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New research suggests that hotels are not doing enough to be eco-friendly

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
New research suggests that hotels are not doing enough to be eco-friendly

New research published by the Independent Hotel Show London has revealed that 76 per cent of holidaymakers feel as if hotels could do more to be greener and become more eco-friendly. Editor Hamish Kilburn took to stage to present the findings and writes… 

I am sick to death of hotels – large and small, chains as well as independents – doing the bare minimum in order to claim that they have become more sustainable. Yesterday, I took my frustration over the ‘greenwashing effect’, which so many businesses are guilty of, to the stage at the Independent Hotel Show London to deliver the Conscious Bedroom Report. And here are some of the new stats that have emerged.

Times are changing, and hotels – like all other businesses and sectors worldwide – need to change with them. A report by the conscious bank Iriodos reported that in 2017, UK consumers spent an estimated £83.33 billion on ethical goods and services. And given the recent developments in climate change awareness, that number has increased drastically. While 76 per cent of consumers who were surveyed believe that hotels could do more to become greener, a whopping 72 per cent hoped hotels could also provide local produce.

Question: Are you more likely to book a room if a hotel has a clear sustainability policy? Would your preference change if you were given an incentive? Of the 2,000 individuals who were polled in the survey (64 per cent female and 36 per cent male), the answers to these particular questions were divided. While 57 per cent responded in the affirmative, 43 per cent were not converted by sustainability policies in and of themselves. Furthermore, this plunged to just 16 per cent once an incentive of some sort was involved. When asked why, however, many responded that protecting the environment itself was a strong enough incentive.

It seems, more recently, that sustainability has gone on tour to become a global concern and conversation and not one that is restricted to regional areas. 14 per cent of consumers surveyed admitted to being more aware of their environmental impact when away from home. Interestingly on the flip side, the same number that they believed to be less mindful. 72 per cent, though, managed to keep their beliefs consistent when both travelling and when at home.

“62 per cent of respondents admitted to feeling frustrated by single-use plastics in their room.”

The report also stated that “180 million plastic cotton buds are flushed down the toilet every year in Britain.” For many, and certainly myself after reading that statistic, it is unfathomable for hotels to still be providing guests checking in with single-use plastics. 62 per cent of respondents admitted to feeling frustrated by single-use plastics in their room. 26 per cent claimed not to be bothered and 12 per cent argued that they didn’t notice whether or not single-use plastics were in a hotel room during their stay. Whats more, plastic cotton buds, drink stirrers and straws will be banned in England from April 2020.

“73 per cent of guests asked did not consider a hotel to look ‘budget’ by using large dispensers.”

From recent discussions I have had with hoteliers on how to activate sustainable change without diluting the quality of service, there is a concern that replacing miniatures in the bathrooms with large dispensable bottles will look like a hotel is scrimping. However, 73 per cent of guests asked did not consider a hotel to look ‘budget’ by using large dispensers. If you needed further reassurance, a large proportion of the top luxury hotels in London have replaced bathroom miniatures with large dispensers and are, as a result, feeding back to the editorial desk at Hotel Designs zero complaints. “We ensure that the product remains high quality,” one hotelier said. “And in order to illuminate the opportunity for guests to complain, we ensure that each bottle is always topped up.”

“78 per cent of those surveyed embraced the rag ‘n’ bone revolution.”

The report also examined the design element of a hotel guests’ experience. 78 per cent of those surveyed embraced the rag ‘n’ bone revolution. 22 per cent maintained to feel ambivalent at the thought of restored furniture. In regards to art, which is further being taken outside the frame in hotel design with new innovative design scenes coming into vision, seeing locally sourced pieces around a hotel is becoming more of a demand among travellers. 61 per cent of guests said that they did appreciate the use of indigenous arts and crafts, and only six per cent were non-plussed.

The Conscious Bedroom Report is a step in the right direction. Although positive to see that consumer demands are very much in line with ensuring that the international hotel design scene becomes more conscious both socially and environmentally, it also exposes an industry that is behind many to become sustainably driven.

“In short, the value of becoming a more conscious hotel operator, designer and architect far out weighs the cost.”

