How Hotels Can Promote a More Environmentally Free Approach to Hotel Operations and Benefit from Guest's Support

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After years of pollution, the earth is getting more conscious and many operations carried out today are environment-friendly. This movement has changed the accommodation sector as well as this is due to travelers getting more concerned and the hotels would not like to risk their image for the guests. Many government agencies and private companies like to be linked now with those hotels which support the environment. Europe is taking this movement very seriously and hence inculcating laws within its nations for recycling and waste management. There are many groups like the Green Hotels Association, International Hotels Environmental Initiative and Green Suites International which provide programs, consultation and products to hotels.

For a hotel to get started with an environmental approach, a program has to be devised which would outline changes of hotel policies. With special regards to housekeeping, cleaning practices can be altered by changing cleaning methods by reducing usage of chemical, water, energy and paper. The cleaning chemicals should be biodegradable, environmental friendly, less harmful on skin and odor-free. Only a few suppliers produce environmental friendly products, so these sellers should be contacted and finally training must be given to the staff with a modified SOP (Schneider, Tucker and Scoviak 1998: 272-273). Also to make sure that such programs are effective, methods should be setup to understand the guest reactions. Questionnaires, feedback forms and suggestion forms can be given to the guests to fill and the hotel can develop on its procedures thereafter.

Nowadays, more hotels around the world are changing their procedures to suit the environment by using water, energy and other materials efficiently and hence are termed as green hotels. Due to this conservation, the hotels benefits in terms of reduced costs and increased profits. For example, the staff at the Sheraton Tacoma Hotel used fluorescent light bulbs instead of incandescent lamps all over the hotel and the cost saving was $15,000 with a payback rate of 18 months (www.zerowaste.org ).

According to Coelho (1997, cited in EBSCO), ‘Promoting an eco-friendly area is important for hotel marketing'. If the hotel has failed to attain a good market position, the marketing of being an eco-friendly hotel will be an advantage for the hotel. www.mtn.org states that with the "we care" marketing, guests tend to revisit the hotel because of the strong concern for the planet and hence changing praises to dollars. This can be proved by a survey held in America which stated that 83% of the US travelers wanted to stay at eco-friendly hotels. The Kimpton Hotels have developed special Eco Floors, which have special water and air filters, bio-degradable soaps and are energy efficient and many of these rooms are designed by celebrities who support the cause and a certain percent of the room rate is offered to charity ( www.kimptonhotels.com ). Such hotels can influence eco-travelers who want to practice conservation wherever they go. www.hotel-online.com states that Kimpton's San Francisco Triton Hotel use disposable stirrers and cups instead of mugs and the napkins and facial tissues are made from recycled paper. The cleaning chemicals used are bio-degradable and environmentally safe. The hotel also uses air dryers in the restrooms instead of paper hand towels to reduce solid wastes.

One of the main areas of concern is conservation of energy, as many hotels have huge heating and cooling systems. There are many ways in which energy can be conserved ‘from designing for passive solar heating to something as simple as providing good insulation can help reduce or eliminate the need for costly heating and cooling' or even a simple thing like changing the thermostat settings can be useful (www.zerowaste.org ). For the Sheraton Auckland Hotel and Towers, 35% of energy was consumed in cleaning of linen and 65% was accounted for drying in the laundry...
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