As we move forward from the pandemic, sustainability and regenerative tourism must be a priority. It’s no longer just a question of being sustainable and doing as little harm as possible during travel but looking forward to how we can eliminate and reverse the harm to create a positive impact. Jonathon Day of Purdue University via The New York Times explains, “Sustainable tourism is sort of a low bar at the end of the day. It’s just not making a mess of the place. Regenerative tourism says let’s make it better for future generations.“
Travel industry-led studies are proving that going green leads to better loyalty and word-of-mouth marketing, as well as higher customer satisfaction. Booking.com’s recent travel survey showed that 53% of travelers are starting to look for more sustainable ways to reduce their environmental and social footprint. Travelers are carefully considering where they put their dollars, to spend with intention and leave the world a better place than what they were born into.
Here are ten ideas HSMAI Rising Leader Council Members shared to operationalize green practices:
- Form a voluntary employee green team! Have monthly meetings to brainstorm and discuss relevant topics, which helps to create internal ambassadors at all levels who can advance key initiatives, like decreasing food waste in the employee cafeterias.
- Include carbon offsets in booking and highlight LEED-certified properties. Add a filter option on search results, where you can filter for green emissions or energy-efficient properties.
- Swap dispensers for single-use products, like shampoo, conditioner, and soap bars. This can help reduce not only costs, but also the amount of plastic and bottled containers.
- Reduce paper usage. Rather than printing receipts for guests and sliding them under the doors, email receipts or have them available on an app; use QR codes to offer digitally, information that was once printed.
- Reduce water and energy usage with on-demand housekeeping. Consider transitioning to housekeeping every couple of days unless requested daily.
- Purchase a farm….no really. One property bought a farm, to focus on farm-to-table dining and reduce that carbon footprint. Or partner with a local farm to supply flowers on property and educational programming like a kid’s camp.
- Go local with experiences. Two examples include properties having a local experience page to connect guests with community vendors, or service-oriented activities like a beach cleanup.
- Connect with local or global charitable organizations.
- Offer eco-friendly products. One example is giving out complimentary reef-safe sunscreen.
- Evaluate your brand standards. Making a change on a company-wide level has a big impact and conveys a consistent green message to consumers across property collateral and websites.