After a lengthy period of lockdowns, mandates, and restrictions that altered life as we know it, the world is back on track. People are traveling again, especially for leisure. Those travelers are increasingly on the hunt for eco-friendly experiences and options. Unfortunately, those sustainable travel options aren’t always easy to find, but today’s forward-thinking hotel operators can help bridge the gaps, with help from green tech.
According to a recent survey, the majority of travelers want to make a positive impact on the places they visit via their spending power. Yet 48% of respondents said that finding sustainable accommodations can be challenging, reports CNBC. Today’s sustainably-minded travelers are looking for more than a vacation — they also want to feel as though their actions and choices are making a difference in the world.
Clearly, there’s a pronounced gap between guest sustainability standards and what the world’s top hotel properties have to offer. As such, it’s more important than ever to incorporate environmentalism and eco-friendliness into your hotel’s marketing plan. The good news is that green tech offers myriad solutions to help hotels embrace sustainability and lower the carbon footprint of the entire property.
According to the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, the hotel sector accounts for around 1% of global carbon emissions. Lodging, in fact, only accounts for about 6% of a traveler’s carbon footprint, compared to transport at a whopping 49%. Travelers looking to reduce their emissions can opt to take a train, tour bus, or ferry to their destination.
While hotel operators have little say when it comes to guest mode of transport, you can still do your part to improve the industry. And the good news for eco-friendly entrepreneurs is that your efforts may just pay off, in a literal sense. Governments and municipalities around the world have various tax incentives on offer for eco-conscious companies.
Green business financing is nothing new, but it has grown exponentially in scope in recent years. In order to qualify for energy-efficient tax credits and loans, you’ll need to meet certain requirements, depending on the specific grant or programs you’re applying for. In the U.S., for example, hotel operators can apply for grants and/or loans from various governmental entities, such as the Department of Energy (DOE).
Yet grants and tax incentives are just a starting point. Once you have the funds in hand, hotel operators must take the necessary steps to implement sustainability into all aspects of the business.
Simple sustainability measures include swapping out power-hungry, aging appliances for eco-friendly models, and using only natural, safe cleaning products throughout the hotel. You can also invest in modern technological advancements in order to save money, reduce your property’s carbon footprint, and boost your bottom line.
One promising example in this regard is mobile key software, which allows guests to lock and unlock their room directly from their smartphone. Digital keys are meant to replace wasteful plastic keycards and could save hotel operators thousands of dollars. Some properties are taking the idea of digital keys a step further, outfitting guest rooms with smart technology that powers everything from temperature, lighting, and TV volume via smartphone.
Along with doing away with plastic key cards, hotels can work to eliminate waste in other ways. For starters, consider the benefits of sustainable packaging for toiletries, room service delivery, marketing materials, and beyond. By investing in compostable and/or biodegradable packaging, you’re sending a strong message to your guests about your company’s commitment to sustainability, and are likely to attract plenty of new customers in the process.
Attracting new customers is the best way to grow your business, and green tech holds the key to success within the hospitality industry. Young travelers in particular want their spending dollars to help fuel real change, both environmental and social. Further, millennial guests love technology and are attracted to tech amenities like keyless entry and fast Wi-Fi connectivity.
To that end, hotel industry leaders who desire to stand out from the crowd should look toward green tech and sustainability.