5 sustainable practices to stand out in the hotel industry

5 pratiques de développement durable pour se démarquer en hôtellerie

Eliminate the use of plastic

There are many sustainable practices to implement in a hotel, but eliminating single-use plastic remains one of the most important ones. An eco-friendly hotel should no longer offer single-use plastic bags and plastic water bottles. They can offer several alternatives to their guests such as recyclable paper bags and have water fountains at their disposal.

Minimize resource consumption

Sustainable tourism also means minimizing the consumption and the waste of food, water and energy resources.

Regarding the reduction of food waste, it is preferable to first measure the food waste of your hotel before reviewing the management of your inventory and your deliveries. If you notice stock accumulation, it is possible to recycle food, transform products and even redistribute and donate food to associations. Do you not know what to do with your food waste? Some products can be used to produce your own natural compost. Depending on the season, you can also grow fresh organic vegetables and herbs and use them to invent and/or add to your signature dishes with your own vegetable garden.

In the hotel industry, water consumption is considerable. On average, a guest consumes close to 300 liters of water a night, so you should first check that there are no water leaks in your hotel. Moreover, you should raise your guests’ awareness on conscious water usage. For example, you can leave informative posters in their rooms highlighting the amount of water needed to fill a bath versus the amount of water needed for a 10-minute shower. Moreover, you can inform them of the amount of water needed to wash linens such as sheets and towels.

Electricity consumption should also be closely monitored, and there are several alternatives available to you if you wish to reduce your electricity consumption. Using low energy light bulbs, having the lights automatically turn off when the client leaves a room or lowering the heating automatically according to the temperature of the room could be solutions to consider.

Prioritize digital over paper

Equipping yourself with an excellent PMS cloud will allow you to stop printing your reservation list or your room report. Moreover, your hotel management software automatically sends confirmation and reminder emails, so take advantage of this to encourage your customers not to print their reservation documents and to prefer online check-in or check-out at the kiosks. In addition to doing a good deed for the environment, you save time and increase your daily performance!

Promote local and ethical purchasing

Promoting local businesses and farmers in your region will allow you to distinguish yourself with your clientele who are foodies and enjoy cultural discoveries. Using and purchasing local products in an ethical manner also means preferring short-distance purchasing and seasonal products which often translates to better quality.

Equipping yourself to promote sustainable tourism

In addition to all the eco-friendly practices mentioned above, you should equip your hotel in a way to promote sustainable tourism as much as possible. Have you ever thought of installing solar panels on your hotel’s roof to use your own renewable energy? Do you use low energy and connected lights? Do you offer products such as shampoos and soaps in dispensers rather than individual single-use containers? Do you prefer the use of biodegradable and non-polluting household products? All these sustainable practices could help you stand out from the crowd.

Nowadays, travelers are increasingly more sensitive to the eco-friendly and sustainable aspect of a hotel. By definition, an eco-friendly hotel is a hotel that does everything in their power to minimize their environmental impact by transforming its services. This sustainable approach trivially begins with raising the staff and clients’ awareness.

Many hotels are undertaking sustainable practices to reduce their ecological footprint combining conviviality and new technologies. By doing so, they are also reducing their spending. Thus, in addition to being environmentally friendly, you will make a good impression on your clientele and stand out from your competitors!

Is your property eco-responsible?


Moreover, studies show that an eco-responsible property would incite easily travelers to book their stay at its place. Indeed, 66% of travelers would be willing to pay more to stay in an eco-responsible and friendly property and 2 out of 3 travelers would compromise their comfort in favor of the environment. To do so, think about highlighting your environmental practices on your website but also on your online booking engine, which is sometimes the last place where travelers make their final decision for their stay. You can also promote your practices on distribution platforms in order to stand out from your competitors.

Is your property eco-responsible?

What is an eco-responsible property?

As you may know, the hospitality industry is constantly evolving and must always be renewed in order to better meet the needs of an increasingly demanding clientele. This clientele is looking for more modern, more luxurious and greener establishments.

To do so, an eco-responsible establishment is a property which attempts to minimize its environmental impact by transforming itself first and then its services. In order to ensure the well-being of its customers and employees, eco-responsible properties have several goals such as saving energies and resources, reducing pollution, decreasing waste and encouraging responsible purchasing. They set up sustainable environmental practices such as the use of recycled materials, natural insulator, low consumption lights, non-toxic products, bulk organic soaps, water saving devices and recycling bins.

Furthermore, eco-responsible properties have eco-tourism labels or awarded certifications by an independent third party or by the State. In the hospitality industry, there are many types of certifications such as Green Key, Green Tourism, EcoRoom, EarthCheck, RéserVert.

You can also link your environmental practices with your commercial ones. For example, by having a vegetable garden to produce vegetables that can be used by the chef, you can also use this to highlight your restaurant and to make some activities and workshops with the chef or the gardener.

