Are kids the next generation of sustainable guest?

QHotels encourage kids to reconnect with nature

QHotels encourage kids to reconnect with nature

Hotels are working hard to be more sustainable, but they can only go so far before needing guests to do their bit as well. It can be hard asking guests paying for a luxury experience to consider the impact of their stay, but younger people are often more receptive to these messages. Reaching out to young people could help educate the next generation of hotel customers.

QHotels is one brand that has seen the opportunity to reach younger guests with sustainability messages, whilst also encouraging families to enjoy the great outdoors.

The brand has partnered with a range of activity operatives to help families reconnect with nature – and each other – whilst also encouraging them to think about the environment.

Teaming up with The Wildlife Trusts, the company is creating bespoke activities for families, encouraging them to explore the wildlife in the hotel grounds and beyond. Guests can join a nature trail or simply explore what’s around them with different nature spotting sheets; looking for creepy crawlies or furry favourites.

Breaking out of the hotel room, families can also make use of a bespoke ‘My Adventure Kit’ with everything they need to create their own den building adventure. Complete with tarpaulin, para cord, a mallet and steel pegs to ensure the den stays put, each kit also contains walkie-talkies to communicate with the rest of the family and lots of additional items for children to make their den unique.

Commenting on the initiative, Director of Marketing at QHotels, Claire Rowland, said, “From country house estates, to woodland retreats, our family-friendly hotels are set within acres of stunning, private grounds which we really wanted to maximise for families and children this summer.

“The drive towards promoting outdoor activities is another example of our commitment to sustainable tourism. We know that our younger guests are increasingly environmentally conscious and that has inspired us to demonstrate to them the ways we look after the local environment, alongside the efforts to reduce the energy and resources that we consume, which are harder to see.

“Since 2008 the group has managed to reduce carbon emissions by 4,000 tonnes, but it’s initiatives such as the installation of charging points for electric cars at nine of our hotels, and keeping active beehives to produce our own honey, which really capture young peoples’ attention.”

Starwood Hotels & Resorts is another company that introduces young people to nature through its kids clubs. The Westin brand invites kids to take break that’s ‘filled with wonder and exploration’. Special family packages encourage children to explore their surroundings and embark on adventures.

A range of interactive activities focus on children’s well-being, inspiring kids to discover their environment and try something new. The company’s Kids Club is also nature-inspired. Different resorts around the world introduce children to the local cultures and traditions, and encourage expression through art and creativity. Some showcase local dancing and language. In Bali children can go stargazing with a map of the sky to view stars and learn how different constellations were interpreted by local cultures. The Westin Langkawi Resort aims to introduce children to the traditions, sights, tastes and sounds of the island. They are encouraged to explore the beach, learn about the flora and fauna and take part in local kids’ games. They try local foods and learn how to take pictures of everything they've seen.

Andrea Pinabell, VP of Sustainability at Starwood said, “At Starwood, sustainability is second nature which means we incorporate that throughout our brands in how we design spaces, choose materials, and create ways for guests and children to interact with the environment. Sustainable-savvy kids are surrounded with natural, recycled, or low-impact materials, as well as experiencing the beneficial effects of exposure to natural light, good indoor air quality, the outdoors, and environmentally friendly activities.”

Another Starwood resort Le Méridien Bora Bora houses a Turtle Sanctuary, where guests can meet and learn about marine turtles in their natural environment. Families are encouraged to observe their behaviour and learn how they are cared for. The resort actively participates in the protection of sea turtles, including green turtles. Working with Bora Bora’s Ministry and the Delegation of the Environment, a team is devoted to the care of the marine turtle at the resort. The centre is unique in French Polynesia. Additionally Le Méridien is the first hotel to reintroduce the traditional French Polynesia boat via their Kaïnalu Canoe Club. Guests can take a trip on traditional sailing Polynesian canoes, or ride in a traditional dugout canoe to experience the heritage of Polynesian tradition.

Hotels groups like Starwood, QHotels, IHG, Hilton, Taj and many others around the world are all working actively behind the scenes to reduce their impact on the environment through programmes that reduce energy and water consumption; through structures that reduce the need for HVAC but rely more on natural heating, light and air con; through programmes that work with communities and introduce guests to the culture and traditional ways of local people, and they often invite guests to do their bit by reducing their in-room consumption via towel, linen and power programmes as well as recycling. Going forward to have bigger impacts, guests will need to play a more active role in sustainable tourism by holidaying more responsibly. Whilst it can be difficult for adults to change the habits of a lifetime, encouraging a nurturing respect for nature in young people and showing them what needs to be protected for future generations will undoubtedly ensure the next generation of guests bring their good sustainability habits with them when they travel.

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