the safety and well-being of their guests and staff. The best way to handle it? Have an action plan in place should such a crisis happen.
Running a hotel with high ethical standards is a strategic decision that can determine your hotel’s long-term success and competitiveness. Committing to authenticity lets your hotel build strong relationships with guests and keep talent.
The better the overall experience at your hotel, the better your reputation will be.
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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