The Tech-Powered Journey to Sustainability in Hospitality

The Tech-Powered Journey to Sustainability in Hospitality


Sustainability is no longer just one of the trends in hospitality sector. More and more travelers care about the environment. Recent data shows that 43% choose eco-friendly trips, 49% support local businesses, 40% stay at sustainable places, and 37% will pay more for green options like carbon offsets. 

Hospitality accounts for 1% of worldwide carbon emissions, and this number is set to increase. Modern travelers are aware of this problem. So, a business must focus on sustainability and use new technologies. This is the only way to attract customers and stay competitive. 

So, how does new technology in the hospitality sector help to become more sustainable? Let’s find it out. 

Why is Sustainability Important for Hospitality? 

The UN World Tourism Organization defines sustainable tourism as “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social, and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment, and host communities.” 

Sustainable tourism takes a comprehensive, balanced approach to the global travel industry. The goal is to minimize harmful environmental and societal effects while maximizing positive outcomes. Sustainable practices include reducing waste, reusing and recycling materials, utilizing energy-efficient lighting, conserving water resources, and more. 

It aims to decrease tourism's adverse environmental and societal impacts to ensure long-term viability. Protecting the interests of future generations is paramount. With sustainable methods, tourism can flourish while safeguarding natural resources, cultural heritage sites, and local community welfare. Achieving sustainability allows tourism to prosper responsibly over time. 

Why Hotels Have to Be Sustainable 

Going green should be a natural part of every hotel's plan. It can make the hotel a tourist favorite and ensure lasting growth. Let's see how embracing sustainability helps hotels stand out and thrive. 

Revenue Growth 

In the ever-changing world of hotels, sustainability is good for the planet and a way to meet the growing demand for eco-friendly stays. According to the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance report, simple changes, like using energy-efficient lights and smart water solutions, can save money and make your hotel 20% more efficient. Sustainable hotels stand out and catch the eye of guests who care about the environment, especially when backed by official sustainability certifications. 

Customer Value Perception Enhancement 

People prefer brands open about their impact on the planet. Sustainable hotels, seen as responsible businesses, naturally gain guests' trust. This doesn't just bring in new guests – it also makes them want to return. According to a report by Capgemini, 77% of organizations see a strong link between sustainability and customer loyalty. 

Legal Requirements 

Governments are introducing carbon taxes and strict water policies. Recent laws, like the UK's Environment Act of 2021 and the EU's Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), show that hotels need to embrace sustainability. 

Being sustainable is not an extra effort; it should be part of every hotel's plan. Creating a green hotel keeps you in line with the rules and makes your hotel a top choice for tourists, ensuring long-lasting and steady growth. 

Hotel Management Enhancement

Tech Solutions for Hospitality 

Every bit counts when going green. That plastic bottle cap, paper napkin, and tiny shampoo bottles all add up. For the hospitality industry to truly embrace sustainability, hotels, and resorts can't just make changes behind the scenes. They must also get guests involved and inspired to reduce their footprint. Here are four ways the hospitality industry uses technologies to increase sustainability. 

Energy Management Systems (EMS) 

Energy management systems, or EMS, are software applications that monitor and regulate electrical utilities and devices consuming electricity. They help control hospitality's heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC). Typically, EMS includes IoT smart sensors such as occupancy sensors, thermostats, keyless entry systems, and motion detectors.  

For instance, The Merrion Hotel in Ireland reduced energy consumption by 48% due to implementing the Intelli-Hood system. According to the case study, the payback period took less than 18 months.  

Similarly, Oootopia, a co-living space in Hong Kong, harnessed the power of EMS to elevate its energy efficiency. They implemented occupancy sensors, smart A/C controllers, and energy meters. It helped them to get a substantial 30% monthly reduction in HVAC energy consumption. This translated into more cost-effective room rates and encouraged guests to make sustainable choices. 

Smart Waste Management Solutions 

Food waste is a massive issue that the hotel industry can no longer ignore. Tons and tons of good food are getting tossed in the trash can. And it's not just a waste of resources – it's harmful to the environment. According to the World Wildlife Fund, hotels and resorts worldwide are responsible for wasting a whopping 1.6 billion metric tons of food annually. 

Some forward-thinking hospitality groups are getting innovative to curb this senseless waste. Take Iberostar Group, for example. They've gone high-tech with artificial intelligence to track how much food is stored and thrown out across all their properties. 

