Sustainable tourism

Ideas for eco-friendly hotels: 6 ways to make a hotel more sustainable

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Ideas for eco-friendly hotels: 6 ways to make a hotel more sustainable

Currently, most accommodation centres are looking to save energy, but there are many other actions your hotel can take to make it even more sustainable; that is:

Managing resources to meet current needs, without putting those of the future at risk.

Guests are becoming more interested in the practices followed by accommodation centres and are basing their choices on questions of sustainability. More and more companies are following this path and are genuinely interested in offering more environmentally friendly alternatives that place tourism as an ally for the sustainability of the environment, and not as an impediment. Here are 6 tips to help achieve this:

1. A commitment to energy saving

One of the first steps in offering sustainable accommodation is to be aware of the importance of energy efficiency, by having a series of measures that both contribute to maintaining a more respectful relationship with the environment, while providing significant savings on hotel bills. According to this article, US hotels spend an average of $2,196 per available room on energy each year; or 6% of operational costs. Here are some energy efficiency measures expanded upon in this article :

  • Lighting savings: By favouring natural light and replacing old light bulbs with LEDs.
  • Thermal insulation: By investing in proper insulation for windows, ceilings and walls.
  • Installing energy saving devices: at Omnitec, we offer everything from energy savers that work with the room card (the simplest one reduces energy consumption by up to 30%), to movement, door and windows sensors that optimise electricity consumption in the rooms (by up to 60%).
  • Installing water flow restrictors: These can provide water savings of up to 50% without compromising the comfort of guests.
  • Solar panels: This is a very interesting option in the hotel sector, both for electricity and for hot water. It is estimated that savings of up to 70% can be made with a return on investment in approximately 5 years.

2. Organic and Zero Kilometre products on your menus

After these basic saving measures, you can still go a little further in your commitment to the environment by offering organic, seasonal and local products in your menus. Don’t forget to indicate their origin on the menu or buffet cards. The most conscientious customers will appreciate this and it will also contribute to forming alliances with other businesses.

3. Avoiding food waste

The first step is to try to forecast, as much as is possible, the number of guests and the amount they eat each day. However, for large hotels with free buffets, it is almost impossible for there not to be leftover food. Therefore, other ways for hotels to donate leftover food should be considered; for example, by giving it to nearby soup kitchens or by inclusion in programmes that allow leftover food to be offered at a reduced price.

4. Practising selective waste collection

Along with reducing and reusing, this is another of the keys for eco-friendly accommodation. To go one step further, many of the accommodation centres classified as ecological use part of their kitchen waste to make compost, which can then be used to fertilise nearby farms or gardens.

5. Promoting sustainable mobility

Part of the essence of an eco-friendly accommodation centre is not only implementing environmentally friendly practices, but also promoting them among guests. An example is sustainable mobility; with possibilities such as replacing car use by lending or renting bikes to guests for short trips they make during their stay. Also, having an electric vehicle charging point will provide peace of mind for such car owners.

6. Alliances with the local community

Sustainability not only includes care of the environment, but also social and economic development. Eco-friendly hotels are linked most of the time with these proposals that have a positive impact on the local community and the environment. Examples range from organising wine tastings at the nearest winery to promoting family visits to a local school farm.

Furthermore, although it may seem that there are many such options in rural areas, interesting agreements can also be made with businesses in towns or cities. For example, by offering a discount for a nearby restaurant; serving breakfast in a cafe next door; or simply recommending local places to visit, eat or shop for guests when they arrive.