Throughout this course, we will have a selection of guest speakers present on what they foresee as trends in their sector of the tourism and hospitality industry. Your assignment is to write an analytical essay based on the sustainability trend in the learnings from our guest speaker and readings from the course material and lectures. […]
Currently, sustainability is one of the most fundamental issues facing the globe. For this reason, hoteliers are more dedicated to the significance of sustainability in the hotel industry as it relates to hotel operation and development, such as social, economic, and environmental impact. According to Jones, Hillier, and Comfort (2016), the concept of sustainability has, during recent years, progressively moved higher up the agendas in the boardroom, and growing numbers of growing organizations gradually acknowledge it as one of the emerging drivers of competition. Companies have also increasingly recognized sustainability as a vital source of risk and opportunity for long-term competitive advantage. Green hotels or sustainable hospitality operations aim to lessen their impact on society and the environment. To this end, this study aims to compare and contrast the concept of conscious travel trends learned in class with the aspect of corporate sustainability presented by the guest speaker. Indeed, corporate sustainability and conscious travel are similar to each other based on three main trends; they are concerned with water and energy-saving measures and waste minimization practices.
Corporate sustainability is crucial in hotels; guaranteeing the high quality of their services and comfort results in high water consumption per user. Water is a scarce resource in many sections of the globe. However, it is being used expansively in a hotel bathroom and other supporting amenities, such as a swimming pool, laundry, and kitchen. In this way, water use in a hotel is comparable to the consumption in a household; however, on a much larger scale. By definition, the operations in hospitality resemble well-operated homes, from irrigation for the gardens to showerheads, guest room toilets, kitchen, and laundry facilities (Pinto, Afonso, Santos, Pimentel-Rodrigues, & Rodrigues, 2017). At the same time, water suppliers are needed for laundry, washing and cooking activities, and sanitary and personal hygiene. In this regard, the trend in sustainable practices entails preserving the quality of water resources and reducing water usage.
The reduction in the usage of water results in a decrease in wastewater produced by hotel operations (housekeeping, laundry, and kitchen) and by guests. According to the guest speaker, reducing water consumption requires a complete advancement of laundry amenities with high-efficiency equipment and switching to toilets with high efficiency as renovations progress. It also involves fitting low-flow showerheads in all guestrooms and mounting low-flow aerators in the kitchen, washrooms, and guestrooms. Moreover, water-saving practices entail training staff and guests in water-saving tactics and using recycled water (Pinto et al., 2017). A lack of appropriate waste-water treatment systems means that wastewater containing fecal matter and chemicals may pollute surface water and groundwater. Improving the quality of sewage requires the application of practices, such as the use of active oxygen for cleaning swimming pools and the use of biodegradable cleaning supplies and detergents. In brief, corporate sustainability requires hotels to possibly reuse treated water for watering gardens or flushing toilets and ensuring proper wastewater treatment.
Conversely, the concept of conscious travel corresponds in various ways to corporate sustainability, in this case, concerning water conservation in hotels. This is because guests aspire to perceive the world mindfully and consciously. As such, many destinations are more conscientious in minimizing environmental footprints, including reduction of water consumption. This is because both leisure and business travelers are becoming homogenous based on their service preferences in association with green practices (Verma & Chandra, 2016). At present, guests are more environmentally conscious and demanding that hotels be more accountable for conserving the environment. For this reason, guest houses have started to adopt simple green practices, including reusing and recycling water.
Similar to corporate sustainability-conscious travel is mindfulness for the world. As such, guests have become increasingly concerned about the efforts for water conversation in hotels. This is because people have recognized that water scarcity is a global problem. Most water (97%) is in the ocean; which leaves only 3% of freshwater for consumption, and two-thirds of which is tied up at the poles and as ice; therefore, only 1% of freshwater is accessible in groundwater, the atmosphere, lakes, and rivers (Verma & Chandra, 2016). That 1% is under threat with the rapid rise of demand due to a growing global population with expectations of resource-intensive farming and higher living standards. The problem is also escalating due to climate change since the weather pattern has become more pronounced and less predictable. The hospitality industry is one of the sectors where water plays a determining part in potential growth and everyday operations. Therefore, guests feel that hotels must contribute to sustainable approaches without expecting selfish achievements toward conservation work and environmental protection.
Accommodations are the primary consumers of natural gas and electricity. At present, energy-saving is more cost-effective and accessible than ever before. The potential for energy saving in hotels is significant. In most cases, the energy used is a result of uncontrolled use and unnecessary wastage. A classic illustration is when a guest adjusts the controls of a thermostat much higher than they require. As opposed to when they are at home, such an issue transpires because the guests are aware that there is no connection between energy consumption and the cost of a room per night using energy without thinking (Mbasera et al., 2016). However, accommodations have the potential to save at least 10-15% of the energy they consume by implementing strategies to reduce their energy load and address their carbon footprint to become more responsible stewards of the planet (Parpairi, 2017). Therefore, many hotels have progressively funded energy reduction projects through state-funded programs and local utility rebates, and the outcome has been a reduction in energy spending.
