Advice Hospitality Sustainable

The Hotel Industry will be Sustainable

The idea came to me while having a drink with a hotel owner committed to a sustainable approach.  I am not spontaneously sensitive to environmental issues. But by digging effortlessly, It’s a commercial treasure offered to us. Here, I’ll tell you the benefits to which I am particularly sensitive: financial performance, guest perception, staff motivation.

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I opened the first ecological hotel in Paris. The concept of ultra-claimed urban eco-lodging, a follower of the green attitude, was born in 2011, never to be duplicated. When I left the establishment, I promised myself that I would no longer venture into the land of the environment. Customer feedback was too mixed and even hurtful to make it a success. While some were encouraging and seductive, the vast majority, reading our e-reputation, felt that :

  • We were saving money to their disadvantage.
  • We did not ensure a real quality of equipment: the low-energy lamps did not provide enough light, the water mixers did not allow sufficient pressure.
  • We were a marketing sham.

With hindsight, I’m convinced that we were a sham in my ecological approach. Making sustainability an image success is within the reach of all hotel owners! Several structures around sustainable and concrete practices have already mobilized around the sector, with maturity and a good understanding of the market.

Sustainability is no longer the Holy Grail

For a long time, the environmental approach was exclusively sanctioned by a label. Among them, the Green Globe, on the international scale of ecology, is the Everest international. The Green Key and the NF Environnement mark are well known and recognized eco-labels at the national level; at the European level, the European Eco-label, without forgetting the ISO14001 and EMAS certifications, which are used more for B to B than B to C purposes.

An idea emerged from the Grenelle de l’environnement: environmental signage. The concept? There is no need to be exhaustive in the approach, simply to indicate the efforts made as part of a voluntary approach.

Yes, my super-committed hotel has opted for the systematic sorting of its hospitality products, batteries and toners, yes it has opted for LED bulbs in its living areas and rooms. But no, she has not yet taken the step towards green electricity. As a good housewife, she wants to take a step back on the reliability of the deployment and not impact her guests. So she doesn’t have 20/20, but she is working on it. We call this path an environmental label or display.

Out of 150 hotels piloting the approach since 2011 (a panel made up of 2* to 5* hotels, of which 68% are 3 and 4* hotels – almost equal distribution between independent and large groups: 56% independent hotels and 44% chain hotels), the results show that the approach is being implemented in a number of countries:

30% environmental gains, including greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption, water and waste.

Reduction in the panel’s operating costs of around €0.50 to €2 per night. 2 € per night seems to be on the margin; calculating on the basis of a 50-room hotel, at 80% occupancy rate: 50 rooms X 80% of TO X 365 days per year X 2 € = 29 200 € per year represents one month of additional GOR (Gross Operating Income).

Beyond the encouraging cost-killing and the concrete means to measure it, the environmental label draws us two ultra – profitable investments which are Guest perception and Staff motivation.


Guest perception

Guest perception is the most sustainable financial benefit.

The study “2017 Sustainable Travel Intentions, Goals and Considerations” has contributed significantly to the media coverage of the topic. Among other edifying statistics.

68% of respondents said they chose an establishment that is primarily eco-friendly.

79% of respondents make their choice of transportation mode based on environmental considerations.

There is a market and therefore a way to monetize it. To achieve this, how can we make a hotel’s sustainable approach visible and transparent? To be recognized, eco-labeling makes visible a coherent and global effort to improve the environment, or even sustainable development. It is a marker of commitment and trust for the end customer if it is well known.

On a national scale

The French hotel ranking totals 6 mandatory points and 25 optional points in favor of sustainable development.





Raising employee awareness of efficient energy management



Raising employee awareness of efficient water management



Raising employee awareness of economical waste management



Guest information on the establishment’s actions in terms of sustainable development



Informing guests about the actions they can take during their stay in terms of sustainable development



Staff training in the economical management of energy, water and waste



Implementation of at least one measure to reduce energy consumption



Rooms equipped with 100% low consumption light bulbs



Common areas open to the public 100% equipped with low consumption light bulbs



Implementation of at least one measure to reduce water consumption



Implementation of at least one waste management measure



Use of environmentally friendly cleaning products



Presence of eco- friendly hospitality products in the bathroom


On a European scale

The European Eco Label specifications are strict and include 90 criteria, 30 of which are mandatory. Its demanding and exhaustive nature can be discouraging. In the long term, it will ensure the transparency of the hotel offer, will reinforce the European clientele in its choices and may become a certification either mandatory or highly recommended.

