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How to make your hotel sustainable and save resources in the process

Oier Fano D.
How to make your hotel more sustainable

The world seems to be in agreement. Sustainability is something we must strive for. Protecting the planet as much as possible is our responsibility, so that future generations will be able to enjoy it as much as we do.

From your perspective, as a hotel industry professional, you can be a part of this wave. Alternatively, you can ignore it.
However, even if you believe it's a fad, take a look at this statistic:

A recent survey by Booking.com shows that 73% of guests prefer eco-friendly hotels. Moreover, 96% of those surveyed said sustainability was an important factor when booking a hotel.

Booking.com has even implemented a "sustainability" filter in its hotel search engine.

We'll tell you more.

By making your hotel sustainable, you can save resources and money. Chain hotels and resorts are saving tons of paper while improving guests' experiences. It is explained in this post. This gets interesting, right?

Below you will discover the benefits of:

  • Digitizing restaurant menus
  • Implementing a digital directory
  • Offering maps through a guest app
  • Managing your restaurant through a smartphone
  • The upward trend aka "Be Green"

Are there elements of the operation that can be digitized in order to make it more sustainable?

Let’s admit it: 

Guests have lived with a smartphone in their hand for the last 15 years, and yet, most hotels have forced them to use paper to enjoy their services. It is a paradox.

Ramón Aragonés, CEO of NH, recently commented that with their new sustainability policies, they are saving 800 tons of paper. It sounds like a win win, don’t you agree? Respecting the environment, digitizing the guests' stay and saving money at the same time. 

But let's go into detail and see how practical it is to progressively eliminate the paper of your hotel operations. Below, you will find ideas applied by cutting-edge hotels that save consumption of raw materials and money.

 

Digitize menus and catalogs: save money and encourage consumption

Let's think of a hotel menu. 

When printing it, any change involves a complex operation and many visits to the printer. Each update requires wasting the pre-existing menus. It binds you hand and foot.
If a new culinary proposals do not succeed… you would need to keep it in your physical menus.

Keep it loose.

If you digitize your menus, you will save time and money. Furthermore, your staff in the kitchen and at the bar will have much more flexibility to make new proposals. In addition –and this is very important–, your entire range of products, dishes, etc., will be bookable from the guest's smartphone

Hey. And very important from your revenues’ perspective. You will cut the gap between the guest’s purchase impulse and the consumption of the product at the same time.


Parallel to this, you will be able to reduce unnecessary expenses. And it is not a minor thing: Dreams Nature Resorts has digitized their guest experience and its service offering and admits that the brand image has improved. Because everything is more agile, more modern, more adapted to the 21st century... and the most interesting thing from an environmental perspective:

They save a ton a year of paper. 

 

Provide all the information through your guest's smartphone

Adapting to changes can be a challenge, and sometimes it takes time. But we don't live in the 90s anymore. Smartphones are used by young and old alike to communicate. Likewise, they use them to check pharmacies in the area, order food, or watch TV. Why would it be any different in a hotel?

Going green and digital allows you to provide all the hotel information to your guests through an app, accessible anytime and anywhere through a smartphone.

In the same vein, hotel digital directories are more practical, provide a better image, and save money and paper by reducing paper consumption.

Do you see how easy it is to become a sustainable hotel?

But listen. The story doesn't end there. 

 

Digital maps of your city –and your resort– supported by GPS services

An example of a traditional hotel check-in scene is shown below:

The receptionist takes a paper map, and with a pen, circles the area in which the guest is located. From there, he begins to doodle to indicate places of interest, forcing the tourist to carry a piece of paper with them during their stay. 

In the 21st century… Do you think it's practical? It is not, right?

Nowadays, we use the smartphone to guide us through unknown places thanks to GPS systems. Why not take advantage of this technology, simplify your guests' lives, and save paper and money at the same time?

Hotels at the forefront offer both maps: On one hand, a map of the hotel's location. On the other hand, resort maps that show guests how to access to the different facilities and hotspots inside their hotel through smartphones. 

This enhances the guest experience… and as aforementioned, it can save up to a ton of paper a year at the same time. 

 

Manage reservations digitally and avoid food waste

In life in general and in hotels in particular, having control of the situation helps you organize better. And organizing better helps you be more efficient.

And of course, being more efficient helps you save time and money. All this becomes obvious in the restaurant of a hotel.

Wasting perishable products is unavoidable if you don't keep track of your facilities' occupancy. An automated digital reservation system, however, allows you to calculate with surgeon's precision. As a result, you waste less food.

Claudio Natella, General Manager of Viva Wyndham, provides us with a clear example. “We manage 70,000 reservations per month in our Viva Dominicus. By digitizing the reservation system, in addition to saving us queues of up to two hours, we know our needs in detail. It is a sustainable and profitable tool because we waste much less food.” 

Furthermore, technology and a complete app for the guest allow hoteliers to play with the offer and demand at a given moment if a restaurant has meat or fish that will expire in the near future.

Through special promotions, hotels can attract more customers to a specific restaurant or product and in this way avoid wasting money and resources on these perishable products.

 

Landline phones? Use a 21st century communication channel

Let's be real: who uses a landline phone today? On a day-to-day basis, we communicate through messages. And, if necessary, we use our smartphones to make a call. In hotels at the forefront, the same thing happens

These days, chains and resort apps use direct chats between staff and guests. Their versatility makes them ideal for a wide range of situations. It is possible to ask how to close a window or lower the temperature a bit without having to go to the front desk. You can even request a specific service or an extra pillow. 

Combined with the appropriate strategy - for instance, acting immediately if an incident is reported - these chats generate a positive impact on the guest experience, because they are handled by humans –the hotel staff-.

Furthermore, the hotel can avoid installing landlines as a result, becoming more sustainable. By getting rid of these devices, the hotel is able to save money and the guests are able to see modern methods of communication. 

 

'Be Green': offer to not clean rooms daily in exchange for discounts

Did you know that it is an emerging trend for guests to ask that their rooms not be cleaned daily? Hotels have taken note of this, and offer the so-called "Be Green"

It is an offer made by some hotels to reduce the environmental impact of their own tourist properties. In exchange for discounts on drinks in the bars, clients relinquish the daily cleaning of their rooms - they receive it every two or three days instead.

Moreover, the right hotel app allows you to save on cardboard with the iconic "do not disturb" sign to put on the door handle. With a single touch through their smartphones, guests will be able to request the housekeeping not to enter their rooms. 

As you can see, sustainability is not a fad. Hoteliers are taking steps to meet this global goal. Make sure you don't get left behind. Provide your customers with a service that meets their needs...and save money in the meantime!

 

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