The Significance of Sustainability in the Hotel Business

The Significance of Sustainability in the Hotel Business

Sus­tain­abil­ity has long been a much-heeded topic in the hotel indus­try. Con­fer­ence hotels, in par­tic­u­lar, often are con­fronted with ques­tions regard­ing their energy con­sump­tion, their use of renew­able energy sup­plies and the pro­cess­ing of regional prod­ucts, to name just a few exam­ples. This proves that hotels can­not afford to ignore the dis­cus­sion about this sub­ject if they want to main­tain their busi­ness. A study con­ducted in 2008 by the Asso­ci­a­tion of Ger­man Event Orga­niz­ers also proves this point. In this study, hotels were asked about the rel­e­vance of sus­tain­abil­ity in event plan­ning. The result showed that only 10.8% con­sider the sub­ject insignificant.

But it’s not only con­fer­ence guests who are mak­ing demands of the hotels, reg­u­lar hotel guests also are becom­ing more dis­cern­ing about an envi­ron­men­tally friendly and sus­tain­able stay. The rapidly grow­ing new guest group LOHAS (Lifestyle of Health and Sus­tain­abil­ity), in par­tic­u­lar, has com­mit­ted its way of life to health and sus­tain­abil­ity while com­bin­ing lifestyle with envi­ron­men­tal consciousness.

Hotels, too, are respond­ing to this trend. Accord­ing to a study by CHD Expert in 2009, 79.6% of the sur­veyed estab­lish­ments con­sider them­selves as envi­ron­men­tally con­scious.  Of course, often it is a long way from being envi­ron­men­tally ori­ented to actu­ally under­tak­ing spe­cific mea­sures that go beyond merely exchang­ing reg­u­lar light bulbs with energy sav­ing bulbs. But a grow­ing num­ber of hotels is invest­ing in mod­ern energy tech­nol­ogy and con­vert­ing to renew­able energy, since this results in a win-win sit­u­a­tion: Guests really appre­ci­ate it and hotels are able to save hard cash in their energy con­sump­tion while also doing some­thing good for the environment.

Accor’s Earth Guest Research came to an inter­est­ing result: 42% of Ger­man hotel guests expect the com­fort fac­tor to suf­fer if a hotel engages in sustainability-oriented mea­sures. Of course, com­fort and sus­tain­abil­ity do not exclude each other, as can be seen in many prac­ti­cal exam­ples.  How­ever, there would be a dis­tinctly neg­a­tive effect if a hotel were to cut back on its ser­vices and explain these steps with ‘sus­tain­abil­ity’. Ulti­mately, hotels would be doing them­selves a dis­ser­vice because guests are always quick to rec­og­nize whether a hotel’s efforts are con­sis­tent and authen­tic. And, as men­tioned before: hotels ben­e­fit, too.

There­fore, it is safe to say that hotels are attribut­ing more and more sig­nif­i­cance to this topic and that the rel­e­vance of sus­tain­abil­ity will con­tinue to grow in this indus­try. Whether hotel guests will raise their respec­tive demands remains to be seen. If they do, hotels will, no doubt, accom­mo­date their expectations.


Asso­ci­a­tion of Ger­man Events Orga­niz­ers e.V. (Pub­lisher) (2008): 2008 study – basic infor­ma­tion about the events mar­ket in Germany.

CHD Expert G,bH (2009): CHD study: Envi­ron­men­tal Aware­ness in the hos­pi­tal­ity indus­try – “Green Hos­pi­tal­ity” – Scheessel 2009

Accor (2011): “Earth Guest Research – Key Learn­ings”

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