The Top 5 Strategies to Improve Hotel Sustainability 

hotel Sustainability

Sustainability and environmental impact are more important than ever, especially for the hospitality industry. According to the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, “The World Economic Forum has now ranked climate action failure as the top global risk.” Further, according to National Geographic, hotels contribute about 1% of total global emissions. While this may seem like a small amount, global carbon emissions are currently estimated at nearly 37 billion tons per year – which means that the hotel industry is responsible for about 370 million tons of carbon emissions each year.

Hotels of all sizes are taking steps to reduce their environmental impact and help in the fight against climate change. And studies have shown that guests are on board for these environmentally-conscious updates. According to research from, 73% of hotel guests prefer staying in sustainable hotels. Furthermore, Operto found in 2021 that more than 85% of guests say they would pay more for an environmentally-friendly stay. With these statistics in mind, hotels everywhere are investing in sustainable upgrades that can help decrease overhead while reducing their carbon footprint. Let’s explore a few of the easiest ways to make your hotel a greener place to stay. 

  1. Reduce plastic waste with Digital Keys

On average, a 200-room hotel will go through about 12,000 plastic keycards per year. Keycards are not biodegradable, and most will not be recycled. That means a single hotel could be responsible for hundreds of pounds of plastic waste every year in keycards alone. To put that in perspective, the hospitality industry as a whole adds nearly 290,000 tons of waste to the world every year. Consider the potential impact if more hotels switched from plastic keycards to Digital Keys for hotels.

  1. Eliminate single-use water bottles

Cutting down on the use of bottled water can help reduce your hotel’s carbon footprint in multiple ways. You’ll be decreasing the amount of plastic waste you generate each year, of course, you’ll also cut down on carbon emissions by eliminating the need to transport bottled water to your hotel on a regular basis. Instead of stocking your guest rooms with bottled water, consider offering reusable water bottles as a perk for returning guests. Install a water bottle refilling station in your lobby and/or adjacent to the ice machines on each floor.

  1. Invest in smart room technology and LED lighting

Smart thermostats can greatly decrease the average energy use in guests’ rooms by keeping room temperatures at a more efficient setting while rooms are unoccupied. Combine this with motion-activated lighting in guest rooms, and you can reduce energy use even more. LED light bulbs use at least 75% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, adding up to significant savings on your utilities and energy use each month.

  1. Start a recycling and/or composting program

With in-room recycling options, you can significantly reduce the amount of waste going to the landfill each year. Plus, your guests will see that you’re making an effort to make your hotel more sustainable. Eco-conscious travelers will remember the visible steps you take to help fight climate change, and they may be more likely to choose your hotel on future trips.

Likewise, consider how much compostable waste your hotel produces. The hospitality industry produces an estimated 79,000 tons of food waste annually. Coffee grounds, food items, and biodegradable disposable dishware are all prime for composting. And, if you implement a composting program, you can also reduce plastic waste by switching to compostable options for disposable dishes and utensils. This kind of program also offers an opportunity to get involved in your community, as there may be local gardens or other organizations that could use your composted waste.

  1. Implement water conservation measures

Water use makes up an estimated 24% of utility costs in most hotels. Decreasing the amount of water your hotel uses on a monthly basis is one of the most impactful things you can do to reduce your impact on the environment while saving your hotel a significant amount of revenue. To accomplish this, you can:

  • Give guests the option to reuse towels and sheets instead of washing them every day.
  • Install water-efficient bathroom and shower fixtures.
  • Recapture rainwater or greywater to water plants and lawns.

These are just a few of the ways that small and medium-sized hotels around the world are increasing their sustainability. Simply by upgrading your guest room locks and switching to Digital Keys, you could save hundreds of pounds of plastic waste each year. Recycling and composting programs help lower the amount of new waste entering landfills. And, by implementing energy-saving tech in guest rooms and around your premises, you could also lower overhead expenses while reducing your carbon footprint. Any one of these measures could make an impact on your hotel’s environmental impact, as well as establishing your brand as a sustainable option for eco-conscious travelers.

Want more info on how Digital Keys can help your hotel’s sustainability while improving the guest experience and helping your bottom line? Schedule a demo today.

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