Making your accommodation more sustainable is always a good business choice, whether you own a hotel, bed & breakfast, lodge, resort or other type of vacation accommodation.
It can make your business more efficient and save you a lot of money. And, many tourists are nowadays attracted to eco-friendly accommodations. Making your accommodation more eco-sensitive doesn’t have to cost a lot of time or money.
Here are 10 simple tips to make your accommodation greener.
1) Encourage guests to participate in environmentally friendly activities.
Inspiring guests in what activities they can do is always a good service. Why not encourage them to enjoy activities that have a low impact on the environment?
Provide bicycles for biking tours or clear maps for walking tours, so guests can explore on their own. Show them where they can find local farmers’ markets, plantations or villages to visit and locally run shops to eat, drink or buy souvenirs.
You can also partner with local ecotourism companies to promote their excursions and thus expose guests to the local, eco-friendly tourism options.
2) Show the guests that you care about the environment.
Join “green” hotel organizations and display this on your website and brochures. Furthermore you can join eco-friendly initiatives. A nice example is a hotel that plants a tree for every review posted on TripAdvisor, Facebook or Lonely Planet with Plant a Billion Trees.
3) Use bulk soap and shampoo instead of individual packages.
Substitute all small plastic shampoo flacons and wrapped soap bars with attractive bulk amenity dispensers to reduce waste and costs.
4) Towel and sheets reuse program.
A lot of water is used every day to wash towels and sheets. Explain this to your guests and allow them to make a difference by joining a “green wash” program. This way guests can choose whether they want their towels and sheets to be cleaned or not. A towel hanging up means that the guest will use it again; a towel on the floor means they want it to be replaced by a clean one.
A similar system is possible with sheets: placing a card (or preferably a nicely shaped wooden disc) on the bed means that guests only want the bed to be made up and that clean sheets are not necessary.
Known “green wash” projects are Project Planet and Plant a Billion Trees.
5) Minimize waste during breakfast
A lot of food is wasted during breakfast. These easy measures will reduce this waste:
- Use refillable jars for jam, honey and butter instead of individual packages
- Use large cereal pots instead of portion packed cartons
- Supplement in small portions
- Introduce an a la carte breakfast instead of a buffet
- Collect food left-overs and, if possible, donate this to local food banks.
6) Buy locally
Most food, beverages and furniture can be bought and produced locally. It makes sense that when goods haven’t flown or trucked in, significant emissions will be saved. When possible make an effort to search for local businesses that grow and sell locally sourced products, preferably organic. This will support local businesses and save a lot of money.
7) Minimize water use.
A lot of water is spilled in bathrooms. A couple of easy measures will reduce the water usage without compromising on luxury:
- Install a water-reducing shower
- Install a water-reducing toilet. When budget doesn’t allow this, place one or two plastic containers filled with stones (not bricks) in the toilet’s reservoir. This will displace about 4 liters of water per flush
- Ensure taps are not leaking or dripping
- Explain guests to close water taps during toothbrushing
8) Use non-toxic cleaning chemicals
Organic, citrus-based and other non-toxic cleaning products are just as effective as traditional cleaners, but better for the staff and the environment. Use them as cleaning agents as well as laundry detergents.
9) Placing recycling bins.
Place large recycling bins in public areas and smaller ones in each room. This will simplify the recycling process.
10) Switch to a key-card system to activate light and air conditioning.
Use key-cards that switch off all power when guests leave their room. This way electric bills can be cut by as much as 40%.