EDITOR’S COMMENT: “Never before has it been more transparent than it is now to see hotels either choosing not to embrace and adopt new eco initiatives or doing the bare minimum and greenwashing. I believe that in order to really make an impact on the international hotel design scene, examples need to be set. Examples like Heckfield Place, The Langham London and Inhabit London. All of which, interestingly, are sheltered in grade-listed buildings. The excuses are fading.

“By the industry creatively thinking about how they can add sustainability into their core values, hotels and hotel designers will naturally open themselves up to local suppliers, businesses and communities that surround them. In short, the value of becoming a more conscious hotel operator, designer and architect far out weighs the cost. We have an opportunity to make a real change and the statistics in the Conscious Bedroom Report just highlight further the changing demands of modern travellers.” – Hamish Kilburn, editor, Hotel Designs

The seven-page report was unveiled in an exclusive panel discussion, hosted by Kilburn. He was joined by Alex Harris, the creative director for Harris + Harris London; Olivia Richli, the general manager for Heckfield Place; Sue Williams, the general manager for Whatley Manor and Xenia Zu Hohenlohe, the managing director of Considerate Group.

The Independent Hotel Show London continues…

Next month, Hotel Designs will be putting sustainability under the spotlight. If you have a story for the team, please email h.kilburn@forumevents.co.uk

Main image credit: Inhabit London


Kaldewei joins WWF’s Southeast Asia marine conservation programme

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Project to reduce plastic waste through sustainable waste management.

Bathrooms specialist Kaldewei has joined forces with the WWF’s marine conservation programme in Southeast Asia, with the aim of improving waste management in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta.

Announcing the drive, the company cited forecasts that by 2050 the oceans will contain as much plastic waste as fish. The first indications are already visible today: animals are perishing after ingesting plastic; microplastic is being found in many species of fish.

Furthermore, studies show that organised waste management is not practised in Southeast Asia and uncontrolled dumping of residual waste is a common occurrence. Owing to regular flooding in river basins, large quantities of this waste is swept into the oceans.

“Sustainability is enshrined in the Kaldewei corporate philosophy,” said Kaldewei Managing Director Franz Kaldewei. “We are happy to support the WWF’s important work to prevent plastic waste in the oceans, and we are confident that with our commitment we will be making a valuable contribution to marine conservation and the preservation of natural living environments.”

Keeping plastic out of the oceans

Working together, Kaldewei and the WWF are aiming to combat not only the impacts, but also the causes of environmental pollution. The aim of the project in the Mekong Delta is to quickly reduce the volume of waste by up to 80 per cent by means of separation and recycling, to shut down dumps over the long term and to clear disposal sites.

The partners hope that these measures will prevent large quantities of plastic from entering the ocean via the rivers and canals on the Mekong Delta every year, as is currently the case.

In manufacturing its shower surfaces, bathtubs and washbasins made of steel enamel – a composite of steel and glass – Kaldewei says it has always used natural raw materials that are 100% recyclable.

“For us, this partnership with the WWF is a logical step in our constant endeavours for a clean environment,” Kaldewei added.

Edition Hotels launches ‘Stay Plastic Free’ industry initiative

1024 683 Katy Phillips

Boutique chain Edition Hotels has unveiled a new initiative to omit single use plastic from the hotel industry.

The initiative – ‘Stay Plastic Free’ – was developed by Ben Pundole (Vice President of Brand Experiences) will see all Edition hotels become 90% single use plastic free by the end of Q1 2018 – with the intention of being 100% single use plastic free by the end of Q1 2019.

The company says the campaign has been inspired by the recent anti-plastic activism in the UK, spurred in part by Sir David Attenborough’s widely-viewed Blue Planet series.

In a statement Edition Hotels said: “The initiative strives to onboard others both within the hospitality industry and outside of to commit to removing plastic from everyday use – and provides the tools and resources to help them do so. The initiative will inspire hotels and hoteliers worldwide to use alternatives to single-use plastic.”

Stay Plastic Free will provide a library of plastic alternative vendors and contacts for everything from plastic free mini bar items, coffee cups, straws, water bottles, bathroom amenities and food containers.

Working alongside both Lonely Whale and Project Zero, led by Tyrone Wood and James Jagger, Stay Plastic Free has enlisted support from both oceans charities and the scientists behind them. The program has also enlisted support from industry authorities including Randy Gerber, Alan Faena and Andre Balazs as advocates.

