In the Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, when awareness is raising of the travel & tourism sector's capacity for both sustainable growth and wider socio-economic impacts, and travellers are realising their own responsibilities, Holly Tuppen of Bouteco explains why now is the perfect time for hotels to get loud and proud about their sustainability programmes.
Sustainable hospitality is something that needs to happen for tourism to be a force for good around the world. If there is no wildlife, no clean beach, disgruntled local communities, polluted streets and increased levies on carbon emissions and waste, many hotels will cease to exist. Meanwhile, more and more consumers across all sectors want brands to reflect authentic, human stories which are often underpinned by sustainability. There's no time like the present to inject a little more heart into hotel and travel brands.
But it can feel like an overwhelming task. People often hear the words 'sustainable hotel' and think of solar panels or signs telling guests to reuse their towels (which can quickly be a turn-off), but there is so much more. Sustainable hotels should commit to their local environment, conservation, energy saving, water saving, waste reduction, ethical and sustainable sourcing and have a positive impact on their local community. Ideally a hotel's do-good ethos is embedded into the guest experience and brand so seamlessly that it doesn't even feel like sustainability messaging.
That said, even hotels that simply have bees on their roof are making a difference and need to be celebrated. So however big or small your sustainability efforts are, make sure you're talking the walk. Think about your audience and work out which of the below will resonate best with them. These statements can then shape messaging, both externally and internally.
- Our sustainability efforts lead to a higher quality and better travel experience.
- We care, so you can sit back and enjoy your time with us.
- Get involved. These are things you can do to have a positive impact.
- Be inspired. These stories demonstrate why this place is so special.
- Join us. We're on a journey towards a more sustainable future, and there's still work to be done.
- We think alike. We also care for people and the planet so you'll love staying with us.
On 27 September, World Tourism Day 2017, Bouteco is publishing a trend report with Insignia: Leveraging Sustainability & Inspiring Change in the Hospitality Industry. Stay tuned for wise words from industry leaders, change-maker case studies, solutions and uplifting stories of social and environmental work from boutique hotels all over the world. The report will be free to download and will provide insight into how to make your hotel more sustainable and communicate these efforts in an engaging (and sales-converting) way.
But we also want to hear your views on what's working for hotels, so please spend a few minutes completing our survey here: http://bit.ly/BoutecoSurvey  and pass it onto your own database or network. Doing so will give you free access to the final report, and you can also sign up for updates at bouteco.co and tag case studies and sustainability heroes on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram #bouteco. To thank you for your time, Bouteco will be sending REN products, CRU Kafe coffee and hotel vouchers to a few lucky contributors.
Bouteco's mission is to help hotels have a bigger heart and to give travel brands purpose beyond profit, through charitable collaborations and ethical suppliers and by up-skilling disadvantaged people and conserving nature. We strive to stop to all the obvious shockers (drinking water siphoned from locals to green up golf courses or single-use plastic) and we aim to inspire travellers to have better awareness of issues such as modern-day slavery and supporting local communities.
Bouteco.co  publishes independent, trustworthy content about the world's most beautiful sustainable hotels while the consultancy service helps hotels make extraordinary environmental and social initiatives happen. Join us on our journey to make more good things happen.