Hotels should implement sustainability accreditation systems, survey reveals

Boutique hotels and Bed & Breakfasts (B&B) would generate more customer interest if they were judged through a sustainable accreditation system similar to food and service quality ratings, a survey from energy supplier E.ON has revealed.

The survey of 2,000 people – which aimed to gauge public opinion on sustainability within the hospitality sector – revealed that almost a third of hotel guests want an accreditation system linked to sustainable practices to be implemented across hotels and B&Bs; with 50% revealing that the sustainability and energy use of a hotel is “important to them”.

E.ON’s head of business energy solutions Phil Gilbert said: “The changes in travelling habits and the demands of guests will have a significant impact on hotels both small and large. Hotel owners and managers can consider ways of how to incentivise their guests to keep their energy use down, and to ensure their energy systems are as efficient as possible.

“Cutting down waste, using smart technology to manage buildings and possibly generating their own power are all options for hotels to consider and E.ON can help throughout the whole process from concept to management.”

The survey revealed that 19% of guests would recommend a hotel if it used renewable energy sources, while 17% would also be swayed by energy efficiency measures such as low-energy lighting. Around half of respondents would be willing to become an “eco-customer” and adopt environmentally beneficial actions such as single towel use and low energy and hot water consumption in exchange for a 10% price discount.

Despite one in ten guests calling for smart thermostats and monitors to be introduced to measure energy consumption in rooms, a third revealed that they use more energy in hotels than they normally would at home. In response, 10% have called for recycled water systems to mitigate consumption.

Holistic hotels

With the survey revealing that hotels could boost customer reservations through sustainability measures, E.ON hopes that it’s Energy Toolkit – which boasts more than one million customers – will be used to highlight real-time consumption of electricity within hotels.

With the Carbon Trust claiming that hospitality businesses can reduce energy costs by 40% through energy efficiency opportunities, a raft of top hoteliers have moved to maximise these savings through a variety of initiatives.

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has announced the appointment of global water-use experts, the Water Footprint Network, to develop a worldwide water stewardship programme to analyse water usage in over 100 countries across the world.

Last year, Marriott hotels unveiled a new energy demand reduction scheme to cut its carbon footprint by implementing an automated signal management system which reduces energy output during times of low demand. The hotelier has also trialled a pot-washing technology in its kitchens that has cut water use by almost 92%.

As delegates flocked to Paris for the historic COP21 climate talks in December, AccorHotels – which is planting 1,000 vegetable gardens to tackle food waste – revealed that it would offset the carbon footprint of all overnight stays in the Ile-de-France region, including those at rival hotels, during the two week conference.

Matt Mace

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