The world is becoming increasingly aware of the risks of climate change and the need to protect the environment. As a result, consumers are now demanding brands that operate with more ethical and sustainable business practices. And the hotel industry is no exception. In order to remain relevant and competitive in an increasingly saturated market, you need to create strategies that promote sustainability in hospitality. In other words, you need to show your target market that your business cares about the environment in which it operates; that you’re not exclusively driven by an indiscriminate need to generate profit.
There are many strategies you can implement to promote sustainability in hospitality. And they don’t necessarily involve huge investments or a complete overhaul of your mission, vision, and goals. In fact, sometimes all it takes to make a positive impact on your reputation as a sustainable business is making a few small but significant changes. And these changes can be a great lever for creating an appealing customer magnet that drives business to your hotel.
What is sustainability in hospitality?
There’s no denying that concern about sustainability and caring for the planet is increasing amongst travellers, especially those from younger generations. These days, more and more consumers are demanding brands, in every industry, that drive positive change, implement measures to reduce their carbon footprint, and strive to improve the environments in which they operate. And this includes the hospitality industry.
Essentially, sustainability in hospitality is all about promoting a sustainable strategy that demonstrates to the world that your business is committed to developing its sense of corporate social responsibility. That you are working to implement measures that reduce the waste you generate, and that you want to make a positive impact on the planet through your business activities. And this is especially relevant in the travel and hotel industry which is renowned for its high levels of resource consumption and consumable goods.
What is a customer magnet?
A customer magnet is a marketing term used to describe your ability to draw customers to your business. It’s your ability to attract and retain customers that see value in the products and services that you offer. The more effective your customer magnet is, the more revenue you will generate in your business.
In order to create an effective customer magnet, you need to view your business from the perspective of your guests. Think about how they feel throughout the entire guest experience that you offer.
Consider the following:
- Safety: Are you satisfying the emotional needs of your guests?
- Achievement: What are you doing that makes you stand out from your competitors?
- Value: Are you creating a valuable legacy for future generations?
- Experience: Does your hotel offer your guests a memorable and desirable experience?
Once you’ve done this, you need to design a strategy that addresses these four aspects. For example, implementing a revenue strategy focused on sustainability in hospitality can be a great way to improve your customer magnet. This is because many guests are now favouring brands that promote green practices. A sustainability strategy can help them feel secure that you are making a positive impact on the planet and that you go the extra mile compared to your competitors. And this can help you offer an improved guest experience that boosts your reputation as a business that cares about the planet.
How to implement a customer magnet and boost sustainability in hospitality
Now let’s take a look at some of the steps you need to follow in order to build your reputation as a hotel that drives sustainability in hospitality.
Establish your current level of sustainability
The first thing you need to do is establish your current level of sustainability. What are you already doing in your hotel to reduce your carbon footprint and establish yourself as a responsible business?
A good place to start with this is conducting a full audit of all your waste management and consumables processes. How much energy do you use? What is your current carbon footprint? How much food waste do you generate? Do you use sustainable suppliers? Have you already implemented any Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practices?
The more information you can gather at this stage, the better understanding you will have of what you need to do in order to become a more socially and environmentally aware business. And this will enable you to define clear goals for sustainability in hospitality. It’s also a good idea to align your objectives with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), designed to promote a more sustainable future for the planet.
Create initiatives to promote sustainability in hospitality
The next step is implementing initiatives that promote sustainability in hospitality. These should be centred around the overall objective of reducing your hotel’s carbon footprint and the waste it generates.
Here are a few ideas you might consider including in your overall revenue management strategy:
- Update your utility infrastructures by using LED lighting and high-efficiency water fixtures.
- Source local suppliers for food and beverages.
- Use eco-friendly cleaning products.
- Promote ecotourism and sustainable means of transportation, such as offering courtesy bicycles to guests instead of booking taxis.
- Train your staff on sustainable waste management processes and encourage them to recycle.
Obtain sustainability certification
Finally, a great initiative to get you on the right foot on your journey towards sustainability in hospitality is applying for sustainability certification. Certification organisations can provide you with a wealth of information for developing more sustainable business practices. You can learn how to evaluate your impact on the planet, identify strategies for improving your internal management processes, and discover which technologies can help your business operations run more smoothly.
Here are 3 of the top sustainability certifications that you might consider:
- Travelife is a tourism certification initiative that supports organisations that want to become more sustainable. It does this by helping them improve their social and environmental impact through a range of sustainability criteria. The organisation also offers management training and B2B tools for creating a more sustainable supply chain.
- Certified B Corporations, also known as B Corps, are organisations that have committed to meeting high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. The aim of the companies that have joined this network is to make a positive impact on all stakeholders and environments in which they operate.
- Biosphere specialises in a range of certifications that promote sustainability in hospitality. Obtaining their hotel certification can demonstrate to your guests that you are actively working to reduce consumption, waste and emissions.