Jefrey Walter writes on the hospitalitynet website what green marketing can do for hotels.
The Truth behind Hotel’s Green Marketing and Energy Efficiency
Unfortunately, some hotels seem to have integrated environmental issues into their activities simply to distinguish themselves from competitors, without essentially making any practical or in-depth changes in the hotel’s environmental activities. The number of hotels distributing green claims over the last several years has increased significantly as customers and hotels are paying more attention. Continually, hotels are accused of greenwashing on websites and social media platforms.
Guest retention is the number one priority in the hospitality sector; however, many hotel operators are often hesitant to engage in activities that could be perceived as reducing comfort, convenience, or the overall brand experience. However, energy represents the single fastest-growing operating cost in the lodging industry. There is a well-established case for energy efficiency as a sound business practice, and expectations for hoteliers to demonstrate their climate stewardship are growing. Hotel buildings make intensive use of which generally comes from the burning of fossil fuels, such as oil, LPG, etc. Almost all of them offer services such as air conditioning, hot water, and laundry, which in many cases are provided by inefficient equipment, the aggravates the problem of environmental pollution. Therefore, hotels generate large amounts of CO2, which leads to negative impacts on the environment and diminishes the companies’ profits due to the high energy costs.
Although there are various dimensions of sustainability or eco-friendly hotels, this article provides an emphasis on energy efficiency in hotels with an in-depth focus and false green marketing. On average, around 47,000 hotels in the US spend $2,196 per available room each year on energy. This represents about 6 percent of all operating costs. Through a strategic approach to energy efficiency, a 10 percent reduction in energy consumption would have an immense positive impact on cutting costs and increasing profits.
Firstly, sustainability refers to “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” according to the United Nations. A sustainable hotel or accommodation that has made vital environmental developments to its energy so as to diminish its influence on the environment. Even though, many sustainable hotels focus on energy efficiency and promote it effectively, they lack an in-depth view of it. For instance, a hotel can be energy efficient by introducing energy efficiency systems and staff training to effectively control and monitor energies. However, on a macro level, hotels do not focus on “where they get their energy from”. Is it from renewable or non-renewable sources?
On the other hand, many hotels in the Middle East for instance promote sustainable practices emphasizing energy efficiency and CSR (Corporate social responsibility) and promote it to attract and retain consumers who look for sustainable hotels. However, in the Middle East most of their electricity is generated from non-renewable sources such as oil, coal, etc. As an exemplification, a report by Statista suggests that in top 10 CO2 emitting countries per capita, 5 Middle Eastern countries were in top 10 globally. Nevertheless, since most public hotels do not release reports on where they get their energy from but promoting sustainability and energy efficiency lacks the real truth behind their sustainable solutions to attract and retain guests.
Hence, the following are the effective green marketing strategies which the hotels can use to sustain long-term growth in profits, guest retention, and being environmental friendly.
- Emphasize the truth: “Where does the hotel get energy from?” and “Is that energy renewable or non-renewable energy”.
- Emphasize ESG reporting standards and provide reports on energy sources. For example, although currently the hotel purchases non-renewable energy, does the country has enough renewable energy sources or how can the hotel purchase renewable energy.
- Create innovative green products and services.
- Target consumers who expect to stay in sustainable hotels.
- Skepticism of customers on green marketing.
- Contradiction of rivals on environmental claims.
- Achieving LEED & ISO certifications for the hotel.
- Adoption of environmentally friendly distribution channels.
Subsequently, hotel managers are expected to launch quick activities in order to make use of principles of green marketing properly in their hotels. As green marketing has been proposed as a key factor in sustainable development, commitment to its principles can be regarded as a key factor to gain long-term prosperity.