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3 lessons our industry learn from the world’s most sustainable hotels

  Posted in Hotel Insights  Last updated 28/12/2020

sustainable hotels

There’s never been a more important time to talk about humanity’s impact on the environment and the dangers we face if we don’t start initiating more sustainable practices. A number of world leaders and public figures have spoken about the issue and many within the hotel and travel industry take the matter very seriously.

There’s a lot we can learn from the properties and brands that make sustainability a priority. Here’s a list of the most important lessons.

Lesson #1
Sustainable doesn’t mean cheap and nasty

While some might have the image that a sustainable hotel has to be a treehouse where guests sleep on the floor and a room costs a few dollars per night, that’s not the case. Some of the world’s most luxurious hotels and resorts are also eco-friendly.

Take the Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort in Fiji for example. Situated in one of the world’s most spectacular locations, the resort is the ultimate source of luxury. It also happens to be dedicated to an ecological mission, thanks to the legacy of its namesake who is a French oceanographic explorer, environmentalist, educator, and film producer.

The resort has low-energy light bulbs, no air-conditioning, and all the wood comes from certified local forests. The construction of high temple ceilings, thatching, ceiling fans and cross ventilation allow rooms to stay cool. The hotel has an onsite farm, growing produce such as coconuts, pineapples and mangoes, and which uses only sustainable agricultural practices. Only pelagic fish (those neither near the shore or the bottom of the ocean) are sourced for food, so that the reef fish are left untouched.

Further to that guests are educated through memorable activities such as diving, snorkelling, and medicine walks about the virtues of environmentalism, so that they can take sustainable lessons home with them to put into practice.

Some of the world’s most luxurious hotels and resorts are also eco-friendly

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Lesson #2
Big brands can be eco-friendly too

Sustainability isn’t just for the boutique or the independent hotels. Big brands can achieve sustainability too and they are the companies which can have the largest impact on the rest of the world.

For example, Hyatt and Accor both have sustainability programs in place.

Hyatt has its 2020 Environmental Sustainability Strategy, designed around using energy and water resources more thoughtfully, building smarter, and innovating and inspiring. Hyatt is committed to examining how its hotels source, consume and manage natural resources to serve their guests. It will identify ways for hotels to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, use less water, produce less waste and make more environmentally responsible purchasing decisions.

Accor has put in place Planet 21, an initiative outlining a number of positive environmental and social goals for 2020. Some of the strategies around this include:

  • Asking guests to reuse towels with the water and energy savings put towards tree planting
  • Sustainably sourcing wood, soap/shampoo, and cleaning products
  • Offering homegrown and locally sourced food, reducing food waste, and banning overfished species

Lesson #3
Being eco-friendly doesn’t restrict who your guests are

Being a sustainable hotel doesn’t mean only environmentalists will want to stay there. The best eco-hotels provide the exact same experience to any guest that all hotels would.

The Iveagh Garden Hotel opened its doors in February 2018 with the desire to be Europe’s first sustainable hotel at the heart of Dublin City. The property works hard to deliver exceptional guest experience while also limiting its carbon footprint. A custom-built renewable energy system has allowed the property to achieve a decrease in energy usage of 78% and a decrease in CO2 emission of 81%.

As expected, it’s received great support from the millennial sector, but within the first six months it has also welcomed internationally recognised clients from the financial, technological, pharmaceutical and legal sectors. Attracting the business traveller with in-room integrations including; smart LED TVs, USB charging and low energy LED lighting, the Iveagh Garden Hotel is establishing a strong reputation amongst professional travellers in Europe, Asia and North America.

By Dean Elphick

Dean is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist of SiteMinder, the leading technology provider delivering hoteliers unbeatable revenue results. Dean has made writing and creating content his passion for the entirety of his professional life, which includes more than six years at SiteMinder. Through content, Dean aims to provide education, inspiration, assistance and value for accommodation businesses looking to improve the way they run their operations achieve their goals.


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