Destination sustainability in the hospitality industry
Given the global, cross-industry imperative to improve all aspects of sustainability, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and Accenture launched a survey that focuses on what environmental initiatives the hospitality industry is implementing.
Recent Accenture research shows that companies are facing a permanent state of change at a pace never seen before, and rapidly shifting consumer preferences and climate change are among the key drivers of this change.
As hotels continue to evolve how they do business coming out of the pandemic amid so much change, there is an imperative for a strategy that Accenture calls Total Enterprise Reinvention. Companies following this strategy (Reinventors) reinvent over time every part of their companies company, centered around a digital core and new ways of working that establish a culture and capability for continuous reinvention. Doing so, they can set a new performance frontier for themselves and their industry.
Accenture believes that we’re at the early phases of this wave of change, and the next three years will be characterized by Total Enterprise Reinvention. This makes it an ideal time for hotels to make sustainability part of their continuous reinvention, embedding it into everything they do to deliver long-term, sustainable value for stakeholders beyond financials.
The survey responses indicate that while there is heightened awareness around the sustainability imperative, largely due to increased focus on the issue from internal and external stakeholders, there are many opportunities for hoteliers to bolster their sustainability strategies.
of respondents acknowledge that there has been more pressure over the past few years to reduce hotels’ impact on the environment.
have completed a benchmark against competitors. However, only half recognized that the results impacted their sustainability strategy.
say that their sustainability strategy is missing key elements for implementation including budget, initiative details and resource allocation.
The survey findings suggest that hotel owners are in a difficult position when it comes to their sustainability investments. They recognize their importance and feel the pressure to act. But many things are standing in the way of developing a targeted and resourced strategy they can implement successfully.
The key to progress is to make decisions and set priorities with realistic expectations. Hotels can make meaningful change by building momentum from smaller, more manageable programs that involve achievable behavior change.
As hotels set their sustainability priorities and invest in capabilities to deliver on them, it’s critical to simultaneously drive top-down and bottom-up cultural change.
There is also work to do outside of the organization. Hotels should take the lead on making guests part of their sustainability journeys. In the business travel space, hotels can form corporate partnerships around shared sustainability commitments.
While the sustainability challenge is different for every hotel depending on its real estate footprint, size, location and many other factors, change doesn’t have to happen at once. It just has to start. Reinvention is continuous and should be the central strategy for the hotel industry going forward. Positive changes can build on each other, taking this industry further on the journey of a lifetime—the journey to a more sustainable future.
What is sustainability in hospitality?
Sustainability in hospitality refers to practices that hotels and other hospitality businesses undertake to reduce their environmental impact and conserve natural resources. Sustainability includes environmental, social, and governance (ESG) aspects and is focused on creating long-term value by addressing the environmental, social, and governance issues that affect the hospitality industry. Initiatives can include energy efficiency, water conservation, waste reduction, and environmentally friendly procurement and operations. Sustainability initiatives can also include activities that benefit local communities and society, such as supporting ethical labor practices or initiatives to promote local cultures and traditions. By implementing sustainable practices, hospitality businesses are able to reduce their environmental impact, increase their profitability, and better appeal to more socially conscious customers.
Why is sustainability in hospitality important?
Sustainability in hospitality is important because it helps to protect our environment and conserve resources. More and more, the business community is embracing the connection between business value and sustainable impact. Leaders recognize that sustainable practices can improve competitiveness, and investors are grounding decisions in sustainability and increasingly allocating capital toward sustainability initiatives. Stakeholder pressure from leisure and corporate travelers to governments, NGOs and regulators, as well as employees and investors is rising. Engaging in sustainability initiatives often involves mitigating risk, adhering to regulations, and an opportunity to innovate and grow. It also helps to create a more positive image for the industry by showing that hospitality businesses are committed to helping communities and contributing to a better world. Sustainable practices also have the potential to reduce operational costs and increase profitability. Finally, sustainability in hospitality helps to ensure that the industry is able to meet the needs of current and future generations.
Why should hotels be more sustainable?
Hotels should be more sustainable for a variety of reasons. First, sustainability can save money in the long run and help increase resilience and financial opportunity. Hoteliers don’t have to choose between conserving money and conserving the environment. Hotels can make sustainable investments that are financially prudent. Those can deliver a strong return on investment (ROI) and cost savings over time, e.g. by reducing energy and water consumption. Hotels can also increase their competitive advantage and attract more customers by demonstrating their commitment to sustainability and catering to new guest expectations. In addition, it can help protect the environment by reducing the carbon footprint, resource consumption and energy usage. Finally, it can help improve a hotel's reputation and enhance its brand image. More and more leaders recognize that sustainable practices can improve competitiveness, and investors are grounding decisions in sustainability and increasingly allocating capital toward sustainability initiatives.
How important is sustainability in hotels?
Sustainability is becoming increasingly important for hotels. Not only does it help to reduce the environmental impact of hotel operations, but it can also be beneficial for the hotel's reputation and bottom line and make it more resilient. Hotels can improve their sustainability by implementing energy and water conservation measures, reducing waste, and using more sustainable materials and products. Hotels can also promote their sustainability efforts on their website and social media channels to help improve their visibility in organic search rankings. While the sustainability challenge is different for every hotel depending on its real estate footprint, size, location and many other factors, change doesn’t have to happen at once. It just has to start.