The 10-Steps to Sustainable Hospitality

By Dian Hasan | July 20, 2010

A new century of environmental consciousness is dawning. Under the pressures of explosive human population growth, our planet’s natural communities are shriveling rapidly. They are shrinking on all fronts because of the expansion of agriculture, urbanization, damming, forest fragmentation, contaminants into water tables, road building, and even more indirect human impacts such as the invasion by exotic species and the distribution of genetic crops.

This sounds like the call to help would be immediately relevant for resort hotels, especially those that already take advantage of the beautiful natural setting and rich culture.

But what if you’re a business hotel at an urban location? What can you do to partake in doing your share to help?

Anything challenging can be made easier if it’s broken down to smaller bite-size step. Colorado-based hospitality company, RockResorts, is a good example of how this is done, embracing 10 steps. Encompassing property-wide initiatives to guest rooms, guest rooms, F&B (food and beverage) and spas:

1. Energy Conservation

From central operations such as boilers to lighting systems, kitchen equipment, and automated energy management systems, hotels globally are working to reduce energy use while sustaining – and whenever possible enhancing – the guest experience.

2. Water Conservation

Within guest rooms, laundries, kitchens, and pools and spas, hotels continue to phase in efficiencies that reduce water and in many cases chemicals that are used to treat water systems and clean facilities. Efforts include linen and towel reuse programs that are now an industry standard to installation of low-flow faucets, showerheads and other fixtures.

3. Recycling and waste reduction

With limited exception for domestic hotels, recycling programs for the basics such as newspapers and beverage containers are becoming a basic expectation. In combination hotels are looking for opportunities to reduce the use of paper and other disposables. Hotels and resorts that can go beyond to implement food waste composting programs can demonstrate waste diverted from the landfill upwards of 40-50%.

4. Hotel bath amenities

Many hotels are making a statement by offering guests custom formulated amenities. Resort companies such as RockResorts have taken it one step further with an all natural, essential oil-based custom formulated product made without preservatives and artificial ingredients packaged in recyclable containers. Others midrange hotel brands are experimenting with bulk dispenser presentations.

5. Room Keys

Contemporary plastic key cards are made from PVC – poly vinyl chloride based plastic which is part of a highly toxic manufacturing process. Many hotel companies are shifting to card options made from paper, wood and bioplastic that are better for the environment, but are equally as durable.

6. Cleaning Products

Recognizing the importance of safer products for guests and employees as well as the natural environment, many hotels have shifted to cleaning products that are made with bio-based oils and other natural cleaners, reducing the use of products with chlorine bleach and petrochemical derivatives. Products have demonstrated performance and are less irritating to guests and employees.

7. Local and seasonal produce

Integrating local products and using fresh, seasonal produce and other ingredients is emerging as a significant focus of hotel food and beverage programs. A shift to more sustainable and healthier cuisine offers travelers unique opportunities to experience a greater connection to the locations they are visiting.

8. Alternatives to bottled water

In support of waste reduction and a higher quality experience, many hotels are moving away from bottled water as the standard and offering unique hydration options for meeting attendees and independent travelers. Look for conveniently located filtered water dispensers, complimentary refillable bottles, and other options designed to offer guests convenient and palatable alternatives to water in plastic bottles.

9. Organic menu selections

Hotels and resorts are integrating more and more selections in menus of all types that integrate organic produce, hormone free meats and dairy, and other natural products that offer guests healthier food selections.

10. Spas

A growing trend with all types of spas is the integration of treatments that feature local and indigenous ingredients, as well as natural and organic products. Similarly, unique, brand and resort signature treatments are emerging to truly offer guests a special connection to the destination.

Inspiration: about.com: event planning

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