From bamboo key cards to light and heating sensors in rooms, hotels have introduced a variety of new sustainability initiatives in recent years to reduce waste, increase the efficiency of resources and better consider the communities around them.
Brands are getting braver about communicating the actions they are taking in their properties. And as they shift away from more traditional sustainability approaches, hotel guests are also now increasingly being invited to be a part of these initiatives for people and planet, making sustainability an integral part of the guest experience by incentivising and introducing motivations and rewards.
By rewarding their guests for taking the right decisions, hotels can help drive sustainable behaviour habits among guests by encouraging those who may not usually participate. Encouraging guests to embrace these initiatives and opt for more sustainable options, will not only support them in achieving their sustainable goals, but in turn they can also help the hotels reduce costs of energy and water.
Here we round up some of the creative ways that hotels are involving their guests and staff and encouraging them to adopt socially and environmentally friendly practices during their stay.
- Reward Programs: Many hotels are now offering loyalty points or rewards for guests who opt for sustainable practices, including reusing towels, conserving energy by turning off lights and electronics when not in use, or choosing not to have their room serviced every day. The IHG Hotels & Resorts ‘Greener Stay’ initiative encourages One Rewards members to opt out of housekeeping services by rewarding 500 IHG One Rewards points for every night they opt out of housekeeping services.
- Green Initiatives: Many hotels have introduced green initiatives such as using renewable energy sources, reducing water consumption through efficient fixtures, and implementing recycling programs. Guests are being encouraged to participate in these initiatives by providing incentives like discounts, complimentary services, or donations to environmental causes.
- Special Amenities: Hotels are offering special amenities or services for guests who actively engage in sustainable practices. Providing bicycles for guests who choose not to use cars, offering locally sourced and organic food options, or partnering with eco-friendly companies for unique experiences are examples of this. As a thank you to guests who share the same commitment to sustainability, The Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills rewards those who drive electric vehicles by offering complimentary valet parking and charging. While The Hoxton is taking £20 off a stay when guests move from one hotel to another using rail, encouraging guests to choose lower-carbon transport.
- Use of Technology: Some hotels use technology to encourage sustainability, like smart thermostats that adjust room temperature when guests are away or apps that track a guest’s eco-friendly actions. Guests can then be rewarded for these actions. such as discounts or late check-out can be offered to guests who decline a change of linen and towels, use air-conditioning less intensively, or removing single-use plastic from their room.
- Community Engagement: Hotels might involve guests in community-based sustainability projects during their stay, such as beach clean-ups, tree planting, or supporting local conservation efforts. Guests can feel a sense of contribution to the environment, making their stay more meaningful. Marriott Bonvoy’s Good Travel programme enables guests to create a positive impact and build deeper connections in local communities when staying in their hotels, giving them the opportunity to take part in curated experiences, such as beach cleans.
- Education and Awareness: Some hotels inform guests about their sustainable practices and the environmental impact of certain actions. By raising awareness, guests may be more inclined to participate in sustainability efforts.
We asked some of our team to share the initiatives they had experienced while on their travels this year.
Staying at the Radisson Blu Wroclaw, Melanie Failes, Head of Events, said: “I received a little bag in my room. If you hung it on the door by midnight then you didn’t get housekeeping the next day but instead you got given a little gift in the bag. This is much more effective than just leaving the card on the bed which too often gets ignored.” A similar initiative was also spotted by Phil Webber, Events Consultant, at the Vienna House by Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, with goodie bags left in place of housekeeping.
While Andy Turner, Events Lead, said the Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts Christchurch IHG Hotels & Resorts offered “A Greener Stay. Which, by foregoing housekeeping you could earn 500 bonus points per day. I’ve also seen this at the Marriott Marquis Chicago who were running the ‘Make A Green Choice’ program, where you can earn 500 daily reward points for declining housekeeping.”
With the traditional plastic versions being phased out across many properties, bamboo key cards were also spotted at several hotels by our staff, including the Sheraton Novi Sad Serbia and the QE2 in Dubai, with many more now adopting this more ecologically sustainable material.
Travel Places can support a more sustainable stay
Sustainability continues to influence our sports, music and media clients’ decisions around where and how they stay, and it is now forming a vital part of our procurement and contract processes when sourcing accommodation on their behalf. Our ISO 20121:2012 Sustainable Event Management certification means we can work with our clients to advise and ensure their business travel aligns with their sustainability goals. But we can also help those accommodation suppliers that may need support with the sustainability action needed to win business.
Find out more about the work we do with our clients and suppliers to enable a more sustainable stay.