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Eco Tourism: How To Make Your Hotel More Sustainable

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Set yourself apart from other businesses, positively impact the environment and impress your guests. Here’s how to make your hotel more sustainable.

Hotels and other types of accommodation worldwide are fantastic for driving employment and economic revenue, but they produce unimaginable waste and pollution. Hotels and different types of accommodation contribute 2% of the 5% of global CO2 emissions by the tourism sector. 

By becoming a greener hotel, you can attract guests looking for more responsible and sustainable travel options. This benefits the environment and can be a brilliant marketing move. However, what works for one hotel may not be feasible or suitable for others. Therefore, we have put together a selection of ways to make your hotel sustainable and inspire you to implement change. 

The Green House Bournemouth, an example of a sustainable hotel

The Green House in Bournemouth is an excellent example of creating and effectively branding an eco-hotel. They include on their website that they are the greenest hotel in the UK, from the building itself to what goes in and out, to who they employ and everything they use. This is a fantastic example of a fully committed and sustainable hotel to take inspiration from. 

Ways to make your hotel more sustainable

1. Reduce your use of plastic 

Throwaway culture is a problem across the tourism industry; think back to your hotel stays and how much single-use plastic you see used in everyday amenities like shampoo and conditioner bottles, body wash packages, and coffee cups. Unfortunately, this plastic often ends up in our oceans. 

One way to reduce plastic use is to eliminate single-use bottles. The world’s largest hotel chain, Marriott International, ditched its tiny shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel bottles for a more sustainable approach and estimated to save about 500 million little plastic bottles per year across the company’s 7,000 hotels in 132 countries.

While guests still need amenities to have a great stay, there are eco-friendly options like cartridge or bulk-fill solutions that are more sustainable and won’t harm the environment. Consider using recyclable and biodegradable packaging and other reusable materials that guests can use repeatedly, reducing unnecessary waste. Or even start by offering plastic items such as shower caps and razors on request only and notify guests of their efforts to reduce plastic waste.

2. Consider a rooftop garden 

Rooftop gardens and green roofs have many advantages. They blend countryside and  building designs into the surrounding landscape and give life to an otherwise dull grey roof by creating an attractive green space for guests to relax, enjoy the view, or even have a meal. 

They also have significant environmental benefits. Even a tiny rooftop garden can help offset your hotel’s carbon footprint. Green roofs can keep roof surfaces cooler, which is a considerable advantage. With layers of vegetation and soil providing insulation, they regulate the temperature of the building and cut down on the need for heating and cooling. This can lead to remarkable energy savings. Additionally, they encourage biodiversity and can help attract pollinators such as birds and butterflies.

3. Source local ingredients for your menu

Locally sourcing your ingredients can help reduce your carbon footprint. You can support local farmers and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from food transportation. Your menu can also feature sustainable options, like vegetarian and vegan dishes, which require fewer resources to produce compared to meat-based dishes. 

A lovely example of this is Heckfield Place in Hampshire. This hotel uses its land to create a biodynamic farm, a regenerative agriculture method. This approach is deemed by many as a solution to address the climate crisis. The farm’s team of experts works with the land and seasons, cultivating and harvesting crops such as grain, organic fruit, herbs, and vegetables by hand. These crops are used in the hotel’s restaurant, and the livestock provides most dairy products. By practising this type of conscious farming, the hotel can reduce emissions from transport and it’s a great example of farm-to-plate dining in the UK.

Establishing processes for composting waste to support sustainable gardening practices is important, too. You can also consider donating unused or leftover food to support local and national food banks and programs.

4. Switch to sustainable uniforms, towels, and bedding

Another way to strive for sustainability is to opt for uniforms, towels and bedding made from eco-friendly materials. Choosing these items made from organic cotton or recycled polyester can be great. Not only are they sustainable, but they’re often more durable and long-lasting, which can save money in the long run. Making a conscious effort to choose sustainable options can also improve brand image and contribute to a healthier planet.

If you’re looking for high-quality towels for a hotel, these 100% Certified Organic Cotton towels are an excellent choice. They are high quality and very absorbent. Plus, you can add your design or logo for a professional touch. 

If your hotel boasts a restaurant or bar, this apron made from recycled cotton and post-consumer plastic is a fantastic eco-friendly uniform option. The apron features two slanted side pockets with contrasting trim, a neckband with a knot for height adjustment, and contrast stitching. It is also BSCI, SEDEX, and WRAP certified.

5. Reduce water consumption

By 2030, the demand for fresh water is expected to be 40% more than the available supply. There are so many ways to reduce water consumption within hotels. We have seen Travelodge introducing aerated shower heads and taps. Theyreduce water consumption by 50% and lower utility consumption as less water is heated in bathrooms. research shows that a significant number of travellers are willing to make changes to their travel experience to reduce water consumption. During a three-month test period for the Sustainable Stays project, it was found that 67% of guests hung their towels to be reused when given a simple message (“Feel free to rehang your towel here”) and an extra hook next to the wardrobe. This is such a simple yet effective change.

6. Get your guests involved! 

Remember to involve your guests in promoting sustainability at your hotel. If you already have a green culture, many guests will appreciate this. Consider offering recycling bins and encouraging guests to reuse linens, unplug appliances, and turn off lights when they’re not in use. Encouraging guests to reuse towels, sheets, and bedding to reduce water and energy waste is a small but effective change, and most travellers are happy to do their part. It’s also essential to ask for feedback and suggestions from your guests, as they may have great ideas for improving your environmental initiatives. 

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We hope you find these ways to make your hotel more sustainable helpful. Even if your hotel or hotel group already has eco-friendly programmes, there is always room for improvement. For more sustainability tips and updates from us join our newsletter today.