In response to the ever-pressing reality of climate change and the increasing expectations of environmentally conscious guests, the hospitality industry is now placing a paramount focus on enhancing its sustainability initiatives.
In an exciting shift, nearly 80% of travelers worldwide are making sustainable choices for their upcoming trips. This means they are actively seeking out eco-friendly hotels and activities, and are even willing to pay a premium of up to 38% for transportation, lodging, and experiences that prioritise the environment. (Sustainable Travel Report, 2022) This trend highlights the industry's potential for positive environmental impact and increased guest satisfaction.
With these compelling numbers, sustainable hotels are not mere trends but essential steps toward a responsible and eco-friendly future. From innovative building designs to water conservation and waste reduction strategies, in this article we'll explore the initiatives being taken by hospitality brands to create a more sustainable future.
Beginning with energy and water efficiency, hotels play a pivotal role in advancing the overarching environmental narrative and showcasing the hospitality industry's dedication to a more eco-conscious trajectory.
Take the example of the Viennese boutique hotel group, Schani Hotels, which adopts an array of sustainable practices. They've turned eco-consciousness into an art form, illuminating their properties with energy-efficient LED lighting while nurturing their gardens with rainwater - a seamless dance with nature's rhythm. Flow regulators in their bathrooms set the stage for resource conservation, harmonising water and energy savings. Eschewing energy-thirsty devices like minibars, they spotlight their commitment to minimalism. Their secret weapon? Harnessing smart tech to fine-tune energy and water practices, leading to a remarkable up to 41% reduction in energy consumption compared to conventional hotels.
Nestled in the serene landscapes of the Black Forest, Stuub presents modern apartments where a strong commitment to energy efficiency is evident in their dynamic renovations. These feature the integration of photovoltaic systems and environmentally-friendly heating solutions such as pellets. Stuub is at the forefront of innovation by introducing digital heating control through the betterspace platform in specific properties, with intentions to expand after successful testing. Notably, their transportation approach centers around electric cars, constituting a significant portion of their fleet, all conveniently charged on-site.
As masters of strategic energy management, Avaneo Hotels' buildings are meticulously designed to minimise energy, water, and gas consumption. Moreover, they're on a journey to become energy independent, generating their own power from renewable sources like the sun and biogas. Their dedication extends to providing guests with purified and revitalised water. All these measures reflect their commitment to guest well-being and environmental stewardship.
“With an elaborate filter technology, we produce our own high-quality drinking water, which is 99.9% free of contaminants, and which we remineralize and revitalize. Our garden is a true paradise for butterflies and birds. We have created a self-maintaining natural garden around the hotel.” - Alexander Herold, Director of Avaneo Hotels.
Sustainable practices are finding a powerful ally through the different stages of the digital guest journey. Beyond merely providing information on eco-friendly initiatives, hotels are embracing technology to foster greener experiences for their guests.
Offering modern temporary living, SMARTments embraces sustainability with a digital twist. Their transformation to a fully digital guest journey is a testament to their commitment to environmental responsibility. By minimising printouts of confirmations, registration forms, and invoices, SMARTments not only enhances efficiency but also takes a significant step toward reducing paper waste. In their efforts, SMARTments provides guests with complimentary spices such as pepper, sugar, and salt in reusable glass containers available in the lobby. Furthermore, they prioritise the use of bio-organic coffee-to-go cups, reflecting their commitment to sustainable practices.
Sharing the same experience on a paperless guest journey, the thread of eco-friendliness runs through every aspect of the guest journey at Stuub, as well from plastic-free, organic guest supplies to bio-organic alternatives for essentials like coffee, linen, and cleaning products.
Dedicated to guest empowerment, Avaneo Hotels introduces the "green button" initiative, enabling guests to opt-out of housekeeping services while being rewarded with gift cards or bistro discounts. This interactive approach aligns with their overarching goal of enhancing guest experiences through sustainable choices. Guests are further empowered through a comprehensive digital guest folder, accessible as an instant app before arrival, providing all necessary information and beyond.
In addition to their commitment to sustainability, Schani Hotels also prioritises digitalisation as a crucial element in their strategic focus.
“Sustainability is a significant focus for us, alongside establishing a seamless digital and mobile guest journey. We are also committed to developing sustainable guest rooms by interconnecting various systems. Our aim is to revolutionise the way travel experiences unfold in the future.” - Christian Müller, Group Manager for Systems Integrations, Schani Hotels
At the foundation of every sustainable endeavor lies the construction of the hotel itself, where eco-conscious architecture and design principles set the stage for responsible practices. These sustainable building strategies establish the groundwork for energy efficiency, resource conservation, and a greener hospitality industry.
A firm belief in the pivotal role of the built environment drives the eco-friendly apartment-provider Stay Awesome. They're determined to achieve net-zero status by 2030, targeting CO² reduction. Their strategy prioritises energy efficiency through renovations, addressing a major CO² source during guest stays. All apartments are set to meet passive house energy standards by 2025, driven by their belief in the power of the built environment.
“In our opinion the highest impact can still be generated with the building itself. Therefore we are building partnerships to initiate and buy conversions of office space, which are energetically renovated or buildings in wooden stud construction.” - Robin Bremer, Co-founder of Stay Awesome.
Schani Hotels is about to hit a major milestone with their upcoming addition - Hotel Schani UNO City Wien. This establishment is on the cusp of redefining sustainability in the German-speaking region by seamlessly integrating building automation with their property management platform, Apaleo. The aim is two-fold: establish measurable sustainability and reduce CO² emissions. A unique feature stands out - the integration of infrared motion detectors in rooms, a novel innovation in the region. This system controls non-essential equipment based on room activity, coupled with proactive temperature adjustments aligned with seasons.
In Stuub's portfolio, all properties consist of pre-existing structures, significantly reducing their carbon footprint. Notably, Stuub Todtnauberg, which is a former 1970s hotel, that underwent sustainable renovation through collaboration with local businesses. The renovation process involved repurposing bark beetle-infested wood from nearby forests, diverting it from its usual cheap shipment to Asia.
Through meticulous engineering, the building services of Avaneo Hotels are meticulously crafted to operate on less than one-third of the energy, water, and gas typically consumed by an average 3-star hotel in the DACH region. With a resolute commitment to renewable energy, they have achieved substantial self-sufficiency in electricity production, a journey set to culminate in complete energy autonomy by 2024. This ambitious goal is powered solely by 100% green electricity and biogas, embodying our dedication to a cleaner, more sustainable future.
This fusion of convenience, information, and eco-consciousness shapes a modern and responsible guest experience. Meanwhile, the heart of transformation lies in the built environment, where seamless digital integration in hotels sparks a paradigm shift in hospitality, where comfort, convenience, and environmental care converge.
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