Travellers love a sustainable hotel experience, but are you a greenwash hotel or a green hotel?
It’s pretty easy to show your guests that you have made significant changes to help the environment and protect our planet. You don’t need a fancy award or an expensive auditing company. You just need to make some basic changes and make sure you tell your guests what you do.
Going green today is more that just asking guests to reuse their bath towels. It about the whole ethos of your organisation and how management address issues of waste, energy, water use, purchasing and practices.
I’ve seen plenty of hotels that have a sign telling guests that they care about the environment, but absolutely no evidence of any sustainability practices in place. I once stayed in a hotel in the Blue Mountains that proudly displayed their multi Eco Awards but we burnt half a forest over the weekend trying to stay warm!
And on that note – BEWARE THE ECO/SUSTAINABILITY/GREEN/ENVIRONMENTAL awards! They aren’t checked or policed by the awarding organisation, and they are totally based how the accommodation provider fills out the form. To be honest, you can write any old rubbish on most of them and get away with it. Organisations who run these awards do so with the best intentions, but they operate on a shoestring budget and would never have the time to check anything.
Google now provide eco-certification for hotels but information is self-reported and not verified by Google – no surprise there. Of course, if you want a Google ‘eco-certified’ badge you’ll need plenty of $$$s to engage a globally recognized agency to conduct an audit of your sustainability practices. Way out of reach of most operators.
So show your guests your obvious eco practices: no single use or single serve items (easy for them to spot); photos of your solar PV system or solar hot water; double glazing; recycling bins; bikes available for guests’ use; purchasing policies that include supporting local growers and suppliers and electric car recharging stations. If you do any of these put photos of them on your website and OTA listings.
Guests will pick up on these and know that you are putting real effort into reducing your environmental impact.