Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Guest Post: Green Hotels – Catering for the Environmentally Conscious Traveller

As an increasing amount of us are become aware of the damage we are doing to the environment when we’re travelling, the term ‘carbon footprint’ has become engrained into our lexicon.
And it is not just the marathon plane journeys that are taking their toll on the ozone layer; everything we do and every choice we make has a knock-on effect on the planet; from the clothes we are to the restaurants we choose to eat in.
Hotels are no different. With such a high turnover of people staying at even the smallest of bed and breakfasts, there’s a lot of scope for wastage and a lot of scope for damage to our planet.
Hotels that bury their heads in the sand could be doing untold amount of damage to the environment – which is why some have held their hands up and made a conscious effort to audit their processes and ensure they are doing their best for the environment.
It’s not easy being green
First, we need to understand why hotels have so much trouble staying green. Often, it’s the little things we do that do the most damage to the environment. One person leaving the light on when they leave the house isn’t going to burn a hole in the ozone layer; a million people doing it is going to take its toll.
Now think about the issues faced by a hotel. There are hundreds, sometimes thousands, of guests staying in the hotel at once and all have wanton disregard for the hotel’s energy bill and energy consumption. And why should they? They have paid  to stay in the hotel, so they can forget about their carbon footprint for a few days.
How do you combat this?
There are two ways hotels can combat the green issue at their hotel. Firstly, hotels can audit their internal processes to ensure they are doing everything possible to reduce wastage and harm they are doing to the environment. What conscious steps are they taking to reduce wastage? How can these be made more efficient?  Sourcing food from local suppliers is just one way that a hotel can become more green.
The second thing they can do involves the design of the hotel: putting thought into the choice architecture the guests face can nudge them into making decisions that will reduce the energy wastage at the hotel. Simple things like placing signs that remind people to turn lights off or to reuse their towels can nudge them into making decisions that are kinder to our planet.
As well as clearing the businesses conscious, there are nice side effects to this process. Often being greener has a positive impact on the bottom line of the company – which is always a nice argument to use if you want to get your manager on board with a green project at your place of work!
Andrew Jackson is an environmentally conscious family man who was recently married at The Wentbridge House luxury hotel in Yorkshire.  Andrew was very impressed with how green conscious the venue is and by their effort to support local suppliers.  

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