According to the UNWTO (World Tourism Organization), the strongest growth in tourism is in Europe and Asia. The issue of sustainable visibility for France as a destination is crucial.

In order to prepare this marathon without getting discouraged, small runs marked by the environmental label are proving to be very useful. Identifying areas for progress, planning a business plan, and consolidating results in concrete terms are all valuable motivations.

Software such as Winggy is, to my knowledge, the most advanced compiler for the hotel industry. To date, it is also the only software that can be used to issue environmental labels for hotels and restaurants. The software compiles the impacts of reductions in consumables (food, textiles, hospitality and maintenance products) and equipment (heating, water management, swimming pool, electrical equipment).

On an international scale

For a first international visibility, you can opt for Trip Advisor’s “EcoLeaders Program”. It offers the hotel owner the opportunity to self-assess its good environmental practices and present the EcoLeader badge on its page. It can be a first approach to international visibility.

The Green Passport approach is a product of the United Nations Environment Programme. At the heart of the subject: the creation of international destinations of excellence within the framework of sustainable tourism.

The Green Globe certification is the program unanimously recognized internationally since 2002.

Staff Motivation

A motivated staff is a staff that makes our guests happy. What a strong argument in the environmental commitment. The key factors of mobilization are intense and numerous. To have objectives and a cause, to make sense of professional collaboration, to live its usefulness within the framework of a company, to perceive one’s hotel as having a positive impact on the world, to get out of one’s surroundings, to encourage professional exchanges.

Precisely because they are so numerous, these motivations must be channeled around a clear vision and a unified process. To deploy it in the field, the approach is structured into business sheets. Concretely, by inserting simple and recurring routine procedures. The introduction of environmental objectives can be used in the annual performance evaluation of facility managers. The action plan is determined over 1, 2, 3 years.

I enjoyed reading the practical guide to the Thau Lagoon. The destination has mobilized its team (i.e. its tourist accommodation) around its communication objective. I advise you to reproduce it more succinctly in order to submit an action plan to your team.


Unisoap collects all your soaps and recycles them to improve hygiene in underprivileged countries as part of an ecological and social approach. Its Anglo-Saxon counterpart is Cleanworld.

Too Good To Go manages the unsold food products and buys them to resell them. Instead of throwing away your breakfast pastries, you can give them back to them. The manifesto of commitment is readable and their interventions are multiplying on the national network.

Dispensers, adapted to each hotel range. They communicate directly (through an explanation) or indirectly (through the brand) on the high quality of the product. They are always full and allow a generous use to avoid the pitfall of cheapness. For hotels with a strong DNA, having them designed by a decorator is an option.

Local, organic and bulk products. The One Thousand Plants console combines the use of the bath infusion, the tea bar, the infusion jar (especially for spas and wellness areas).

Professional steam cleaners are subsidized by the state to reduce occupational hazards. Virtue: reduce the excessive use of cleaning products that are toxic to humans and the environment, replacing them with the powerful action of steam to clean hotel spaces.

However, as I recall my painful Hi Matic story, this guest perception has its setbacks. How can we not be suspected of green washing when we take a sincere approach?

By not touching the Essential

Low-energy light bulbs and overly efficient mixers are to be banned. The measures avoid altering the raison d’être of the hotel industry: a better home than at home, a comfort for which we have paid. Otherwise, our guest, fooled, is waiting for us at the intersection of Quality – Price, equipped with a club.

Highlighting our Global Responsibility

Your commitment is not only based on your energy saving benefits or paperless. It also involves efforts that “cost” you.

Rigorously based on a sustainable approach, you provide high quality breakfast, hospitality products, drinks…. You communicate about the customer benefits, well-being, better living, health, taste … that such an approach allows.

Our guest feels that at every level of our decisions, we do so out of love.

Love of the service we dedicate to them, love of our environment that we seek to preserve, love of our destination that we wish to promote.

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