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First ‘Green Lodging Trends Report’ Provides A Benchmark For Hotel Sustainability In Asia Pacific

December 6, 2016 Statistics & Trends No Comments Email Email

Leading travel and hospitality sustainability consultancy and research firm, Greenview has released data from the first comprehensive Green Lodging Survey – the Green Lodging Trends Report 2016.

The results presented in the report are based on data collected from 2,161 hotels located in 44 countries around the world, 1,875 of them located in Asia Pacific. The findings specifically relate to eco-friendly and sustainable practices within the hotel sector and the data focuses on practices and initiatives grouped into ten categories: air quality, energy management, waste management, water conservation, cleaning and maintenance, kitchen and laundry, communication, staff involvement, community involvement and procurement.

“Asia is a significant force within the global hospitality industry and the region has seen more hotels open over the last few years compared to the rest of the world combined,” says Grace Kang, managing partner, Greenview. “The importance of implementing sustainable practices in hotel across Asia has therefore never been more important than it is today.”

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Within and beyond Asia Pacific, the hospitality industry has long been known for its energy usage, water consumption and tendency to produce waste. However, as environmental concerns have become more prominent on the world stage, a number of common green practices have been implemented in hotels that go beyond the more familiar approaches such as encouraging guests to re-use towels and linens in order to save on water and reduce pollution from detergents.

Energy management is one such common practice. Almost 90% of respondents in the GLS 2016 indicated having preventative maintenance programs in place, such as routinely checking HVAC filters, while 50% said they were tracking energy use via new technologies such as occupancy sensors in guest rooms, which can also power down heating and cooling systems.

Lighting is another area where hotels have made significant progress in terms of sustainable energy practices with 70% of hoteliers in the GLS 2016 saying they have replaced at least 75% of incandescent or compact florescent lighting with LEDs. However, lower uptake was recorded in areas such as waste heat recovery, an approach used by just 29% of respondents, and solar PV panels, which were used in only 14% of the hotels surveyed.

Surprisingly, several of the best known approaches to sustainability with proven benefits in terms of operational efficiency, cost reduction and even enhancing guests’ experience have yet to be implemented in the majority of hotels in the survey. Over one-third of respondents said they had yet to install digital thermostats in their rooms, and although most hotels have some form of linen re-use policy, less than half of the hotels in the GLS 2016 have implemented programs that require guests to request that their towels and linens are changed.

Waste management is another area where hotels can make small changes that have a significant impact. Installing re-fillable soap and shampoo dispensers in hotel rooms instead of disposable single use amenities is a strategy that 41% of properties observe, while practices such as the installation of efficient, low volume water fixtures, devices that allow for rainwater capture, and high-efficiency boilers and chillers remains uncommon enough for them to still be considered innovations.

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“When asked to describe their innovative practices, the majority of participants responded with items that were found to already have common uptake throughout the survey,” explains Ms. Kang. “If you ask most hoteliers whether their hotel is green, they’ll say yes and list some basic practices, or for a small portion, their certification. But how do they really know if they are keeping up with their competitors on the green front? The Green Lodging Survey gives us all insight as to what hotels are doing, should be doing, and where to improve. Collectively, we can accelerate best practice together.”

Technology also plays an increasingly significant role when it comes to hotel sustainability. Sensors, specialist building equipment and software were all commonly cited in relation to energy, water and waste management, with increasingly affordable systems such as reverse osmosis and composting machines now being used in a significant number of properties.

Finance also remains a key issue when it comes to the implementation of sustainable practices in hotels. Unless some form of ROI can be demonstrated, significant capital is rarely spent on green approaches unless they are also seen as aesthetically pleasing. Such attitudes are often based on a certain perception of guest expectations. However, nearly a quarter of GLS 2016 respondents indicated that they did not know their guests’ level of interest in sustainability.

“Most of the aspects we benchmark also reduce costs. This means the exercise enables a hotel see that if it hasn’t put in a common item like a digital thermostat, not only is the property falling behind in terms of guest expectations, but it’s also wasting money because of it,” adds Ms. Kang.

Executive Chef George Fistrovich works in the crop box at at The Ritz-Carlton

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Of all the hotels in the GLS 2016, some 69% said they have established a green team or committee to monitor and measure their sustainability. These teams are already helping to improve the industry’s green performance, and 79% of hoteliers said they hold staff training sessions on sustainable practices at least once a year. Launched as an annual report, the Green Lodging Survey will provide  a benchmark for green teams globally, allowing them to track their progress and compare practices with similar properties.

“Sustainability is all about leadership to overcome challenges. Regardless of their current state of sustainability, participating hotels in this first annual exercise are already leaders for helping overcome the challenge of creating industrywide awareness. For the next year, hotels can now see that they can make a difference just by participating,” says Ms. Kang.

The Green Lodging Trends Report 2016 is available at http://www.greenview.sg.

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