Eco-responsible property’s benefits

Although it can be expensive, becoming an eco-responsible property is a win-win strategy for you and for your guests. By opting for a greener and more environmentally friendly practices, you can decrease your energy costs and improve your services while being innovative and all without compromising your services’ quality and guests’ comfort. Moreover, new technology often helps for the implementation of reduction energy measures. For example, if your hotel management software (PMS) is connected to the room lighting system, lights can turn off automatically if there is no one inside the room. Also, the heating and the air conditioning can be turn on standby.

This approach can also go as far as the choice of technological suppliers since it’s everyone’s action that will have a global impact. At the Hotello company, environmental practices are very important either with simple actions made by each employee such as recycling at the office, the choice of ecological maintenance products or promoting home office work and avoiding cars’ use.

Becoming an eco-responsible property is an excellent business strategy for hoteliers wishing to reduce their costs, decrease their ecological footprint and contribute to their guests and employees’ satisfaction. However, going green requires a lot of determination and attendance. As said by Dr Legrand “The sustainable hospitality sector is a sector which takes up environmental and societal challenges by using new ideas, solutions and strategies which allow to develop tomorrow’s properties and to manage their operations in a sustainable way”. Moreover, future’s properties will reconcile ecology, new technologies, conviviality but also economy.

Thus, keep in mind that the green marketing is a great way to promote your environmental practices and it will help you to strengthen your brand image on your communication channels (website, booking enginesocial media, blog and newsletters) but also on external channels. Indeed, nearly 64% of the companies now use green marketing to sell their products and services.

What is green marketing?


But what is green marketing? By definition, green marketing, also called sustainable marketing is represented by all the actions which aim to use the ecological positioning of a brand, its products or services in order to increase its sales and improve its image. As this marketing strategy is strongly used in the tourism sector, it is therefore necessary to remain authentic while demonstrating transparency and more precisely to avoid greenwashing.

What are our consumers and what is the message to spread?

First, you have to understand who your consumers are and what their motivations are in order to have an effective green marketing. It is true that the majority of them are aware of their environmental impact but not all of them are fully ready to change their habits and their behavior. There are three types of consumers : unconditionals, greens with variable intensity and disconnected people.

Currently, there are very few unconditionals willing to pay more for a stay in an environmentally friendly establishment. Indeed, your messages must not be unfounded, biased or even excessive. It will be a good idea for you to put facts and figures forward and make sure to remain as transparent and honest as possible if you want to succeed in retaining them.

Greens with variable intensity are sensitive to the environmental cause but they are not ready yet to pay more and to change their habits unless they see a justified personal benefit. If you want to send them a message, be sure to highlight your property’s ecological and economic benefits and to rely more on emotional rather than rational arguments. 

Disconnected people aren’t often receptive to green marketing because they aren’t aware of the advantages of choosing an environmentally responsible establishment. In order to convince them, you have to show them that choosing an eco-friendly property will improve their experience.

Which media should be used?

Moreover, after identifying your consumers and defining the message to send them, it is appropriate to choose only the most relevant media. Start by updating your website by creating a section fully dedicated to the environment, which highlights your values, your practices and your policies. You can also use your social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram to promote your sustainable practices at large and also to interact with your different audiences.

The most relevant is to use your own sales platforms to communicate on your environmental progress. It is at this moment that your customer will see the price and will take into consideration all the ecological advantages that your establishment offers. Thereby, justification can be easily done, so think about improving your online booking engine with your environmental actions and using your distributors such as online travel agencies (OTAs).

Considering responsible tourism distributors is also an excellent idea. This may help you attract more customers and will expose you to competitors who have the same commitments. So if your pricing is higher than your usual competitors, it will be easier to justify it on these dedicated platforms. Finally, the press is a great way to gain more notoriety and credibility with a larger audience but it requires having an allocated budget.

Overall, green marketing is an excellent business strategy for any hotelier who wants to promote their sustainable practices. As a result, 64% of companies use social or environmental arguments to sell their products and services and this is why it will be important for you to innovate in order to differentiate your property from competitors. As you may already know, each marketing action has a cost, so before starting any project, be sure that your consumers will be sensitive enough to your message and above all, ready to pay a higher price. However, in the medium term, all of these actions could help you reduce some of your costs and your ecological footprint. Moreover, the green marketing will also help you  strengthen your property’s image and increase your income.

So, are you ready to use green marketing to promote your property?

How to deal with properties’ main environmental problematics?

The hospitality industry ranks among the most energy-consuming sectors due to its use greater usage of air conditioning, water and heating. It represents a real issue for actors concerned. Thereby, more and more properties are going green, favoring the eco-tourism and a sustainable hospitality industry. Their main challenge? Successfully renewing themselves, especially by reducing their impact on the environment and their operating costs, all without impacting the comfort and quality of their guests: stay.