In addition to plastic reductions throughout its properties, Edition is leading a campaign committee of influential hoteliers —which Pundole hopes will include the likes of Design Hotels, Soho House, and Chiltern Firehouse — to look at industry-wide solutions to the plastic problem.

As part of the campaign Edition will produce a short film highlighting the impact of single use plastic from the hotel industry on the environment.

Survey says: Business travellers want to go green, but don’t know where to start

1024 683 Katy Phillips

Business travellers are on the look-out for greener places to stay.

Over half of business travellers (52%) would like to make more sustainable choices when they travel, but don’t know how, according to Booking.com’s global Sustainable Travel Report.

The report indicates that the green travel trend continues to gain momentum with a large majority of global travellers (87%) stating that they want to travel sustainably.

Beyond personal travel, making the right choices for the planet is also extending to the professional sphere, with many people now considering how sustainable their business travel choices really are.

Over half of business travellers questioned (52%) said they would like to make more sustainable choices when they travel, but also that they don’t yet know what steps to take.

Some business travellers are already taking eco-friendly steps, however, when it comes to transport for example, with over half (56%) trying to travel by rail or road rather than taking flights, and 65% using public transportation as much as possible while on a business trip.

Business travellers are also on the look-out for greener places to stay, with over two thirds (69%) intending to stay in eco-friendly accommodation over the next year.

Booking.com says one of the best ways to ensure a trip has less ecological impact is to keep things as local as possible, such as selecting accommodation with locally sourced, sustainable in-room amenity kits or with restaurants that serve locally sourced ingredients.

Making the best use of local resources not only provides a more authentic travel experience, but also helps to cut down the carbon footprint of a trip. Business travellers are increasingly recognizing this, with 70% favouring local products and services during their stay.

Of course, responsibility for eco-friendly travel choices rests not only with employees themselves. Booking.com says businesses are starting to take more responsibility and foster a more eco-friendly approach to business travel.

In fact, 40% of business travellers say it is part of their company’s values to use eco-friendly accommodation, and over a third (35%) say it is part of their company’s travel policy. That said, the majority of those surveyed (61%) feel that their company should do more to promote eco-friendly accommodation options.

Pergo Environment

Guest Blog – Pergo: ‘Meeting demands of the environmentally conscious…’

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Eco-consciousness and sustainability is having more and more of an impact on how hotels are designed and built – not to mention how they are decorated inside. Guests are becoming savvy and expect hotel groups to offer a product that meets their standards of environmental responsibility; much the same way as they do with their food products or their cars.

Guest bloggers and Hotel Designs Directory members Pergo talk below about how their products are being used by ecologically-minded hoteliers and designers…

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RELATED: Technology, sustainability demands impacting hotel design
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Environmental issues press more and more heavily on us all as the realisation of the fragility of our planet begins to dawn on us. Who can honestly say these days that they don’t look at the provenance and number of artificial additives in their products or the overall ecological promises of a brand?

Hotel guests are equally insistent. What are the corporate and socially responsibility ambitions of the hotel operator? The travel managers of large corporates do not allow bookings at hotels that do not meet their own minimum standards for recycling and waste management, re-use, local sourcing, the environmental-suitability of cleaning products and similar criteria.

Pergo Environment

These factors are used to judge whether or not your hotel makes it on the preferred supplier list of companies who need thousands of room nights every year. At a more personal level, checks on the availability of hypoallergenic pillows and whether or not the hotel has got carpets or wood floors are becoming more commonplace from health-conscious guests.

And surely the most environmentally-sound products are those that last forever. Stone is a good example. Take a marble bath surround that never has to be replaced then. Putting aside the environmental costs of procurement and installation, it is truly sustainable.

Similarly Pergo’s commitment to quality means that they can offer lifetime warranties on most of their products. Not only does this express supreme confidence it also shows a commitment to a sustainable future. Another commitment by Pergo is to only use wood sourced from sustainable forests having either the FSC or PEFC certification. Every tree used is replaced and therefore CO2 emissions are naturally stored in the wood flooring. How neat is that!?

For more information on Pergo’s sustainability commitment and their products, visit pro.pergo.co.uk
T: +447584459226

M: +447584459226
E: laura.sandles@unilin.co.uk