ince the start of the Industrial Revolution in the 1700s, increased human activity has led to a considerable surge in carbon dioxide levels. The trapped heat caused by CO2 emissions has caused an overall warming of our planet, with severe implications internationally. We’ve reached a pivotal moment globally where a collective effort is required in order to try and avert this crisis situation, and somehow save the planet.
We’re focusing on the accommodation market in this article and discussing how hotel, hostel and apartment owners are taking part in this mission to reduce their carbon footprint.
First off, we have to ask the question: why bother? If you’re an established property running well for years, then why switch things now; and if you’re a new business, then why consider going green at all?
In terms of cost savings, the advantages are enormous. By implementing energy efficient systems (appliances, energy sources etc), reducing water consumption and implementing minor initiatives like simply lowering the temperature by 2 degrees, you can help decrease your carbon emissions whilst also reducing your bills.
Then comes the competition – and in the hospitality and tourism market, the battle to remain current, attractive and better than the rest is fierce. So many new hotels, so many choices for student accommodation, so many different styles of hostels – how do you stand out from the other players and make your mark? Highlighting your property’s genuine commitment to the cause and demonstrating your belief in your actions can attract a wider customer base, as well as help to build your reputation and overall credibility. ‘Companies that care’ far outperform those that don’t bother, and the accommodation market tends to favour those that offer something unique, creative and considered.
Doing your part in the fight against climate change is really the ‘talk of the town’ at present and whether it’s individual efforts or a change in business operations, not only is everyone trying to do their bit, but it’s so easy for everyone to do so. Whether you’re based in a city or somewhere more rural, properties in either locality can become sustainable, and effortlessly.
There is a plethora of actionable changes a property can make to do their part, and it will fall to the management team to decide how many items from that ever-growing ‘shopping list’ they choose to adopt.
Switching to a renewable energy provider, installing solar panels, switching to a plastic-free mobile keys access system and other structural fixes are easily done, and the companies providing these services can help owners make the switch with minimal disruption.
Alongside this are operational things that can be done such as encouraging guests to recycle more, using recycled materials when decorating, supporting local suppliers and promoting local visitor spots to minimise travel, and planting more trees, to name but a few.
There are an increasing number of associations and accreditation bodies that will work closely with accommodation providers to suggest ways in which they can become more sustainable and offer support in that regard. Some will also offer assessments of a property’s green credentials – this rating is helpful to highlight an owner’s involvement in the cause. The Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI) sets a carbon footprint benchmark for the accepted standard for the hospitality industry, currently 31.1kg CO2 per room night. This helps hotels measure their efforts and adjust their systems accordingly.
Conflicts to Change
As with any other trend, it takes time to change the landscape and get people on board. As the global awareness of climate change issues grows, so we’re witnessing more accommodation owners thinking about adopting sustainable practices in order to leverage that, but there can be roadblocks in their path.
Madhu Rajesh, Director for International Tourism Partnership at BITC, highlighted that for new projects, “the people who build and own the hotels are not usually the people who manage or run the hotels. Consequently, the operators are not necessarily able to influence many of the carbon efficiency decisions of the buildings in which they’re operating.” This disconnect can lead to delays with approving and implementing sustainable systems, and in some cases even halt things completely.
It’s not necessary to think about going green always at the opening stages of a new property. Green solutions can be adopted at any time and owners should be mindful of just how easy it is to make changes, regardless of their size. Many hotel owners have successfully banned plastic straws and changed the policy surrounding bathroom toiletries for example - but more is needed, and on a much larger scale.
After choosing to implement a keyless mobile access system within their property, the manager of Super 8 Ukiah California Wyndham said: “My hotel is very small with limited service. However, the main reason to use a mobile key option is to go green and reduce our carbon footprint.” proving that any establishment can get on board...if they truly want to make a difference.
At FLEXIPASS, we’re championing sustainable practices and doing our part to offer green solutions for hotels, hostels, co-living and serviced apartments. Our smart mobile access solution enables accommodation owners to do away with plastic key cards altogether and make a massive impact to the environment.
The technology works by using one’s smartphone instead to open the lock, through a cutting-edge app platform. The system is easy to seamlessly integrate into a property’s existing infrastructure, with minimal disruption to operations and at an affordable price point.
With the average life span of a plastic key card being just 2.5 days, imagine the global impact of eliminating all so much plastic waste? Isn’t it time more properties switched to green practices?