The global hotel industry is huge, quite mind bogglingly huge. Estimates vary wildly from 187,000 to 500,000, if you include formal B&B’s. This does not include most Airbnb. Also these numbers are establishments not beds! The potential impact of new standards of what guests expect, or ask for, is massive. Like when the public sector decides to add new criteria to it’s purchasing rules.
Hotels respond to, and value, customer feedback. Good, or bad, reviews are worth a lot of money. If customers ask for sustainability features many hotels will consider them. Some green features have the added bonus of saving a hotel money. Conversely, if you choose a hotel because of their sustainability features, tell them. This will encourage them keep the practice, and strive to do more.
In this short video I interview Manh Vu, owner and creator of the Sapa Clay House. A new sustainability minded small hotel in the highlands of northern Vietnam. We discuss Manh’s motivations, and inspiration, for building sustainability into the very fabric of this establishment. An uncommon feature of a Vietnamese hotel in 2017.
World wide advice
There are a number of global, and regionally focused, organisations helping hotels; be greener, share best practice, and stay on top of new sustainability ideas;
- Green Hotelier has been providing practical information and news since 1996. They have a range of free tools, and a very helpful guide to some of the 140 certifications a hotel can chose from.
- Sustainable Hotel is a UK focused web site by consultancy firm Edensave. Helping the hotel industry make improvements to waste, water, energy and reducing carbon footprints.
- Green Hotels Association is an American organisation helping hotels since 1993 make savings through green initiatives. They also sell a number of relevant items such as the cards asking guests to hang up their towels.
I had wanted to help readers spot accreditation logos. To have assurances your hotel choice meets certain standards, not just greenwash. However, it appears that there are hundreds and these are not standardised across the world. For small hotels accreditation can be very expensive. Therefore it can be better for them to spend money on implementing green initiatives than being accredited.
When you next stay in a hotel look out for the following basic sustainability features;
- Bedding – is this left for a reasonable number of days, unless you ask for a change?
- Soap – is this individually wrapped, or a pump dispenser?
- Straws – if plastic, are they on request only, and not put in every drink :-O
- Tea & coffee – is this local if available. Or fair trade / organic if not?
- Toiletries – are these pump dispensers, or individual use?
- Towels – guests are asked to rehang towels if they are happy to reuse.
Call to action!
If your next hotel is not doing these basics ask them why. Speak to staff, use your feedback form, or online, via TripAdvisor / social media feeds. Use the #OneMoreThing? If they are making an effort, tell them how pleased you were to see certain features.