As the spotlight this month continues to shine on Hotel Concepts, Ali Howe explores the benefits of an eco-hotel in the congested arena of international hotel design…
While only 6.8 per cent of hotel reviews mention sustainability, the ones that do are almost exclusively positive. This in turn leads to customers who frequently return to the hotel and advertise it to friends via word of mouth and social media. With shifting attitudes and a need for a socially conscious eco-hotel image, designing for sustainability is a smart business move. Lower running costs also mean potentially higher profits margins. It’s not all about the money though. A medium-sized hotel switching to renewable energy can expect to reduce its carbon footprint by 68,500kg per year. This is crucial to preventing catastrophic climate change. Therefore, many would argue that the focus in hotel design should be to create a hotel around customers’ needs and desires, by creating an eco-hotel that really stands out from the competition.
Shifting customer attitudes
Depending on where your hotel is located, will depend on the type of guests that will be arriving. However, there is a general trend towards a focus on the environment. The amount of customers craving an eco-friendly option is expected to increase by 36 per cent between 2016 and 2018. Making observable eco-conscious upgrades to your hotel will help you maintain this customer base.
By putting sustainability first, you remove the corporate atmosphere and create a space which is interesting, forward thinking and welcoming
Travellers to more rural and natural beauty spots are particularly keen to limit their environmental impact. They expect a hotel designed with nature conservation in mind. By taking a plane and other transport, they are already conscious of their carbon footprint. If they can balance this with an eco-friendly hotel, they will end their vacation feeling positive.
Build a friendly image and loyal customers
62 per cent of people distrust large corporations. They are seriously concerned that profit is at the heart of almost every business. Showing, through your hotel design, that you are willing to go the extra mile to create a socially conscious business highlights that you are about more than just money. Hotels should have a homely feel, where guests feel comfortable and welcome. By putting sustainability first, you remove the corporate atmosphere and create a space which is interesting, forward thinking and welcoming. Solar panels and bamboo toothbrushes are small design features that easily identify your hotel as being environmentally conscious.
Enjoy lower running costs
A luxury, unique and comfortable hotel can be expensive to run. From hiring staff to keeping the place running to ensuring you use the highest quality mattresses, fixed costs are high. Why would you increase costs further by using outdated, inefficient and non-renewable fuel sources? For one megawatt-hour of solar power, you will spend around £40. That’s compared to the £80 needed for the same amount of coal. Switching to solar makes far more financial sense, offering long-term savings. You can then use the extra money to increase the quality of your hotel’s design or simply lower prices for guests.
Making ecological design improvements to your hotel is arguably a no-brainer. You’ll keep up with shifting public attitudes, making you a leader in your area. A sustainable design will not only save you money on running costs, but create an atmosphere that keeps guests returning and always leaving positive reviews.
Main image credit: Unsplash/JoshG