Social Responsibility in the Hospitality Industry: What You Can Do and Why You Should

Among the many ways millennials are changing the hospitality industry, their commitment to socially conscious consumerism is a significant one. They consider it a business’s role to contribute to the well-being of the community (in addition to making profits), and they’re ready to put their money where their mouth is. 73% of millennials are willing to spend more on products and services from sustainable brands and nine out of ten would switch brands to one associated with a cause.

In addition to attracting and earning the loyalty of guests, socially responsible initiatives can help entice and retain employees as well. People want to work for a company with a positive impact. They’ll have higher job satisfaction, which means a lower employee turnover rate for you.

Here’s how you can become more socially responsible—and benefit your community and your brand at the same time.

Eco-friendly initiatives

To appeal to the socially conscious traveler, going green should be your first priority. Last year, 65% of global travelers expressed an intent to stay in eco-friendly accommodation. And you don’t want to miss out on those potential customers. So what can you do to show a commitment to the environment? Try things like swapping out lightbulbs for energy efficient alternatives, installing low-flow taps and toilets, and reducing plastic use.

 If you’ve already made those changes and are looking for a little more inspiration, check out El Nido Resorts in Indonesia. They’re a shining example of the steps a lodging operation can take to become eco-friendlier. The resorts were constructed using renewable materials, and their menu consists primarily of locally sourced ingredients. They also boast advanced water catchment systems, grey water recycling, desalination plants, and on-site composting and sewage treatment facilities. On top of all that, the resorts host on-going environmental programs that include beach clean-ups, ecosystem preservation and rehabilitation, and wildlife monitoring.

Community Service

Social responsibility means more than caring about the environment. It’s about caring for people and communities too. And that makes sense as a hotelier. Your community is what makes your locality great and entices travelers to visit—so you should be invested in its health and prosperity. Consider creating initiatives or programs that give back to the community you love.

Melia Zanzibar won a hospitality award for the implementation of their Global Corporate Social Responsibility Model. Their mission was to improve the overall quality of life of the locals living in the neighboring village of Kairo. They built a well for fresh water, rebuilt the village mosque, renovated homes, and taught basic agriculture and self-sufficiency to the community.

Charitable Contributions

Whether it’s to help the community or conserve the environment, setting up your own programs and initiatives can be a daunting task. If you’re not ready to do it on your own, consider partnering with a charity.

Omni Hotels and Resorts makes charitable donations to Feeding America with their Say Goodnight to Hunger campaign. And they use it as an incentive for guests to book direct. For every direct booking they receive, they commit to feeding a family of four for a week.

The chefs at Kimpton Hotels participate in the Chefs Cycle fundraising event for No Kid Hungry every year. And donations are made to the charity when featured items are purchased at participating restaurants.

 

Travelers today are more conscious about their impact on the world than ever before. They want to stay in accommodation and support businesses that are doing what they can to improve their local communities. So, consider implementing social responsibility initiatives at your property. It’ll be good for the world and great for your brand.

Start the New Year Right: Hospitality Trends for 2018

And just like that, 2017 has passed! We hope you had a wonderful (and profitable!) holiday season, and are excited about the year to come. January is a month for resolutions—an opportunity to reflect on the past year and think of ways to improve in the next. This is just as true for businesses as it is for individuals. We all have room for improvement. So if you’re looking to make some changes at your lodging operation, and are in need of inspiration, here are the top hospitality trends in design, technology, and operations, for 2018.

Design

Biophilic design >> Based on the idea that humans have an innate desire to be surrounded by nature, biophilic design is the newest trend in architecture and interior decor. It’s an aesthetic that—through the incorporation of natural elements—seeks to alleviate stress and improve wellness. As the hospitality industry is forever endeavoring to enhance the guest experience, it’s not a surprise that biophilic design is beginning to garner the interest of hoteliers across the globe. And to good effect; a study conducted by Terrapin Bright Green found that 36% more guests spend time in a lobby with biophilic design features. So what makes a space biophilic? Anything that creates a direct or indirect experience of nature. That includes the incorporation of plant and water features, maximizing natural lighting and using natural colors and materials (just to name a few).

Public spaces >> An emphasis on shared space is the current trend in hotel design. Inspired by the preferences of millenials who spend less time in their rooms and seek out places where they can socialize and collaborate—properties have shifted the focus from in-room amenities to curating comfortable and inviting shared spaces. Many are ditching the front-desk for living-room style lobbies where staff (equipped with iPads) can engage with customers more authentically, and guests can spend time working, reading and socializing.