Energy management is one of the essential sustainability practices in hotels. It is an approach that entails enforcing the use of renewable energy and reducing energy consumption. According to the guest speaker, the measures for reducing energy consumption include installing double-glazed windows to prevent heat loss and switching to LED lighting. Hotels should also implement action plan steps and training to minimize excess light and heat failure. Another efficient energy-saving practice includes insulating the building and adopting renewable sources of energy, including geothermal, solar, and wind power, to reduce the utilization of fossil fuel, which contributes to climate change and air pollution (Mbasera, Du Plessis, Saayman, & Kruger, 2016). Moreover, the hotels should encourage staff and guests to save energy by operating dishwashers and dryers only with full loads, switching off unneeded lights, and lowering air conditioning or heating. Lastly, the establishments should replace energy-inefficient air-conditioning and heating systems and other ineffective housekeeping, beverage, and food equipment (such as laundry machines, dishwashers, ovens, and refrigerators) with up-to-date technologies that preferably utilize renewable energy.
Energy conservation has been an overwhelming concern for guests and travelers. The issue has become of focus for travelers and guests due to the decline of environmental quality. The guests want these accommodations to be liable for demonstrating their commitment to preserving the environment (Verma & Chandra, 2016). The higher interest in green consumer behaviors has resulted in more environmentally friendly approaches in the hotel industry. Apart from that, implementing environmental restrictions and consciousness towards environmental awareness influence travelers who are now progressively penetrating green hotels more than conventional ones. In the hospitality industry, hotels are the most energy-concentrated division.
Therefore, the support of guests plays a vital role in implementing green practices, in this case, for the management of energy. The consumers are showing their support towards such an application because, like at home, they are concerned about environmental practices (Deraman, Ismail, Arifin, Izzat, & Mostafa, 2017). According to the guest speaker, 64% of the guests engage in sustainable practices when traveling. At the same time, 44% of the purchasing decisions would be influenced positively if a meeting venue or lodging has an eco-certification. Additionally, 60% of travelers, mainly those in business, often look for environmentally-friendly accommodations. To this end, it is evident that guests in hotel rooms have felt more responsible for taking care of and preserving the environment, and the environmental attitudes of the consumers are strongly linked to positive intention to purchase more for a green service or product.
Solid waste signifies another fundamental factor of pollution in the hospitality industry. In this regard, the main objective is reducing the residue, followed by efficient waste disposal and management. Developing a dynamic waste management system is centered on the three R’s: recycle, reuse, and reduce. At the same time, good practices consist of purchasing products with less packaging and recycling, separating, and collecting waste (Mbasera et al., 2016). According to the guest speaker, a composting and recycling program should be applied in guestrooms, kitchens, and restaurants. There should be an onsite composting from the scraps of the kitchen to use in gardens. The programs should also have a designated center for recycling, including Styrofoam, electronics, and soft plastics.
The guest speaker further asserted that waste management could be achieved by limiting food waste by incorporating unsold food into the staff’s meals. Furthermore, it is crucial to work dynamically with suppliers to trim down excess packaging (Lund-Durlacher, Dinica, Reiser, & Fifka, 2019). Another essential step is reducing unnecessary paper usage by adopting paperless operation in offices and Front Desk. Hotels are also required to adjust to bulk condiments in all restaurants.
Conscious travel is linked to waste minimization because it is believed that the environmental concerns of the perceived behavioral control, subject norms, and attitude of consumers to visit green hotels. Arguably, this is particularly the case for the Millennials who consider traveling to be their discretionary spending item (Perera & Pushpanathan, 2015). Travelling has been observed as something people do for personal fulfillment, such as the reward of a career and the culmination of a long career. However, Millennial are not satisfied with delayed gratification. They love to travel, and for them, adventure is a fundamental part of work-life balance. The group in question will often head to the farthest corners of the world in search of authentic experience in culture, landscape, and food, and they often do so mindfully and consciously.
The Millennials often support waste minimization because they are resource travelers based on good deals and shopping. More so, time and again make unconventional arrangements, allowing them to get wherever they aspire to go. Additionally, this group is not fussy concerning where they stay, tailoring their lodging centered upon what exists in a specific region. Thanks to this group, their affordable extravagances, and their taste for unique experiences, they have created a new travel trend centered on sustainability, including waste minimization. Furthermore, the Millennials are heavy users of websites, notably Google. They seek information on where to travel and how to get to that point. They use the search engine to get beyond the knowledge of the travel industry. Mainly, they often look for more authentic travel experiences and locally-sourced knowledge.
There is an increasing trend towards conserving natural reserves through eco-friendly practices and sustainability. The hospitality industry utilizes far-reaching amounts of water, energy, and fuel, which produces vast waste. Therefore, the environment is the primary recipient of the negative impact generated by the operation and construction of various facilities, including the hotel industry. The negative consequences entail the robust chemical products utilized by housekeeping departments, heated swimming pools, the waste produced, the waste produced, and the laundry done by the hotels. As a result, the sector has considerably tried trimming its environmental impact by greening the hotels.
The current analysis shows that travelers and hotel guests are becoming progressively anxious concerning environmentally friendly products and the environment. For this reason, the lodging industry should assess this aspect of green hotels in more detail. Greening operations and services are becoming embraced widely, and environmentally friendly dynamics are regarded as the necessary measure of the services hotels offer. In brief, the hospitality industry is a resource-intensive sector, and it must pursue environmental practices to lessen its impact on the globe. Therefore, the hotel industry should widely implement and use green practices.
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Published On: 01-01-1970