Hotel Sustainability Starts With Employees

Today’s travelers are increasingly aware of the carbon footprint that their travel has. Unsurprisingly, hotels are investing in sustainability initiatives in response. Existing hotels are being refitted and new hotels are being built with energy-reducing technology. But are these physical changes enough to significantly improve hotel sustainability across the industry? Unless the entire hotel team is committed to drastically changing operations, probably not.

Here are some ways that you can create buy-in from employees at your own hotel and create true long-term sustainability.

Make Goal Setting a Team Effort

As with any goal, a sustainability initiative needs to be defined, achievable, and measurable. But to accomplish this, you need input from the entire team. Not only will this create a more realistic sustainability strategy, but it will create a sense of ownership for the leaders within a hotel. Consult with your department heads to see where fewer material resources and energy could be used. To get an even more concrete idea of opportunities, consider bringing a data-scientist onboard. They can help identify areas of waste that frontline staff might miss and even provide strategies to measure success.

Paint the Bigger Picture

It will take more than just a memo to get your staff excited about going green. No matter what your strategy entails, there will be operational changes. And we all know how reluctant people can be to change. Educate staff on the impact that these individual changes can have on the environment through workshops and continuing education. Also, be sure to feature any extra benefits that can come with going green. Many measures also have cost savings or increased sanitation or community impact. By showcasing the overall picture, staff can take pride in knowing that any extra work that comes with these changes can have a tangible effect.

Empower Teams and Individuals

Providing a common goal to work towards is a powerful team motivator. Find ways to reward milestones and offer incentives like company events or trips if the team hits its sustainability goals. Encourage staff to think creatively and make suggestions. For this, the hotel needs a clear communication channel for new ideas to make it to the right decision-makers. And if an individual goes above and beyond as a sustainability champion, be sure to recognize and celebrate them.

Communication is key

To truly embed sustainability into company culture, it needs to be visible to everyone. Post a large chart in employee areas for them to track energy and resource usage. Also, bring up sustainability results regularly at staff meetings. For guests, sprinkling in some education throughout their stay can help them understand the hotel’s goals. This can also help them be more conscious of their own energy usage. And of course, feature these efforts and successes in your marketing to appeal to increasingly carbon-conscious travelers.

Have the Right Leaders in Place

It takes an entire hotel team to have a meaningful impact on a hotel’s carbon footprint. Once ownership has created a concrete sustainability initiative, they need to know that their leaders can execute that vision. Specialized hotel recruiters, like the ones at Horizon Hospitality, can find the management talent that will motivate and empower teams to become more sustainable. Contact them today to learn how.

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