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The unexpected benefits of turning your hotel green

Environmental change is surely a ‘hot’ and important topic. Hoteliers all around the world now realize that they can participate in curbing plastic waste and environmental issues. Various certificates, such as the Green Key are issued so guests can make sure that their traveling choices have a lower environmental impact. Sustainable accommodation is now a hip travel destination!

In 2015 about 66% of customers said they are willing to pay more for a brand that is environmentally conscious. So, changing the practices at your hotel is not only appealing to guests who are environmentally conscious but in the long run, it will really pay off. Some of our customers are already on the greener path, let’s see what makes them so special:

The Íslandshótel group, Iceland

  • Pledges sustainable profit
  • Leadership in Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Certified with Nordic Eco-labeling
Fosshotel Eastfjords

The Íslandshótel group is part of the official Icelandic environmental and quality system: Vakinn. They support and promote environmental awareness and social responsibility. This all sounds impressive, but what do they actually do to help the environment? The group purchases only environmentally-friendly equipment, products, and services when available; uses local, organic produce for food and limits the use of chemicals to the minimum. Besides that, they provide information and easy waste management to the guests, train and educate staff on current environmental issues and try to raise awareness. (Source).

Hotel Haaga Central Park, Finland

This might come as a surprise to people living outside the Nordics, but some capital cities have nature trails within them. Located in Helsinki, Hotel Haaga encourages guests to take walks and hikes on the nearby nature trails with walking sticks, bikes, and other gear that one can freely acquire at the reception. The kitchen operates fully organic, waste is separated and sent off to recycling. Hotel Haaga’s staff is carefully and regularly trained, information on environmental impact is provided all throughout the guest cycle and green modes of transportation are heavily encouraged. Additionally Haaga’s spa functions with only organic treatments (Source)

Nordic Hotel Forum, Estonia

  • Green Key certified,
  • Socially responsible

The Nordic Hotel Forum operates its kitchen with locally sourced produce, encourages guests to hike in the Estonian countryside and to take a green transportation method when exploring Tallinn. Cleaning is done with eco-friendly materials and minimal chemical impact. Guests are informed of their impact and encouraged to separate their trash. The hotel also pledges to not discriminate when it comes to guests and employees and regularly participates in local charities both with manpower and financial means. And guess what. They even have their own urban bees.  (Source).

The Sokos Hotels,  Russia, Finland, Estonia

The Sokos hotel chain is a special one. Operating in three different countries, it uses different methods to stay green. For example, it upcycles, donates and reuses its old furniture with the help of various local charities. At the Sokos hotels, the staff is trained to work eco-friendly, all cleaning materials are green, and there is always a chance to recycle waste. Low emission transport is encouraged and guests are informed about what they could do to lower their environmental impact. (Source).

A 2018 study shows that most people prefer sustainability, but it can be exhausting to do everything right and environmentally friendly.

Make it easy for your guests. These above-mentioned hotels have spas, fine restaurants, and deluxe suites; everything you need for a lavish holiday without the environmental impact. We can give you some tips on how it is done.

Get your whole team involved

1.) It’s a key step! All of the above-mentioned hotels regularly train their staff to stay up on their ‘green game’.  Jot down some rules and ethics you all believe in and your Corporate Social responsibility regulations are done! You can also put this up on your wall or social media to (re-)brand yourself as socially or environmentally conscious, according to a study done by Forbes, 81% of younger people appreciate that.

2.) Skip the cleaning! Most hotels accommodate a lot of guests who stay for only 2-3 nights.
The daily cleaning and changing of towels use a lot of resources while most of us do not change our towels and clean our rooms at home every 2 days. And think about all the time and effort your staff put into this daily maintenance. You can skip all that!

We asked around among our clientele: would you be willing to forgo the daily cleaning and a fresh set
of towels if you’d gotten a drink instead? The answer was 100% yes.

Offer them something, like a complimentary prosecco in their room or a drink at your bar if they are willing to skip on the daily maintenance. Getting a cocktail and going green at the same time? Hell yeah! Not to mention this will be easy on your expenses as well.

Check-in online!

3.) Go paperless! Use a tablet for the check-in, and digitalize your back office. As for selling your extra services and products use an online platform, such as GuestJoy, that is available for guests via a wifi landing page.

4.) Incentivize a greener commute both for your employees and for your guests. This is another thing all of our sustainable clients do. Put out a rack in front of your hotel or down at your parking lot (that might also make guests and employees feel safer about their bikes). Even if you are a business hotel you can invest in a couple of bikes and rent them out to your guests, it’s pretty cool to bike to work nowadays. Moreover, they can keep the bike for the rest of the day and explore the city while exercising.

The Dutch royals going green. Source: Bicycledutch WP

Invest in sustainable products

5.) Ditch single-use plastic! Metal, glass and plant-based plastic products aren’t just environmentally friendly, they are a lot more chic too. Get a couple of baby plates and sporks, invest in aluminum or paper straws and get some paper or plant-based to-go cups and lunch bags. Try giving small soaps instead of the regular (plastic) bottled toiletries (if you want to keep it luxurious team up with a local artisan soap shop).

6.) Install multiple trash cans instead of just one. Of course, this depends on which country you are in, and how the local waste recycling is done. Nevertheless, you can have a few options for separating garbage: plastics, metals, paper, biodegradable and the rest.

These paper straws are just so much more instagrammable!

7.) Donate or upcycle what you will not use anymore. If it is legal food could go to a homeless shelter, such as duvet sets, and let a local hip furniture maker take care of your used furniture. You might be able to hang it up later as ‘art’.

So what is in it for you?

  • People love to think they are making a conscious choice, especially if it is easily made for them by you. They will feel happy about their stay at your premises.
  • You will cut your costs most likely by saving on water and other resources
  • Re-branding with Corporate Social Responsibility will strengthen your name and potentially draw more customers to you.
  • You will definitely gain support from Gen-Z and the millennials who are traveling.
  • A fancy label like Green Key will always catch customers’ eyes
  • And finally: saving the polar bears.

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