1- Reduce water consumption

As a responsible property, it is essential to monitor the water consumption within your establishment. Do you know how much water is used by each of your departments but also by your customers? On average, a guest uses 300 liters of water per night, twice his personal consumption at home. Indeed, there are several indicators that allow you to keep control over your consumption such as the total water consumption, the water consumption by department or per night in cubic meters, the percentage of water reused and the savings made on your bill.

Keeping control over your consumption is good but actions are better! Start by educating your staff as well as your customers, encourage them to minimize their water consumption whether it is to wash or change towels, the use of taps, showers and all of the household appliances. It is recommended to install water saving systems, to opt for water treatment plants in order to prioritize the reuse of water and to use household appliance with water savers.

2- Decrease energy consumption

Do you know the exact energy consumption of your property? Do you know that a property’s energy consumption is approximately 3% of its turnover? Therefore, there are several tips that allow you to align your energy consumption according to environmental and economic criteria that you have previously set. In order to measure your electricity consumption, you can use the following indicators : the total energy consumption used in the activities of your establishment and the consumption used by department in kilowatt-hour, the percentage of your quota by energy source or by renewable energy source and the savings on your energy bill. You can start by reviewing the thermal insulation of your property. You can also check your lighting, favor the use of low-consumption light bulbs or LEDs and use as much as possible devices and machines requiring lower energy consumption. Moreover, choose the installation of lighting systems with motion detector and solar panels.

Other technological and efficient option exists to help properties in their energy management. Many systems can connect to a property management software in order to identify rooms with customers and unoccupied ones. So when the software indicates an unoccupied room, the energy management system automatically turns off the lights and devices and heaters and air conditioning are turn on a minimum. In this case, the connectivity between a property management software and the energy management system is essential, the PMS has all the information about rooms and the energy system acts on the control energy savings.

3- Limit waste production

With nearly 2.5 million tonnes of waste per year, the hospitality industry and its catering generate a large amount of waste. Although sorting, treatment, recycling and reuse of waste is possible, it is important to look for other possible alternatives in order to face this massive production. To find out more about your waste production, you can rely on indicators as for example : the total amount of waste, the amount of waste per room or per department in kilos or tonnes, the amount of waste per type of waste, the recycling rate and the cost of removing waste.Thereafter, some concrete actions could help you to reduce your production of waste such as the establishment of vegetable gardens, containers for sorting and recycling within the hotel, the purchase of local, organic, seasonal and bulk products, the substitution of single-use products by distributors. What about opting for more responsible purchasing? Eliminate the use of plastic bags, plastic water bottles, individual packaging and individual coffee pods?

Waste reduction can also be done within your establishment, indeed several departments such as the reception, the housekeeping and banquets are using a lot of papers everyday. It would be a great idea for your reception to replace their registration card with solutions such as pre-check-in, check-in kiosks or even online registration. The housekeeping department could replace its daily reports with a mobile app, thereby significantly reduce paper prints and waste production.

Whether it is for a business trip or a relaxing stay, we all tend to indulge ourselves and overconsume. It is important to keep in mind that each action taken has a significant overall impact on the environment. To do so, highlight your actions so that your customers can understand some of your choices and your future customers can make a wise choice on the kind of establishment they wish to stay at. Highlighting your concrete actions will also be your main element of justification concerning a different pricing from your competitors.

Change is inevitable and it requires managers, employees and customers’ social behavior evolution. Indeed, everyone must be aware of the environment and must be responsible. As mentioned by Dr Willy Legrand : “ The sustainable hospitality industry isn’t represented by a company that tries its best on a chosen market but rather an entire sector who takes up environmental and societal challenges by exploring new ideas, new solutions and new strategies in order to develop new establishments and manage operations sustainably!”

A receipt? By email!

Une facture? Par email!

A more sustainable solution

As a business, picking which values you stand for and respect is important. Sustainable development is a challenge you should consider, and limiting your consumption of paper when sending receipts is a good way to start.

By sending receipts and accounts receivable by e-mail, you significantly reduce your environmental footprint by reducing the amount of paper you consume. The trees will certainly be very grateful.

While storing data in order to be able to send e-mails also leaves a noticeable ecological footprint, choosing to be a paperless business can be of interest. Taking into account the number of daily receipts that a hotel generates, the amount of paper, envelopes, stamps and transport needed to send these is significant. You also need to consider all the accounts receivables bills sent to your suppliers by your PMS System. In addition to the various uses one may have for this paper, you need to think of all the waste that it generates. Realistically, not all of this paper will end up being recycled. It is thus a waste of resources that could easily be avoided simply by choosing to send accounts receivable by e-mail.

