Sustainable practices have been lately gaining a lot of attention from almost all industry verticals, and the hospitality sector is no exception to it. In this article today, let us have a look at the importance of sustainability in the hospitality sector and a few viable measures that are have been adopted by the industry in this regard.
- Sustainable management practices turn out to be more cost-effective in the long run
- Sustainability is a crucial factor in the choices made by modern travelers, especially the millennials
- Millennials want to work for businesses that adopt sustainable practices
- The brand image created by adopting green practices helps in bringing greater profits
The hospitality sector historically has had an undeniable environmental impact through its water and energy consumption, use of durable and consumable goods, and hazardous and solid waste creation. In fact, the sector is responsible for about 8% of the global greenhouse gas emissions, which makes hotels the second-largest polluters. The environmental impact of the sector is so pronounced that the Paris Climate accord has explicitly addressed the hotels to bring down their carbon emissions by 66% by 2030.
In such a scenario, adopting sustainable practices becomes a necessity rather than an option for the hospitality industry. And, we, at Avlon Shiksha Niketan, a renowned tourism management institute in Kolkata, are saying this not only from the viewpoint of environmental concerns but also from the customers’ perspective. Indeed, adopting sustainable practices can offer multifold benefits of customer satisfaction, environmental wellbeing, and profit acquisition. Let us explain this in detail by outlining the significance of sustainability in the hospitality industry.
Busting the myth of green operations being more expensive
There is a widely believed myth that green operations are invariably more expensive, and the guests don’t really care much about it. Let’s start with unraveling the truth about the first part of that sentence, shall we?
As per reports, recent advancements in technology related to renewable sources of energy, such as wind or solar energy, have considerably reduced the long-term costs incurred by the hospitality businesses. Of course, we are not denying that the initial cost of setting up such alternative energy sources is a bit on the steeper side, but it’s also true that these setups pretty much pay for themselves in the long run.
Moreover, when the businesses decide to go green, the encouragement comes from multiple quarters. The government offers several financial grants, tax write-offs, and expedited permitting for sustainable practices, and even insurance companies provide premium discounts.
That’s not all! An important aspect of sustainability in the hospitality industry is the employee training program to help them embrace green practices. It ensures improved performance and efficiency from the employees, which further helps to bring in the profits.
Adding to the guest experience and ensuring happy customers
Now, let’s come to the second part of the aforementioned myth: the customers are not concerned about sustainability. This is even farther from the truth because 87% of travelers rate sustainability as a crucial factor in their choices, and almost 40% actively opt for more sustainable lodging and travel options.
To add to that, two-third of the travelers indicate that they are willing to pay at least five percent more for sustainable alternatives. This trend also extends to their travel choices as a majority of tourists look for eco-holidays nowadays. And, the ever-rising demand for eco-tourism bears testimony to that.
From our years of experience as one of the leading hospitality and tourism management institute in Kolkata, we, at Avlon Shiksha Niketan, can vouch for the fact that all these trends are mainly being set by the millennials as they are the ones with the spending power. And, millennials are keener on supporting brands with strong environmental and social policies, whereby greener management practices are not just there on paper but in practice. So, even if the aim is to attract and appease more customers, a viable way for the industry is to go green.
Creating a stronger and better brand image for the businesses
The brand image of the businesses in the hospitality sector is strongly linked to the customers’ perception of them. In a world where a few bad reviews can make or break the reputation of an establishment, sustainable practices might just be the key to make the customers happy and satisfied.
It is important to keep in mind that the millennials take pride in having a clear idea about which brands are walking the walk instead of just talking the talk. So, investing in sustainable business practices will ensure an enhanced brand image and reputation that translates into bigger profits in the long-term.
Besides, it’s not only the guests and their satisfaction, but also about the employees and their preferences. The millennial professionals prefer to work for socially responsible companies. In fact, 70% of millennials claim to want to work for companies that help them in contributing to environmental and social issues. Thus, with sustainability being a major perk for the guests and the employees, it has to be on the top of the agenda for the employers.
The sustainable practices being adopted by the hospitality industry
The good news is that the significance of sustainability, as showcased above, has been realized by the hospitality industry. To that effect, several established and new businesses have already adopted green policies in the operations and management of their hotels and restaurants. Most hospitality businesses now prefer to work with vendors who follow the same green philosophy. After all, the products used in the hotel or restaurant have a direct impact on the overall sustainability of the operations.
Across the industry, businesses of different types and scales have embraced the policies of recycle and reuse and are paying greater attention to smarter waste management. Furthermore, regular training of the employees is being emphasized by the businesses because the staff has to be well-equipped to enact the policies levied by the top management.
To help the hospitality industry move forward with effective sustainable strategies, the need of the hour is skilled and proficient young professionals with adequate prior knowledge of the green practices. And, at Avlon Shiksha Niketan, one of the most prominent tourism management institute in Kolkata, we are doing the same by training our students to lead from the front when it comes to ushering an era of sustainability in the industry. Our advanced training in tourism and hospitality pays special attention to the real-world scenarios of eco-friendly practices and environmental management. And, this not only makes our students more skilled and employable but also serves as the way forward to making the planet cleaner and greener.