4 Easy Ways to Build Sustainability Messaging Around Your Hotel Brand
Consumers are choosing to go green. When presented with a choice, this Tripadvisor survey showed that 62% of consumers would consider environmental repercussions before picking their choice of accommodation. OTAs too, are upping the game by adding a “green filter” to their search engines to give consumers the ability to make a more informed decision when travelling.
If consumers are choosing greener hotels over ‘traditional’ hotels, perhaps it is time to rebrand your hotel and participate in the green movement, for the sake of Mother Earth and at the same time, improving your brand image as well. The key here is delivering tangibles to your guests, guests must be able to feel that they are also involved in your green initiative.
Hotels & Plastic Waste
Did you know that a 200-room hotel can produce more than 300,000 pieces of single-use plastic waste every month? Despite our concerted efforts in condemning the use of single-use plastic as a society, most hotels seem to have not picked up on this trend. It is understandable that plastic use is prevalent because of its convenience but there is no excuse for single-use plastic due to its detrimental effects.
In a quick sweep across a hotel room, the use of plastic is disgustingly apparent. From plastic drinking bottles to toiletry bottles to amenity kits, the repulsiveness is amplified when you realise that we are only talking about rooms here and we have yet to insert everyday hotel operations into the conversation. Promoting the use of refillable glass bottles is a good way of priming guests that your hotel stands for sustainability. Providing potable water to your guests is the bare minimum, but it is definitely possible to meet and exceed the needs of your guests without the use of plastic.
Hotels & Food Waste
The percentage of food wastage in the hospitality industry is incredibly staggering, 25% of food is wasted before it even passes through the hotel kitchen! Tackling food waste, however, can be more enticing to hoteliers based on this particular statistic. The average benefit-cost ratio in hotels was nearly 7:1 in a 3-year time frame. This means that the benefits of cutting food waste strongly outweigh the cons, even within a short time frame like 3 years. This could potentially mean that there may be a revenue upside to this!
There is a possibility of reducing food waste in every level of the supply chain, and it can be achievable with proper planning. Hotels can also explore new ways of repurposing food into compost through technology or donating foods that are not reusable! There are many ways to help combat food waste, most importantly, you have to show your guests that you are actively involved. A simple mission statement at the bottom of your menu is good enough to let your guests know that your hotel is passionate about reducing food waste.
On the topic of food, an interesting concept would be educating your guests about the sources of the food they are consuming. Modern travellers would be more than pleased to obtain information about the origins of their food and how it is being sourced. For example, in your menu, you can include snippets of information about a particular seafood dish which is locally sourced from sustainable fishing methods or just a simple organic, free-range poulet dish.
Including these nuggets of information can make your guests feel good about themselves as they are getting a visual reminder that they are practising ethical consumerism even when travelling. As a hotelier, what better way to enhance guest experience than making your guests feel good about themselves?
Furthermore, being transparent can help you to form a solid level of trust with your guests and they may also begin to associate your hotel brand as a sustainable and trustworthy brand.
Digitalising Print Materials
Print materials are so yesterday! Another simple way to check if the hotel is as “green” as they claim they are, is by doing a quick scan around the room and look for print materials like magazines or in-room menus. Print materials in a hotel room usually hold content that are not evergreen. This means that in the next quarter or so, the hotel is probably going to change the magazine to the latest edition to provide their guests with newer information.
In-room dining menus may change as well when hotels want to revamp their menus to provide more exciting dishes for their guests to try or simply due to the seasonal availability of certain ingredients. Now hotels have two choices to make here, either they can constantly print and update their in-room print materials, or they could leave it as it is and pray that guests will not read the print materials.
Photo by Radoslav Bali on Unsplash But what if there is a simple (and greener) solution to all of these? A digital compendium could easily solve these issues as hotel management can update this information from a single interface. There is no need to buy or print new editions of travel magazines, nor is there a need to re-print updated menus.
A digital compendium can do all of that and in a fraction of the time, this information can be disseminated to in-room devices installed by the hotels. To use the ingredient transparency point above, if a hotel is willing to show that the ingredients they use are ethically sourced, they can just update the menu on the digital back-end, and the menu in every digital compendium will be instantly updated. There is no need to print new copies of menus, which will contradict the message of sustainable branding anyway.
Building sustainable messaging around your hotel brand is a long-term investment that will reap its returns eventually. The differentiation here lies in the ability to provide the best guest experience for travellers and too, operating responsibly and sustainably. As modern travellers like to associate themselves with brands that are sustainable-conscious, there is an urgency to build yourself as a green hotel brand starting now.