No one can be blamed for prioritising the survival of their business in the past year, which was challenging to a degree no one could have expected. As hospitality gears up to welcome guests again, it’s clear that some priorities have shifted permanently. However, there are many, like the journey towards environmentally responsible tourism, that will undoubtedly return as matters of urgency.
Plans for a More Sustainable Future
Before the pandemic, the travel industry as a whole was on track to an entirely different type of reprioritisation. As alarm bells continued to sound around the environmental crisis, more and more hoteliers acknowledged tourism’s role in the problem. Hotels big and small took steps to align their properties with plans for a more sustainable future. And not a moment too soon either, as in 2019, tourism contributed to a whopping 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, a figure set to grow 130% in the next 15 years.
Among the neverending challenges that arose from the lockdown, there has been at least one silver lining. The temporary reduction in travel has given our atmosphere much-needed respite from transit-related pollution, which has resulted in a temporary slowing of CO2 emissions. Unfortunately, this remains but a drop in the ocean in terms of impacting climate change.
Despite this break, the reality is that our planet is still very much in crisis. Without institutional change and a culture of environmentalism, the downward spiral will continue. As things start to return to normal in hospitality, we mustn’t lose sight of how our industry, along with all others, continues to contribute to the problem looming over our shared planet.
As a hotelier, you can take this chance to approach the environmental problem with renewed vigour. Why not build on the opportunities provided by the currently lowered impact of the tourism industry? Or adjust SOPs to approaches that are more mindful of the environment? Taking steps at your hotel to mitigate a return to former levels is all it takes to begin.
Eco-Friendly Travellers; An Increasing Trend
The good news is, you can make the most of the recovery that’s been allowed to happen by emphasising your commitment to an environmental cause.
According to recent research published by Phocuswire, several of the consumer trends driving travel in 2021 are related to minimising the environmental impact of trips.
A majority of 68% of respondents to their survey stated that they are making an effort to be more aware of environmentally friendly travel brands, whereas ‘carbon negative’ travel was of interest to 55% of respondents. A report compiled by Trekk Soft indicated that 55% of global travellers are ‘more determined to make sustainable travel choices than they were a year ago, and 73% of respondents intend to stay at least once in an eco-friendly or green accommodation when looking at the year ahead.
Perhaps most interestingly, for this article’s purposes, the same report also revealed that, whether searching for a sustainable stay or not, an extraordinary 70% would be more likely to book an accommodation knowing it was eco-friendly.
This particular insight is significant, as it demonstrates that no matter what type of hotel you currently run, publicly implementing eco-friendly practices and initiatives into your operations will benefit your business as well as your footprint.
Taking steps to adopt eco-friendly approaches to running your hotel can, in short, include your hotel in the all-important group of travel brands that are working to make a real difference to the current state of the environment. It just so happens too that these traits are the very qualities that appeal to today’s travellers.
Ideas for Eco-friendly Ancillary Services
If you’d like to join the cause but need to start small, that is just as good a way to get started as any. Have a look at some ideas for eco-friendly ancillary services that Oaky has compiled, and you might find your perfect match!
4 Free Ebooks: COVID Recovery Strategies per DepartmentCOVID brought the global hospitality industry to a grinding halt. To help you get the most out of your property during this rebound phase, you can download 4 free eBooks with more detailed advice and in-depth interviews per department on how to get your hotel through these times successfully. Use the following links to download the COVID recovery strategies per department: marketing, revenue management, F&B and front office.
As the hospitality industry prepares to host visitors again, it’s evident that specific values have forever changed. However, some will undoubtedly return, such as the journey toward environmentally friendly tourism.