Reducing your hotel brand’s environmental impact may affect your bottom line in a very positive way. According to a global online study from Nielsen, 66% of respondents said they’re willing to pay more for products and services that come from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact, up from 55% in 2014 and 50% in 2013.
Younger generations share this sentiment at an even higher rate, as almost 75% of Millennials and Gen Z said they would be willing to pay extra for sustainable offerings, up from around 50% in 2014.
“When it comes down to financial commitment, a sustainable sentiment shifts to one of increased social awareness and responsibility,” said Nielsen’s SVP Public Development and Sustainability Grace Farraj. “Marketers need to connect messaging with the causes that matter most to consumers and that also align with their brand.”
Diana Verde Nieto, co-founder and CEO of Positive Luxury, adds to the conversation, “Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues,” she says. “And they expect brands to not only manage their impact but communicate it.”
Being environmentally conscious is more than a trend, it’s a core hotel brand trait that is attracting more and more Millennial and Gen-Z guests. If your hotel culture isn’t there yet, it might be time to start making some adjustments in the area of sustainability, the environment and eco-friendly products. For example:
Recycling Bins in Guest Rooms
For people used to recycling, throwing everything into one trash bin can be downright uncomfortable. One option to reduce your portfolio’s carbon footprint is to add a sorted trash system – one basket with two plastic bins nestled inside – to your guest rooms and give your guests the option to recycle. Guests will likely appreciate your environmental thoughtfulness, plus these inexpensive systems can also help your employees with sorting out the recyclables.
Many guests have come to expect those single-use bottles in your guest room bathrooms, but that practice could benefit from an eco-friendly overhaul. Consider investing in refillable shampoo, conditioner and soap dispensers to cut down on plastic usage and waste. Similarly, switching from plastic-wrapped plastic glasses and paper coffee cups to reusable glassware or plastic cups is another eco-friendly alternative.
Eliminate Plastic Key Cards
Contemporary keycards are made from PVC-based plastic manufactured using a highly toxic process. Meanwhile, technology has eliminated the need for the plastic keycard via mobile key solutions, like OpenKey that are being adopted by the leading hotel brands around the world. Your hotels can cut down on environmental waste and offer guests a whole new world of convenience by making better use of the phone in their pocket.
With OpenKey, your guests use their smartphones for guest room access, which means fewer lost (and thrown away) room keys. In addition, guests enjoy the convenience of a streamlined check-in process and an enhanced overall experience.
Reuse Towels and Linens
Although many guests likes fresh towels and linens, most people use these items over and over at home. By encouraging your guests to reuse their towels, sheets, and bedding, housekeeping can reduce their use of the washing machines, water, soaps and electric dryers every day. Using a branded program like Project Planet is an easy way to ask your guests to participate and show them your hotel cares.
Go Green Behind the Scenes, As Well
Consider providing your guests – and your employees – with a safer, more natural environment by switching from conventional cleaning supplies to green and/or bio-based products. Chlorine- and petrochemical-based cleaners can be harsh on skin and eyes, not to mention an unnecessary source of pollution. Another idea is to begin a recycling program for the hazardous materials found in fluorescent bulbs, batteries and lighting ballasts and dispose of them responsibly through licensed service providers.
Nielsen’s Grace Farraj sums up the importance of making an environmental shift in your organization perfectly. “Brands that establish a reputation for environmental stewardship among today’s youngest consumers have an opportunity to not only grow market share but build loyalty among the power-spending Millennials of tomorrow.”