Maintaining Green Initiatives in the Era of PPE

Oct 13, 2021

A recent push for more sustainability within the hospitality industry has led to large-scale changes in hotel operations. As the pandemic hit, however, hotelier priorities have shifted from eco-friendliness to providing enhanced cleanliness, and the rise of single-use plastics, such as PPE and cutlery, has sparked concerns that hotels have begun to reverse the sustainable progress made over the last decade.

The demand for eco-friendly travel hasn’t left the minds of the consumers. Over half of global travelers want to travel more sustainably in the future, and 70% of travelers are more likely to book more sustainable accommodations—adding pressure to hoteliers, who have begun questioning how they’ll be able to meet the green initiatives currently in place while simultaneously ensuring enhanced guest safety.

In many ways, however, the pandemic has paved a new path for sustainability in hotel operations; recent technological innovations have allowed hoteliers to reduce waste and energy usage, despite a widespread increase in single-use plastics. As hoteliers look to recover, adjusting their operations to the unique environment of COVID-19 can help revitalize sustainability initiatives without sacrificing safety. Read on to learn more about the new technology hoteliers can capitalize on to exceed their green initiatives and attract eco-friendly travelers, making the most of the industry’s recovery.

Eliminate unnecessary waste with contactless solutions

Touchless technology began making waves in the hospitality industry long before the pandemic, but the widespread need for limiting contact and touchpoints led to the rapid adaptation of contactless solutions in hotels across the globe. Using technology aimed at enhancing guest safety, hoteliers have reduced paper and plastic waste without necessarily intending to.

The most widely adapted solution, contactless check-in and check-out services have eliminated the need for paper and plastic use in properties. Allowing guests to access front desk services from their mobile devices or an in-lobby kiosk, these services allow guests to complete check-in, ID-verification, payment and check-out on a completely digital platform. As an additional green measure, guests have the option to use mobile keys rather than physical key cards.

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In a similar vein, taking F&B to a digital platform can further promote waste reduction efforts. By offering contactless ordering solutions, hoteliers can not only reduce the need for physical menus, but they can also reduce paper usage by offering cashless, digital transactions. Through mobile ordering solutions or physical kiosks, hoteliers can increase sustainability efforts across every F&B option the property has to offer, including room service, restaurants, poolside dining and more.

Beyond F&B, contactless POS systems can help reduce waste across all of a property’s amenity services. Equipping staff with a POS tablet can help promote contactless sales in poolside services and in environments like casino floors, beaches, convention halls and lounges, while offering guests the ability to place orders on their own mobile devices can be an encouraging alternative. Upgrading traditional POS terminals can further improve sustainable initiatives across retail options, spas, and more.

Among its many benefits, touchless technology ultimately helps hoteliers eliminate paper and plastic use, offers more energy efficiency and more. Hoteliers who haven’t implemented contactless solutions should consider how it can help meet their property’s green initiatives, and those who have adapted some contactless solutions should consider expanding their property’s touchless tech.

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Reduce energy and chemical usage by adjusting housekeeping services

While touchless technology has assisted in promoting sustainability in waste-reduction, some pandemic-related changes implemented have had negative impacts on other crucial aspects of a hotelier’s green initiatives. To limit the spread of germs, hoteliers have reportedly used “stronger, more toxic” products for cleaning and sanitizing. With the use of harmful chemicals, many cleaning products now used have detrimental impacts on the environment.

To reduce the use of harmful cleaning products, hoteliers can adjust housekeeping schedules and eliminate unnecessary room cleanings—which can also help save water, limit energy consumption and reduce the use of plastic garbage bags. Hoteliers can further reduce room cleanings by sending push notifications to guest devices about housekeeping services, offering them the ability to cancel room cleaning services via text message. Alternatively, allowing guests to provide their preferences for housekeeping services when making reservations through the property’s direct booking engine, encourages limited room cleanings during their stay.

Integrate green tech and enforce new protocols through the property PMS

The PMS software is the central piece in hotel operations and utilizing industry-leading solutions is integral to ensuring a seamless transition when new technology is implemented, or when a property’s green initiatives require new protocols to be put in place.

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New green tech is being developed at a fast rate. With IoT allowing hotelier systems to be more connected than ever before, solutions like smart environmental controls and in-room streaming solutions can eliminate energy and waste, while also giving guests more control of their stays. To take advantage of cutting-edge solutions, utilizing an industry-leading PMS solution can ensure the seamless integration of new technology—helping hoteliers meet sustainable initiatives without interrupting operations.

An operator might have the right framework in place, but sustainable initiatives require collaboration at every level. Using a PMS solution that ensures swift communication between systems and employees can help foster the support and education needed to drive sustainability efforts throughout the property.

Enhanced cleanliness and sustainability are not mutually exclusive. By capitalizing on new technology and reevaluating current initiatives to fit the pandemic environment, hoteliers can promote green initiatives and further optimize processes in the hotel.

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