My Takeaway from PnP’s APAC Summit 4.0
Last week, I was lucky enough to participate in Plug and Play’s APAC Summit – Portier Technologies was previously selected as one of the region’s top 10 Travel & Sustainability startups. The obvious focus was set on the unusual circumstances faced by the travel industry in 2020, which is likely to continue experiencing for a while. What struck me the most was the somewhat underrated connection between the travel industry and general sustainability.
Across the board, fellow startups from the program pitched their solutions focusing on a more sustainable future. Immediately I recalled all the times I took inspiration from hotels to change my own habits, for the sake of a more sustainable household. Inspired by this virtual event, here are some of my thoughts regarding sustainability.
Hotels and energy consumption
One of the event’s startup pitches focused on the energy efficiency of hotels. The use of solar panels in residential buildings, as well as solar energy itself have been around for a long time. Given this, what surprised me the most is how many hotels have yet to incorporate some form of solar energy.
Growing up in Germany, I witnessed a strong push towards residential energy generation via solar panels. In many ways, hotels producing – and even reselling – energy this way seems like a no-brainer. Producing energy through solar panels not only reduces our reliance on fossil fuels, but also diversifies a hotel’s revenue streams.
There are several examples of hotels going “solar”. While the initial investment is arguably high, the revenue potential and long-term savings are incredible, with some hotels saving more than 8000USD per month. Here are a few examples of hotels, small and large, benefitting from solar energy.
Hotels and plastic waste
This is one of the topics that has floated around for years. Here is more context: did you know that a 200-room hotel can produce more than 300,000 pieces of single-use plastic waste per month? It should be surprising – but it is still the norm that we are handed single-use plastic water bottles at hotels, despite the unparalleled attention general plastic use has received across all media forms. Regardless, something seems to be preventing hotels from providing water more sustainably, and therefore also at a lesser cost.
A couple of years ago, I stayed at the Alila Bangsar in Kuala Lumpur. I was pleasantly surprised by their use of fillable glass bottles to provide drinking water to guests. Following that stay, I went from buying multi-packs of drinking water in plastic bottles to simply buying some long-term glass bottles. Those bottles have been refilled with filtered water thousands of times since. This is an example of taking inspiration from a hotel stay, for an improved mindset and contribution to the environment.
In essence, when it comes to providing water, or shampoo, the process of moving away from plastics to glass or other reusable materials shouldn’t be this tedious. There is no need for hotels to set goals for a plastic-free 202X. Instead, this process should be accelerated. For instance, once the contracts with water suppliers can be cancelled, a move to glass and refills can be made swiftly.