How to Promote Hotel Sustainability for your GuestsReading Time: 4 minutes
In recent years, the number of environmentally, socially, and economically conscious travellers has grown significantly, and sustainability has become a key factor when it comes to choosing and booking a hotel stay. According to Booking’s Sustainable Report, 83% of global travelers think sustainable travel is vital, with 61% saying the pandemic has “made them want to travel more sustainably in the future”.
Although hotels have been seemingly slower to embrace sustainability in comparison to other industries, we’re now seeing more hoteliers taking actions to implement socially, environmentally, and economically measures across utilities, hiring and providers etc, due to strong consumer demand. While it’s certainly a good start to walk the walk in this regard, it’s important to also communicate these measures to travelers and potential guests.
Do you already have a strategy in place to communicate and promote your hotel’s sustainable measures for potential guests? Keep reading this article to get started:
Promoting Hotel Sustainability – It all Starts with actually Walking the Walk…
As consumer demand for sustainability increases, many companies (from across all industries) are jumping on the bandwagon to promote their sustainability measures. However, hotels should avoid falling into the trap of “greenwashing”, because today’s guests are savvy and have access to a wealth of information (such as reviews, for example) to fact-check whether hotels are actually walking the walk towards sustainability.
It’s also worth mentioning that group and corporate bookings now need to see data and reports that clearly demonstrate what actions hotels are taking to be sustainable, and what the impact is on the environment, the community, and business profitability.
How to Promote Hotel Sustainability on your Direct Channels
A recent survey by Operto shows that a significant number of guests are willing to pay more per night in a hotel that has serious and true sustainability policies, up to 75% more in some cases.
Therefore, when you have sustainability measures in place, it’s fundamental to promote them across your direct channels (including your hotel website and social media etc) so that potential guests can be aware of what steps you are taking to be a more sustainable business.
Ideally, your hotel website should have a dedicated sustainability page where you communicate what you are doing to be a sustainable business. However, you can also publish more concise information about your hotel sustainability measures across other areas of your website.
Below are 10 ideas to help get you started:
- Create an eco-awareness package where you promote a protected area, plant a tree for each reservation done through this package or that you support a local project or social charity
- Give to those who arrive by train, bus, or bike and show their ticket at check-in, 15% off on their reservation or a voucher with an amount spent in food and beverage or other hotel services
- Offer a free breakfast, a free drink at the bar, or a discount voucher if guests skip daily housekeeping.
- Have bicycles, walking maps, and information on public transportation at your guest’s disposal
- Use led lights/ motion sensors/ solar power to decrease electricity consumption
- Implement water conservation measures, like using rainwater to water the garden
- Use less plastic: Have a water-bottle filling station in the lobby, and use reusable items whenever possible in all places of the hotel like glass cups, napkins, ceramic dishes, etc. Reduce paper consumption like sending invoices via email instead of printing it.
- Use Organic products in the rooms like homegrown amenities or bamboo fabric bed sheets, for the room’s cleaning use non-toxic products that are less harmful to the environment.
- Prioritize local products in your restaurant, instead of importing foods from other cities or countries that will cost more carbon emissions to nature. You may also want to consider offering vegan options in your menu. Biodegradable products will also help you decrease waste consumption, as well as delivering food leftovers to homeless shelters.
- Staff use sustainably-made uniforms, do a partnership with a national brand that is environmentally friendly in doing their clothes.
When promoting sustainability, your communications should be clear and straightforward, in order to quickly inform guests and encourage them to book a stay at your hotel. To help you get started, below are some simple sustainability measures your hotel can implement now, and easily communicate across your direct channels, including your website and social media:
Other ways to Promote Sustainability across your Direct Channels
Another good way to show consumers what you are doing to promote sustainability, is to get certifications / badges that you can publish on your website. For example, Booking.com launched a Travel Sustainable Badge that now recognizes over 95,000 properties globally. The badge highlights practices that are most relevant to a broad range of property types, as well as their high-impact potential.
You may also want to consider performing environmental audits, that will not only help you improve your measures, but also give you more credibility. Below are some recommendations based on different regions:
- Green Tourism: they offer different types of advices in diverse topics
- Green Key: has certified more than 3900 hotels in 60 countries
- TripAdvisor Green Leaders: you can have bronze, silver, gold, and platinum status
- Energy Star: a program run in the US providing information about energy consumption
- Earthcheck: an international advisory group, specialist in sustainable tourism and research-based in Australia
Embracing sustainability will not only help your hotel save money by being more energy-efficient, help preserve the destination and local community and bring people closer together but also differentiate your hotel from the competition and attract more guests.
Remember to treat sustainability as a holistic approach, from your operations to your product choices, to your guests, local communities, and even your providers. And remember, you need to communicate what you’re doing, because people want to hear about it.