April 28, 2022
Whether you operate a branded/independent hotel property or maintain a vacation rental, how you approach sustainability is hugely important to your guests. According to Booking.com’s 2022 Sustainable Travel Report, 61% of US travelers say that they want to travel more sustainably over the coming 12 months. This is an increase of 15% vs. the company’s 2021 data.
As we recently celebrated Earth Day 2022, there has never been a better time to consider your property’s approach to environmental sustainability. Many sustainability initiatives are long term projects that require significant investments and aren’t always feasible. However, there are also numerous smaller scale initiatives that can not only make your hotel more sustainable but also help reduce your ongoing, recurring expenses. Here are a few of our favorite ideas:
Five trillion plastic bags are produced worldwide annually. Americans alone throw away 100 billion bags each year. Within hospitality, one large source of such plastic bag waste is laundry, garment, and dry cleaning bags. Replacing this plastic with a reusable alternative is not only good for the environment, but also can save you significant recurring costs.
One such reusable option is VersaValet™, a hybrid bag made from 100% recycled polyester and serves the functions of both a garment bag and a laundry bag. At check in, guests will find a fresh VersaValet™ in the hotel room closet. This bag is then filled with soiled laundry or dry cleaning. After being transferred to the laundry, the VersaValet™ is laundered along with its contents. Fresh laundry and dry cleaning are then returned to the guest’s room protected by the very same VersaValet™, now doubling as a garment bag.
While the VersaValet™ is a good first step, there are still countless other sources of single use plastics in hotel rooms worldwide. Be sure to also consider alternatives to other common single use plastics:
While all of these solutions require an up-front investment, you reduce waste and save significantly in ongoing product costs by making the switch away from single use plastic to reusable products.
The environmental impact of commercial laundry is undeniable. A typical commercial washing machine uses an average of over 34 thousand gallons of water and up to 910 kWh of electricity per year. While there are countless strategies you can employ to make your laundry operations more efficient, one of the best ways to reduce the impact of laundering is to reduce the overall volume of linens.
One way to reduce laundry volume is to encourage your guests to reuse towels and bedding. This can be done through in-room advertising that displays how much water and energy a guest can save by reusing their linens. You might also consider an “everyone is doing it” messaging approach, which was successfully tested by researchers from Stanford University.
Another way to cut down on laundering is to purchase pre-washed linens. Not only do pre-washed linens help you avoid an initial wash, but they also save you significantly on the labor costs involved in up-front processing. Our Room Ready for You® Laundered with Tide® program allows you to use sheeting and terry straight out of the box. Our proprietary Room Ready process is conducted in a Clean Room environment to avoid contamination and to control other environmental parameters to ensure optimal cleanliness. And what’s more, this process uses 58% less energy than a typical commercial laundry.
Finally, one of our newest products, the VersaTowel™ can also help you reduce your laundry volume. This innovative hand-wash towel serves the functions for both hand and wash towels – eliminating the need to stock both items. This hybrid towel reduces waste and water usage, as well as lowers total terry acquisition costs.
Every year, a typical 400-room hotel generates about two to three metric tons of used linen. If you are simply tossing these products into the trash, you are missing out on a great opportunity to donate to a local charity or nonprofit organization who can reuse these products in the community.
You might also consider purchasing recycled linen products from the start. For example, our Innerloft® Blanket is made of hypoallergenic blended cotton/polyester ticking and soft 100% recycled polyester fill. Our LuxSoft® Comforter has a 100% recycled polyester fill. It also dries much faster than other comforters, reducing laundry and energy expenses. Switching to a product with recycled content will bring numerous benefits to you, your customers, and the environment!
Opting for a high quality commercial linen is a key sustainability decision. Choosing a product engineered to withstand the rigors of high use and commercial laundry mean these products will last longer and result in less waste introduced to the environment.
One of our key innovation platforms aims to accomplish this exact feat while maintaining the comfort that your guests have come to expect. Our Centium Core Technology® is a fabric formation technology that reconfigures the base yarns of a woven fabric. This unique construction delivers unsurpassed durability and longevity and a soft touch since the greatest number of yarns touching the skin are cotton. Since the launch of Centium Core products, customers have achieved significant savings due to reduced replacement costs and lower operational expenses.
As stated before, sustainability is important to the modern traveler. Your guests want to know what you are doing to be a more sustainable property. So don’t be modest – shout about all of your sustainability initiatives, large and small. Consider a feature on your in-room entertainment channel, a page dedicated to sustainability on your website, a social media campaign, or email marketing to your subscribers.
While digital marketing is the most sustainable, you may also choose to employ some limited advertisements in the lobby, elevators, and other common areas. If your guests see your sustainability message and are encouraged to participate by reusing their towels and linens and recycle materials, they will be more likely to remember your brand on their next journey.
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