Green inspiration: How young travellers are catalysing change in hospitality

by | Dec 31, 2018 | General News

Younger guests want to reduce the consumption of water and energy used by the hotel industry. Hilton has recently undertaken an effort to cur its carbon footprint by half.

As priorities for hotel guests change, so does the industry.

For past generations, the most important things in a hotel have long been amenities: fresh towels, clean linen, toiletries — that sort of thing.

However, what many younger guests look for is environmentally-conscious hotels: properties that curb overconsumption when it comes to water, energy, as well as waste.

Hilton, for example, recently announced a major sustainability initiative aimed at cutting its carbon emissions by 61 percent.

This move would get it in line with the Paris Climate Agreement, and also reduce its water consumption and produced waste by as much as 50 percent, the group said.

Nicolas Graf, Associate Dean of the NYU School of Professional Studies Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality, recently told Forbes that while these measures have become fashionable as of late, this conversation has also been happening for over a decade.

Graf added the industry’s first sustainability discussions took place as a result of regulatory requirements before evolving into cost efficiency measures.

As overconsumption affects the environment and hotel bottom lines alike, younger guests taking their business to more environmentally friendly options is spurring more leading brands to think green, according to experts.

“There’s now a push by a younger generation of travelers who say sustainability is a factor in their [travel] decision making,” Graf told Forbes. “Corporate travel segments are also more demanding in terms of sustainability. Some companies would never organize a conference at a hotel that wasn’t complying with its own internal values.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that about 15 percent of total water use in commercial and institutional facilities in the U.S. takes place in hotels and other lodging businesses.

The biggest offenders of water use within hotels are restrooms, laundry operations, landscaping and the kitchens.

Some estimates also suggest that global tourism, which includes everything from planes to hotels, is responsible for a whopping eight percent of the world’s carbon emission.

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