Hotel company Radisson Blu have launched their Blu Planet towel re-use programme, which asks guests to consider re-using their towels during their stay in exchange for a donation to international water company Just a Drop.
Radisson Blu signed a partnership agreement with Just a Drop that will ensure they provide a lifetime’s supply of fresh drinking water to 12,000 children per year. Guests will play their part as the company anticipates nearly three million towels will be re-used annually across their hotels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Inge Huijbrechts, Vice President, Responsible Business, said, “Hotels use a vast amount of water in the course of their daily business and it is a fine balancing act between guest comfort and running a business responsibly. We are committed to reducing our water usage as much as possible and have implemented significant efficiencies in the last few years. Between 2007 and 2012, we achieved a 27 percent reduction in water use across our hotels in Europe, Middle East and Africa and we aim to reduce consumption by a further five percent by the end of this year. The partnership with Just a Drop and our towel re-use programme represents a real and measurable demonstration of our commitment to this cause.”
To mark the Just a Drop partnership and the launch of the Blu Planet programme, Radisson Blu conducted research amongst its guests to better understand their attitudes towards water conservation both in their own homes and within the hotels that they visit.
Guests were asked to compare their own behaviours at home with the services provided in a hotel. They were invited to compare how often they change their towels and bed clothes at home to highlight the issue of water use in hotels. The survey unearthed some surprising results including almost 20% of guests who admitted they might be prepared to forego housekeeping in their rooms for up to three days in a bid to reduce water use and associated costs, while an impressive 30% were aware of the embodied water attached to their dining choices.
When asked specifically about how often they change their towels at home, the majority of guests (45%) replied that they changed their towels weekly, with only 6% saying that they changed them daily. This was also reflected in their response to how many days they would be prepared to re-use their towels in hotels, with 28% saying that they would be prepared to re-use their towels for three days, whilst a further 24% would be prepared to use the same towel for up to four days. Only 6% said that they required the towels to be changed on a daily basis. The responses were mirrored in relation to the re-use of bed sheets, with 34% saying they would gladly use the same sheets for up to four days.
Overall, guests seem well informed about preserving water within hotels, with 68% confirming that they are aware there is a water cost associated with food, drink and room service within the hotel, and agreeing to use showers instead of baths where possible (60%), being mindful of their choice of meal from the menu (29%) and being prepared to forgo housekeeping for up to three days (18%).
Huijbrechts said, “Our research gives us food for thought for further water mindful activities in our hotels and shows how well educated the general public is about the need to conserve water. We hope, as a result, that they enthusiastically embrace our towel re-use programme and make it a real success.”
The company launched the programme on Earth Day, 22nd April and over the course of three days, around 20 hotels across Europe, the Middle East and Africa invited guests to walk for 10 metres carrying ‘jerry cans’ full of water to illustrate the daily struggle millions of people around the globe face in their efforts to access safe drinking water. During the event, Radisson Blu guests and employees walked 131km, providing clean drinking water for 1,310 children through the Just a Drop partnership. The group’s CEO, Wolfgang M. Neumann Walked for Water in Stockholm during the company’s annual general meeting.
The Carlson Family Foundation donated a further $5,000 to mark the start of the partnership, helping to provide clean drinking water to 312 more children.
“The Walk for Water events were a huge success where both our guests and staff participated whole-heartedly. It was a fun, engaging and educational activity to raise awareness around water sustainability, and celebrate our partnership with Just a Drop,” said Huijbrechts.