It's all part of their ambitious “Zero Waste by 2025” goal. This AI system keeps an accurate log of what's getting binned and what's being saved. Armed with that data, their kitchen crews can make smarter decisions and fine-tune production to cut waste drastically. 

Water Conservation 

Water scarcity is a growing worldwide problem. Hotels are taking action to save water. Many hotels now have water-efficient fixtures like low-flow sinks and toilets. These use at least 20% less water without impacting guests. Hotels also encourage guests to reuse towels to reduce laundry needs and save water. 

Some hotels collect rainwater and recycle graywater – used water from sinks and showers in dry areas. Collected rainwater and treated graywater are used for landscaping and flushing toilets. This reduces the need for fresh water. 

In kitchen operations, transitioning to low water-consuming equipment has proven to be an effective strategy. For instance, Marriott Hotels has implemented Nor:disk Granule pot washing solutions in many properties. It saved an impressive 60-70% on water consumption related to washing pots and pans. 

Smart Room Technologies 

Guest service digitalization has been sweeping the hospitality industry for years, but the COVID-19 pandemic was the tipping point. Suddenly, contactless check-ins, keyless room entry, and guest messaging platforms weren't just convenient extras – they became essential for reducing risks and keeping everyone safe. 

But beyond the health benefits, all this new technology is also a huge win for sustainability. Think about it – ordering room service, booking spa appointments, requesting extra towels, all from your smartphone or in-room tablet – no more mountain of paperwork and plastic waste. 

Some chains like are going all-in on the tech revolution with systems like Connected Room. Guests can personalize every aspect of their stay from their phones – adjusting the thermostat, turning lights on/off, you name it. But the bigger sustainable payoff is in energy savings. On average, guests are physically out of their rooms around 70% of the time. So Hilton's smart rooms can automatically power down lights, TVs, and AC/heat when vacant. 

Challenges of Implementing Sustainable Technologies 

Going green in the hotel biz is more complex than it sounds. While more and more properties are jumping on the sustainability bandwagon, there are some real hurdles they have to overcome along the way. But by getting honest about these challenges upfront, hotels can plan smarter and make their eco-friendly dreams a reality. 

High Initial Costs  

Implementing significant sustainable changes often comes with a hefty price tag attached. Hotel managers constantly juggle guest satisfaction with cost-effectiveness, and green initiatives can strain the budget. 

Whether upgrading to energy-saving tech, investing in eco-friendly materials, or starting an on-site organic garden, these projects require some capital. And sourcing locally-grown produce for the restaurant? That's going to cost more than the conventional supply chain. 

Lack of Awareness Among Staff and Customers 

Even with all the right policies, sustainability falls flat if the people executing them don't understand the “why” behind it all. Hotel staff need to be fully informed about the benefits and their responsibilities for making positive change happen. 

And then there are the guests themselves. Sure, lots of people like to talk about being eco-conscious. But do they grasp just how much their day-to-day choices impact the environment? If those comfy eco-rooms and resource-saving amenities aren't correctly used, they're about as useful as a chocolate teapot. 

Difficulty Measuring Progress and Success 

They say you can't manage what you don't measure. And with sustainability, that's where things get tricky. Tracking progress goes beyond complex numbers like lower energy usage or less waste. 

Take those automated eco-rooms, for example. Figuring out their real impact requires building a comprehensive tracking system that accurately measures and benchmarks the results over time – no easy feat. And even then, there's the question of reliably assessing whether green-minded guests adapt their consumption habits accordingly. 

Developing suitable metrics and monitoring is an ongoing process of refinement. But without that dialed in, hotels will struggle to tangibly prove their environmental credibility and make smarter, sustainable choices long-term. 

To Conclude 

Being eco-friendly isn't just a nice perk for hotels anymore – keeping up with modern travelers is an absolute must. Guests care about sustainability these days, and the hotel industry's massive environmental footprint means intense pressure to go green. 

High-tech energy solutions, fancy eco-room gadgets, and innovative waste management solutions help the planet and streamline operations. 

Sure, there are specific challenges related to technology implementation, like high upfront costs, getting full staff and guest buy-in, and adequately measuring eco-progress. But sustainability is the only way for hotels to truly future-proof their success and give back to the world we share. 

The properties hopping on the green train now aren't just making a savvy financial call. They're showing they genuinely care about our planet's tomorrow. As the industry tackles these challenges, cutting-edge eco-tech will steer hospitality towards a sustainable future. 

Are you aiming to make your hotel more sustainable? Svitla Systems is here to help you. Do contact us, so we can explore your needs and offer a reasonable solution.  

by Svitla Team

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