Consumers that seek services from the hospitality industry, such as hotels and restaurants, are increasingly choosing accommodations and travel experiences that respect and are geared towards preserving the environment. This report will go over environmental trends that consumers are preferring in today’s industry, the actions that hotels and restaurants are doing to satisfy consumers, and the benefits that are achieved by those choices for the consumers themselves, businesses, and the environment.
In today’s hospitality and tourism industry, hotels and restaurants are being more and more pressured to act upon applying more sustainable practices in their businesses in order to attract consumers. This is because consumers are becoming more conscious that their purchasing choices affect themselves and the environment. A new international study by Unilever reveals that 33% of consumers are now choosing to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good (Unilever, 2017).
Consumer Trends and the Steps Taken by Hotels and Restaurants to Satisfy Customers: Consumers are looking for businesses that make recycling and waste reduction efforts, are conscious of water and energy usage, and that grow their own fresh produce on-site or purchase it from local farms or distributers. It is believed that, “the personal emotions experienced in an environmentally friendly property of preserving the long-term maintenance of the environment for the future generations” is what might drive consumer preferences in the hospitality industry (Cozzio, 2018).
Hotels are reducing the use of plastic and waste by presenting guests with refillable metal drinking bottles and putting real china and silverware in rooms. If plastics or styrofoams do need to be used, which is true in some cases of the food and beverage department, then hotels try to use biodegradable materials. Many hotels also recycle tons of partially used soap so that it can be cleaned, sanitized, and reformed into a new bar for future use.
For water conservation, hotels are recycling their pool and laundry water and also capturing rainfall in order to water the hotel gardens, lawns, or landscape areas.
For energy usage, hotel and restaurant owners are making sure that the construction, design, and operation of their buildings are LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified. With a LEED certification, buildings are ensured that they are designed in a way that is environmentally responsible.
Even if some businesses don’t meet all of the LEED standard requirements, they still have taken simple measure in order to reduce water and energy usage. Both hotels and restaurants try to design their buildings with the proper insulation that will prevent a loss of heating or cooling, thus reducing energy consumption levels.
Restaurants are implementing controls in their kitchens that automatically turn off unused kitchen equipment, or that keep them at a minimum if necessary. They also recycle their used oil to companies that can produce a product of energy generation made out of oil. Refrigerators and freezers will also usually have split curtains so that refrigeration losses are kept at a minimum every time employees open the refrigerator doors.
In hotels, they are using the natural daylight to light their lobbies, restaurants, and other public and open space ares. The planning and allocation of rooms to guests in a way where the hotel will only have to either be heated or cooled in certain areas of the building. Implementing “automatic” sensors on various items such as toilets, lights, faucets, air conditioners, etc. so that appliances can reduce energy and water consumption if guests accidentally forget to turn them off, or if certain guests aren’t as environmentally conscious of their actions.
The desire of consuming fresh food continues to develop even more overtime. Therefore, even more hotels are growing their own gardens, or networking with local farmers and businesses, in order to obtain fresh, non-chemically distorted, produce.
The benefits gained by consumers, businesses, and the environment
The deterioration of the natural earth affects every area of the hospitality industry and tourism industry. Every action that humankind conducts is connected to the natural world. All humans rely on the earth for water, energy, and food. Therefore, we must be aware of our actions in order to gain a benefit while not further destroying the earth.
By reducing waste and recycling, consumers and businesses are sustaining the well-being of the local people, the city, and the environment.
Purposeful water and energy usage also contributes a positive interest to the environment because it slows down the degeneration of the water and energy sources. People also benefit from this since safe, clean water and energy can then be resourcefully allocated to other countries.
Also, according to the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED certified hotels and restaurants have the following performance attributes: A reduction of energy use of 15 to 40%, a reduction in water use of 10 to 30%, and a reduction of waste to landfills of 50 to 90% (Girling, 2015). In other words, businesses can also benefit by lowering their costs.
When purchasing food items, consumers concerned with purchasing products that are of benefit to them as well as to the external environment. They want to know exactly what they are putting in their bodies in order to stay healthy and look after their well being. By buying locally grown foods, it is easier for them to knowing exactly where the product came from and how it was grown. Consumers also wish that the growing practices are safely conducted by farmers as to not strip the environment from its natural nutrients. This is because most local farmers usually don’t use harmful chemicals to grow their foods (Go Green, 2018).
Figure 1 shown below demonstrates other reasons as to why consumers opt out for local food options such as support for local farmers, uniqueness of where the product is derived from, more nutritional value, etc (PMA Research, 2017).
To summarize, every time consumers are receiving services from hotels or restaurants, they are leaving a footprint behind on the earth. Since consumers are value driven, and also it is inevitable for them not to use natural resources, they wish that their actions and choices lessen the damaging impact on the environment. Hence, preferring to purchase from hotels and restaurants that also use environmentally friendly practices. In the end, businesses that are sustainable also profit from offering environmentally friendly services to their guests.