Hotels’ initiative to opt for eco-friendly practices is on the rise in recent years and it goes beyond being a simple trend. From design to hotel construction management, more and more companies are now being conscious of how each action affects the environment.

Leading hotel chains like Six Senses and Hilton have created their own programs and all these cater to two major reasons: their own societal contribution and market demand. 

Commitment to the environment

A report by the United Nations revealed that international tourism accounted for 5% of the world’s carbon emissions. A report by the Cambridge Institute of Sustainable Leadership supports this finding, stating that this figure may grow to 130% by 2035.

While this is mainly due to aviation and transportation-related activities, the tourism industry as a whole has a part to play in further lessening its detrimental impact on the environment. Various companies are on board with the idea, as 23 leading hotel chains have joined forces with the International Tourism Partnership (ITP) and World Travel & Tourism Council and established the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative in 2013. This initiative has since been treated as the “global carbon standard” that guides companies in measuring their emissions.

Support for green initiatives

Research and advisory firm Forrester found that customers are now more conscious of societal issues which affects their perception of a particular brand. Consumers are more likely to invest in a company that has a firm commitment to their causes and including concern for the environment.

Customer demand being tied to values is actually a concept backed by Hilton Hotel’s 2018 research study. They found that 44% of 72,000 Hilton guests look for information on the societal and environmental efforts of a company. The majority of those are below the age of 25. Another study reveals that two-thirds of tourists prefer eco-hotels while 19% of travelers would pay more for a vacation in a green electricity resort.

More than reducing its carbon footprint and appealing to the masses, there is also financial gain. A 2018 report by the World Green Building Council shows that hotels who opted to switch to sustainable practices were able to save an average of 8% in operating costs.

Sustainability trends and practices

With hotel chains all over the world actively looking for ways to fulfill customer demand for sustainability, different eco-friendly practices have emerged in recent years. From minimizing water and food wastes, reducing plastic products, using allergen-free features, and utilizing solar energy to reduce carbon emissions, these practices can be implemented in the design and build of the hotel.

Some examples include Saori Bali, an Indonesian hotel where they use recycled grey water to irrigate the resort’s landscaped gardens—a practice that has cut their water consumption by 50%.

Hotel industry giant Hyatt Regency Greenwich installed a 500kW fuel cell which provides up to 75% of the hotel’s total energy. By utilizing on-site electricity, Hyatt has successfully reduced carbon emissions by 40%.

An Iceland-based hotel, ION Adventure Hotel, has interior design made mostly out of recycled materials. Their guest rooms feature organic linens, water-saving showers, and furniture crafted from reclaimed wood.

In conclusion, sustainable practices will benefit the hotel industry in the long-term. A step taken to reduce the carbon footprint left by the travel industry will largely appeal to the market, especially in a time when climate change is at the back of people’s minds. Various hotels around the world have proven that achieving an eco-friendly hotel is possible with the right planning and design in mind.

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