eco hotel

Sustaining your guests’ interest

On World Environment Day (June 5), here at The Know we’re keen to highlight how hotels have the power to make a real difference.

With an estimated 187,000 hotels in the world offering 17.5 million guest rooms (STR Global), hoteliers have the power to inflict significant change and become leaders in the fight for environmental change.

Feedback from our Knowers, who are real guests with exacting standards, demonstrates how a hotel’s approach to being eco-friendly, sustainable and local is becoming an increasingly important factor impacting guest choice.

From a personal perspective, this is a subject very close to our hearts. One of our co-founders, Fiona, has two small children and obviously wants the world she leaves them to be a better place than the one she came into! Our other co-founder, Mané, is an avid diver and environmentalist and, having seen the impact personally on the underwater world over the last 20 years, is passionate about saving species, reducing waste, sustainable fishing and the abolition of single-use plastic.

But we are not the only ones that consider environmental issues to be of the utmost importance – your guests do too!

Our Knowers, who are of the target demographic and spend power for 4 and 5-star hotels, are asked a number of questions to ascertain what is important to them from their overall hotel experience. We are consistently, and increasingly, receiving ‘high’ and ‘very high’ ratings on questions such as caring for the environment, practicing sustainability, sourcing local produce and catering for vegan/vegetarian dietary requirements.

So, with guests becoming more environmentally conscious in their decision making, hotels ignore this at their peril. What can they do to ensure they are meeting their clients’ requirements while also doing their bit for the environment? Here’s just a few pointers…

  • Source local produce. Fewer airmiles, less CO2, plus the opportunity to support local businesses
  • Buy sustainable. It may be more expensive but from an F&B perspective, most guests will willingly pay the extra for sustainably caught fish and organically grown produce
  • Expand your menu. Include more vegan and vegetarian options. Not only are these better for the environment but the current trend towards a reduction in meat consumption, is expected to continue
  • Hire locally. Often of more importance in developing country hotels than in the UK, but support of the local community is key
  • Reduce plastic. Replace your plastic straws with alternatives made from paper, bamboo or cassava root. Provide washable steel drinks stirrers, don’t package your slippers in plastic, replace miniature amenity bottles with better quality but full-size ones
  • Ask your staff to help. Housekeeping, F&B, the groundkeepers – run a competition, what ideas can they come up with?
  • Ask guests to help. Reduce water wastage, towel and sheet washing (seriously, how many people wash their sheets daily at home?!) and encourage them to switch off the air-conditioning when they leave the room