Technology

Smart rooms >> From phones to socks, it seems like everything we use these days is getting a smart iteration. As the ubiquity of these devices grows, the technology is naturally finding its way into the hospitality industry. This means equipping rooms with things like smart TVs (so customers can stream their favorite content) to personalized climate and lighting control. Guests expect properties to have the same comforts and conveniences they’ve grown accustomed to at home.

Personalization >>Guest loyalty is won by hoteliers that go above and beyond. Now more than ever that means personalization like free wi-fi for the frequent business traveler or cafe recommendations for the coffee lover. Hotels today are using technological solutions to track customer habits and preferences in order to surprise and delight.

Operations

Community connections >>Another characteristic of millennials that is changing the hospitality game? The prioritization of experience over things. Travelers these days are highly motivated to engage with the communities they travel to. For hoteliers, this means it’s a good idea to do the same. Showcasing local artwork, collaborating with local businesses and ensuring staff is knowledgeable about local experiences will create the authentic experience these guests are looking for.

Going green >> Most people these days are concerned for the environment. And in addition to making changes to go green at home, travelers are prioritizing eco-friendly accommodation when on the road. There’s a lot hoteliers can do to fit this bill. Whether the changes are simple (like using more efficient light bulbs) or extensive (like installing a grey-water recycling system), environmentally conscious guests (and the earth!) will appreciate the effort.

 

It’s the beginning of a new year; the perfect time to consider new ways to improve your business. And if you’re in need of inspiration, why not start with these ideas for design, tech, and operations in hospitality. They’re a few of the biggest trends for 2018.

 

Sustainable Experiences Matter to Guests: Go Green to Keep Up

It’s 2017, the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, and everyone is becoming evermore informed and concerned about the impact we have on the environment. That’s why it’s not hard to believe that 65% of global travellers expressed intent to stay at eco-friendly accommodation this year. That’s a large piece of the consumer pie you don’t want to miss out on!

Here are a few ways for your property to go green (and save money!) this year.

Reduce Waste

One of the most important steps you can take to become a greener business is to reduce waste.  From complimentary toiletries to individually packaged condiments, the waste generated from a hotel property has a sizeable impact on the environment (and is difficult and expensive to dispose of!).

Try installing refillable shampoo and body wash pumps in bathrooms and cut down on those pesky plastic bottles filling up our landfills. Trade in salt and pepper packets for refillable pourers and replace plastic laundry bags with linen ones.

Look into partnering with organizations that can divert and repurpose your hotel’s waste. Always throwing away barely used soap from your guest rooms? Clean the World is a non-profit organization that collects used soap from hotels and recycles them for impoverished people around the globe.

Conserve Energy

Do your electricity bills feel exorbitant? Hotels can spend up to 10 percent of their revenue on energy, which means going green can offer your property huge annual savings. Changes you can make range from adjustments of simple habits to installing new systems, all while maintaining the comfort of your guest.

Swapping out regular light-bulbs for their energy-efficient alternatives is an easy step that can go a long way in conserving energy. Not to mention educating staff about eco-friendly habits like opening and closing drapes to reduce heating and turning off unused electronics.

Many properties are now using keycard systems in their rooms that require the guest’s access card in order to use lights and AC. This system cuts down on wasteful energy consumption and is responsible for massive reductions in their electricity bill.

Save Water

Millions of liters of water are wasted by hotels each year. In a time when water scarcity has become a global problem, this is an important area for your property to address when going green.

Think about implementing a linen reuse program allowing guests to opt out of daily towel and linen changes. Less laundering reduces water and the energy required to heat it. Also consider installing low flow shower heads and faucets (which can reduce water usage by 30 percent) as well as water-efficient toilets (which can reduce water usage by 60 percent).

For more extreme changes to save water look into grey water recycling and rainwater harvesting programs.

Promote Green Activities

When planning your eco-friendly initiatives, it’s not just about what you can do as a business but also promoting green activities for your guests.

Why not include bicycles at your property for guest use? Also think about providing walking maps and public transportation information for attractions. You’ll be helping to reduce carbon emissions and your guests will have a more immersive experience exploring your local area.

Have you considered putting recycling bins in guest rooms? This will help with your waste reduction strategies and is a good way to show your customers your commitment to the environment.

Use a Cloud PMS

The type of management system you run also affects your property’s environmental impact.  Management hardware requires the use of inefficient, on-site technology. But by switching to a cloud property management system (PMS) you can forgo the energy costs of running your own servers and cooling systems.

Certain features allowed by a cloud PMS further reduce your environmental impact. Save mountains of paper with the use of electronic signatures during check-in and minimize wasted energy by ensuring electronics are turned off immediately after checkout with mobile housekeeping reports.

 

Make a commitment to go green this year.  Even small adjustments can have a big effect on the planet, save your property money, and are sure to be noticed by your environmentally conscious guests.