A quicker solution

In addition to contributing to our planet’s overall health, sending receipts and accounts receivables by e-mail is quicker and much more efficient. When sending them by standard mail, you risk losing the bills, sending them to the wrong address or even damaging them during transport. When sending them by e-mail, you eliminate the risk for any potential error. Additionally, the person you are sending the bill to will instantaneously receive it, without the risking it reaching the wrong department within their business. It is also easier to store bills received by e-mail.

When they are stored on the Cloud or on a computer, they become protected from any potential physical breach. They can also be filed and recovered at any time. It goes without saying that in order to find a particular receipt, this is a much quicker task than having to go through numerous physical folders. You can notify the sender of the receipt if you spot a mistake almost immediately by answering to his/her e-mail. This is also much quicker than by standard mail. Finally, keeping track of your bills is easier and quicker when you use e-mails. You can store and file them in a single folder from which they can be found very efficiently.

A cost-efficient solution

By sending receipts and accounts receivable bills by e-mail, you will have less paper to purchase, and therefore all costs associated with printing, ink and shipping will be reduced. This way you will be left with more into your hands. It is also more cost-efficient as all the time allocated to putting the receipts in envelopes and shipping them can now be used for other important tasks.

Beyond receipts

You can also communicate with your clients by e-mail. For example, you can send them newsletters and booking confirmations, which they can then save and store on their computer. This way they will be able to look up any e-mails you sent them in an instant.  When a client arrives at your hotel, an online booking record is a way to avoid having to print a new booking record for each client which can thus saves you a lot of paper. The online booking record allows clients to confirm all of their information before they arrive which then guarantees the data in your PMS System is accurate.

Within each department, the consumption of paper can be significantly reduced, if not completely eliminated. For example, with housekeeping, the list of the rooms can be found on a mobile app rather than on a printed sheet of paper. In addition to reducing your paper consumption, you also improve your staff’s overall efficiency as working with a mobile app is much quicker and easier. 

When it comes to accounting, you can send different reports by e-mail via your PMS System or via the integration between your PMS System and your business’ accounting system. Adjusting the way you work with different ways of communications can have a great impact on reducing your overall paper consumption.

Hotello is committed to sustainable development


Hotello is already committed to sustainable practices

As Hotello aims to improve hotel practices on a daily basis, it has also been committed to improving its practices for many years already. Hotello and all its employees are involved with the community. We organized a spaghetti dinner in our office building and raised funds to support an organization that works in schools to encourage children to adopt healthy eating habits. During the holiday season, Hotello employees collected non-perishable food items to help associations that serve people in need.

Our employees also benefit from these sustainable development practices. Each Hotello employee has the opportunity to work from home to better meet their needs. Employees also enjoy flexible hours to promote a health work and family life balance.

What is sustainable development?

The term sustainable development appeared for the first time in 1980 in the World Conservation Strategy, a publication of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In 1987, the Brundtland Report took the term a step further at the World Commission on Environment and Development and from it derives the current definition of sustainable development: “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Sustainable development’s main purpose is to rethink the relationships between human beings and between humans and nature.

The three main sustainable development orientations are:

  • To maintain the integrity of the environment, ensure the health and safety of human communities and preserve the ecosystems that sustain life;
  • To ensure social equity and thereby promote the full development of all women and men, the growth of communities and a respect for diversity;
  • To target economic efficiency to create an innovative and prosperous ecologically and socially responsible economy.

Hotel management software and sustainable development

As the definition indicates, sustainable development applies to all spheres of society. Even if tech companies don’t produce polluting emissions like heavy industry does, they still have a role to play. Tech companies should choose their partners judiciously, opting for local hosting service providers or ones that have embraced sustainable development practices. For example, heat generated from some data centres is used to heat communal pools or city greenhouses. These centres can also recycle obsolete computer equipment and choose materials that are longer lasting than others.

Sustainable development is also a social equity issue, and tech companies have a great deal of leeway in the matter. As mentioned above, Hotello employees have the option to work from home. This initiative has an impact well beyond that of mere comfort or convenience. Employees who work from home don’t need to commute daily which saves on fuel and on transportation and infrastructure wear and tear. This simple flex benefit, which some companies offer, can have as marked an impact on employee development as it does on sustainable development.

Innovation lies at the heart of tech company concerns. At Hotello, we’re committed to grow our sustainable development initiatives. We have made greater integration possible between our hotel management software (PMS) and hotel energy saving systems. We’ve also integrated our PMS to check-in kiosks that free hotel employees from repetitive tasks.

Sustainable solutions are sometimes much simpler and more accessible than people think. We  are proud to advise our clients based on the knowledge we’ve gained in this field to our mutual benefit and for the benefit of society at large.