Moving to Green - A Look at the Hospitality Industry

An examination into a balance between going green and managing costs in the hospitality industry.

For a hotel management team that is looking to transform a property into a green Eco-facility, first you will need to methodically plan out your new business model incorporating an Eco-green initiative in advance of making any changes. There are several reasons to move green; each with associated costs, return on investment, and marketing benefits solely based on the market position of your hotel. The cost associated with moving green must provide sufficient benefits, otherwise your time, money, and personnel would be better allocated on other projects that offer a greater return.

A hotel with one or more locations may be looking towards green initiatives as a means of reducing costs. Other brands may want to attract a new type of clientele where environmental awareness is important. Lastly, a hotel management company may want to express great concern for the environmental impact from daily operations; thus, working towards reducing all unnecessary waste as a company-wide goal. Your company must decide on why you are moving to a green business; as well as, what you are looking to achieve with your operations well in advance of starting to draft a new business plan.

Once you decide on a green initiative to implement, lock-in the steps and timing by incorporating your green plan into your overall business model by first writing a brand new business plan from the ground-up. Why?

Simple... as you begin to write your new business plan, you will find that every facet of operations will be touched by your new green initiative. As part of your business plan, you will need to incorporate the green initiative into your brands marketing efforts thereby claiming all of your due return on investments. From day one, your marketing team will want to start a campaign to target your ideal clientele about the changes that your property is undertaking to be a green neighbor. Your green initiative could be used as a differentiator which puts you ahead of the competition.

In areas of water scarcity, consider water reduction as one of the first places to transform your hotel into an environmentally conscious property. One method of reducing water consumption is to remove bathtubs from the standard rooms. For example, in each standard room, a shower with a water friendly head is offered. Your brand may want to appeal to a higher-end clientele, thus offering a hand shower-head which will serve to increase the appearance of luxury in your brand. Your hotel may opt to stop offering bathtubs altogether; however, it may become a feature that is reserved for paid upgrade rooms only.

A quick change in light bulbs will immediately bring relief to your electric bill. A transition to the modern LED bulb provides good amount of light with a reduced hourly operating expense. The initial investment for a LED bulb is dropping, coupled with the negotiation ability that your procurement team has, results in the phasing-in of a higher priced bulb offering your brand the energy savings which will reflect on your energy bill.

Once you make the decision to implement a green initiative first consider the total costs to ensure that sufficient benefit exists. When you are ready to move forward with your implementation, start with the creation of a new business plan. Your business plan will serve as a personalized guide to your operations. Your senior management will need to sell the newly adopted operations procedures to the rest of the hotel staff. As part of the employee motivation efforts, your staff should be talking-up the green initiative to every guest that they interact with. While there are many ideas to try, not every idea will be feasible.