10 Steps to Sustainable Hospitality Operations that Cut Costs & Attract Guests

hotel_sustainable_operations_10_ideas.jpgMaximizing your sustainable hospitality operations is closer than you think, and it doesn’t necessarily require a major overhaul of how you do business. While it’s best to invest in the latest energy-efficient equipment and technology, here are 10 simple steps you can take to be greener, cut costs and make your property more attractive to eco-friendly guests. 

1: Offer Guests the Option to Forego Housekeeping Services…

…and offer incentives to do so. At check-in, offer guests the chance to skip having housekeeping make up their rooms in exchange for extra rewards points or a voucher for the restaurant, bar or gift shop. 

2: Let Guests Decide What Towels They Want Laundered

Put a card in each bathroom letting guests know that housekeeping will only clean towels that aren’t hung up on the provided hooks. Towels on the floor = take them away; towels hung up = leave them for now.

3: Consider Moving Your Laundry Services Off-site

Between labor, equipment, water, gas, electricity and maintenance, laundry is likely one of your biggest costs and energy expenditures. Consider the benefits of having an eco-friendly vendor handle the dirty work instead.

4: Replace Plastic Bottles in Bathrooms with Refillable Containers

Clearly marked and mounted shampoos, conditioners and body washes are a great way to cut the clutter – and potential waste – of small plastic bottles. If guests love the scents and selection, offer the items for sale in the gift shop.

5: Donate Unused or Gently Used Items to Local Social Service Agencies

If switching to refillable containers isn’t an option, consider gathering up unused or slightly used toiletries and donating them to a local homeless shelter.

6: Make Recycling Obvious and Easy

Put at least one clearly marked recycling bin in each room and list what kinds of materials you recycle. In open areas such as the lobby or pool, put recycling bins next to trash cans.

7: Provide Newspapers Only to Guests Who Request Them

Giving a complementary copy of a newspaper to every guest can be a nice gesture but ultimately wasteful. If you have the option to let guests opt-out, have them decide at check-in whether they want a newspaper delivered. Or offer a pile for free in high-traffic areas such as elevator lobbies or the lobby coffee shop.

8: Have Housekeeping Close Blinds and Curtains in Guest Rooms

This simple step takes seconds per room and can save up to 15% a year on cooling costs. You can also ask guests to shut out the sun as they leave their rooms every morning.

9: Ask Guests and Staff to Shut Off Lights and Televisions When They Leave

In general, guests spend the majority of their hotel stays outside of their rooms, and if they or housekeeping don’t turn off the lights, you’re paying for electricity to empty spaces. It’s a simple step that can save energy and may not occur to guests who are used to leaving their house lights on when they leave for the day.

10: Have Guests Decide If They Want a Paper Receipt

Today’s tech-savvy guests may prefer an electronic receipt emailed to them rather than paper slipped under their doors. To give them a chance to review before checkout, have receipt details displayed on televisions or pushed to their mobile apps. This easy option saves you paper, ink and time.

With a few quick adjustments, you can make sustainable hospitality operations the norm for your property. Getting guests in on the act takes some of the burden off of you and your staff, and guests will feel virtuous for reducing their carbon footprint.

If you liked these suggestions, you might like our free guide with 25 eco-friendly hotel practices that you can start implementing now!