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): Veranstaltungsplaner.de 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” http://www.accor.com/en/sustainable-development/earth-guest-research/guest-tracking-study/key-learnings.html