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Gabriela Anez-Lobon
By Gabriela Anez-Lobon on November 17, 2020

Sustainable Hotel Ideas for Economic Recovery

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, about 57K hotels have closed. According to a McKinsey study, revenue per room in open hotels may drop as much as 20 percent by 2023. 

That same study analyzes the role of health and wellness policies in consumer decision-making. The hotels that thrive will adopt new ways of keeping their guests safe and making changes that reduce costs

The Hotel Management site declared, “The name of the game in 2020 is sustainability in hotels. Sound environmental practices can contribute to guest health, save thousands of dollars, and vastly improve brand perception. All of these will help hotels survive and enjoy economic recovery."


What Are Sustainable Hotel Practices?

The greening of hotels, motels, and resorts involves many aspects of business operations. Many consumers today are savvy about “greenwashing” (claiming to be environmentally concerned purely for marketing and PR purposes) so hotels must be sure the steps they are taking and the messages they send are accurate and transparent.

The following is a summary of some of the areas that contribute to sustainability in the hotel industry.

LEED-Certified Hotels

Close to 800 hotels have received some level of LEED certification. The standards established by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED-certified accommodations can be found in both new construction projects and remodels. Small brands and multi-unit hotel chains are adopting practices that attract consumers who value the environment. These buildings include features such as environmentally-friendly floorings and furniture, roof gardens, responsible water usage, and comprehensive recycling.

Most lodgings don’t have the luxury of remodeling or new builds, but many steps can be taken to become more sustainable within existing properties.

Water Usage

Hotels are major consumers of water, accounting for about 15 percent of commercial water use.

Year-round water conservation, more thoughtful laundry practices and tight management of landscaping and swimming pools all contribute to savings.

Many hotels encourage guests to cut down on laundry services and offer incentives for less frequent linen changes. Not only does this save money, but it makes guests think about their own environmental practices.


Sustainable Products and Food

Smart hotel managers look at every aspect of their operations to make better decisions about guest amenities. Many lodgings made the move to refillable shampoo and skin care dispenser bottles. Locally-sourced food and beverage, readily-available bicycles, earth-friendly products in gift shops (like reusable water bottles), and electric van shuttles are among the many small steps that hotels have taken to move in a greener direction. 

Eliminating paper from various on-property transactions also contributes to our planet’s health. As technology evolves, many hotels are able to do away with paper menus, printed receipts, and other paper-based communications forms. A paperless hotel can save as much as $3,000 and 20 trees each year.

Energy Consumption

According to ENERGY STAR, hotels spend about $2,196 per available room each year on energy. 

Heating and lighting are two of the major expense areas. Installing sensors that automatically adjust temperature and lighting based on time of day and season can make a huge difference in expense, without sacrificing guest comfort. Sealing cracks, repairing insulation, and linking HVAC systems to check-out systems are all ways hotels can reduce heating and cooling expenses.

LED lighting has advanced over the years and can be used both inside and outdoors. Hotels need to properly illuminate parking structures, tennis courts and pools, restaurants, entertainment areas, and conference areas, as well as guest rooms. The right lighting creates ambiance and makes guests feel safe and secure. It can also save hotels a small fortune in annual expenses. 

Based on case studies from Future Energy Solutions (FES), hotels who installed LED lighting saw an average of:

  •  $1,269 yearly maintenance savings
  •  $3,468 yearly energy cost savings
  •  $4,737 total yearly savings
  •  $71,059 total savings by partnering with FES


Now is the Right Time to Think About Your Sustainability Plan

We expect the lodging industry to be faced with difficult decisions over the next couple of years. But adopting more sustainable practices is a win-win. Consumers and business travelers will be attracted to hotels, motels, and resorts that value the environment and you will reap the benefits of cost savings.

We offer free personalized energy audits for the hospitality industry. Get yours now.

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Published by Gabriela Anez-Lobon November 17, 2020
Gabriela Anez-Lobon

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