Greening is a calculated effort by hoteliers to engage in environmentally friendly and energy saving actions. Going green is a global phenomenon. Many organizations are making sustained efforts towards this. In the hotel industry, stakeholders are engaged in a mental and attitude paradigm shift to engage the goodwill of its customers in helping it go green.
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Some of the efforts include reusing some of the hotel products such as linens, minimal lighting in hotel rooms, minimal usage of water, reduction of food wastages through ordering ‘just enough’, among others.
All these have a cost reducing effect and enable the hoteliers to participate in the noble practice to save the planet. This paper will discuss the concept of Greening Hotels, its effect on the various stakeholders including the customers, the significance of this concept, what the future holds for the development and growth of this noble concept in other industries and within this industry (Buildings, 2012).
Origin of Greening of Hotels
Environmentalists coined the term Global Warming over two decades ago. In that time and beyond, there has been in-depth research dedicated towards establishing the effect of global warming on the planet. Global warming according to experts will continuously and gradually erode the ‘naturalness’ in the world and bring with it catastrophic consequences (Top Canadian, 2012).
About two decades ago, a nonprofit organization was established in the United States to foster a self-regulation in terms of consumption of resources in the hotel industry particularly (Top Canadian, 2012). These resources did not necessarily have the direct effect of reducing costs.
However, the self-regulation by all stakeholders involved would go a long way in reducing wastages and hence curtailing a growing trend in the depletion of the scarce naturally found resources (Buildings, 2012).
Green Hotels Association’s aim was to bring together major hoteliers in the world in a common agenda. The association established some of the most contentious facets of day-today hotel operations that touched on resource probity. Green Hotels Association came up with a Catalog of Environmental Products for the Lodging Industry that enumerated some of the best ways to have a sustainable way of using resources.
This association was the pioneer institution to instill environmental sense in the hotel industry (Top Canadian, 2012). Others that came later formed their basis of operation on the foundation of Green Hotels Association. They include the Four Seasons’ 10 Million Trees Initiative, Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative among others (Top Canadian, 2012).
Most of these initiatives are organized and managed by members. The members environmental good will ambassadors who also find it important to jump into the bandwagon of environmental conservation (Singer, 2012).
Examples of Practices of Greening
Greening of Hotels is an all round initiative whose noble aim is to ensure that the naturally found resources are preserved and conserved for future usage. Although greening may appear as a fashion charade by hoteliers and others, it is an effort towards saving the planet and the players need to take it seriously. The following are some of the ways in which greening is been applied to the hotel industry (Singer, 2012).
The hotels have made a sustained effort to urge its guests to embrace the concept of reusing some of the materials in the hotel. These include linens, towels, and sheets. This way the cost involved in replacing these materials is reduced radically. Although this is not forced, the hoteliers have developed a way in which they let the customers inform them if they are okay non-replacements on particular days.
The performance of the hotel industry is very difficult to measure and define because it is a fragmented and dynamic economic sector in the world. Travel, change of place, and voyages help to instill vigor to people’s minds and thus enable them to be more effective, reliable, healthy, and economically productive. Besides bringing delight to people, tourism activities generate revenue to major stakeholders in the industry.
Most of the exotic tourist centers charge fees for visits, accommodation, food, refreshments, and recreational activities undertaken by tourists. As a noble occupation and an industry of private and public interests, revenue generated from tourism continues to be a key contributor to economic development of most global economies.
Domestic and international tourism boost economic efficiency, socio-cultural equity, environmental conservation, and development. In addition, it leads to creation of national and international reputation, environmental conservation, safety, and equity in society, and encourage economic development of complementary industries such as recreation and hospitality (Buildings, 2012).
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In this area, unnecessary costs may also be meted. In an effort to ensure that they have value for money, customers engage in frantic spending. This spills down the path of misuse and may be deemed unnecessary at times. Hoteliers having realized this and in an effort to salvage the environment and cut costs have continuously instilled upon the clients to practice probity.
This includes using the necessary amounts of water and ensuring all water taps are closed. The other area is ensuring that customers do not waste food by ordering the correct amounts (Top Canadian, 2012). Saving also extends to electricity usage.
In this area, hoteliers have made efforts to install energy saving bulbs. In the same breadth, hoteliers have instructed their visitors to turn off unnecessary lighting while visiting their premises. This culture has gone a long way to ensure that energy is saved (Top Canadian, 2012).
Shift towards Green Products
The hotel industry is quickly shifting towards perceivably or factually green products. For instance, hotels are shifting towards using cleaning detergents with non-toxic ingredients and thus environmentally friendly. The water and laundry machines are been replaced with models that save detergents and water at the same time.
Third, the hoteliers are affecting the psychology of visitors by providing them with walking maps and bicycle riding route maps. This way, visitors feel the urge to walk and do not consume fuel and the potential of releasing hazardous fumes to the environment is hugely curtailed (Pittaway, Carmouche & Chell, 1998).
The hotels have also improved their lighting and radically changed some procedures. It is also crucial to note that the hotels are urging clients to use stairs instead of lifts.
Hoteliers are increasing coming up with innovative solutions to the problem of global warming. It is common to find tinted glasses in some of the renowned hotels across the world. This is especially true in Canada. This is meant to provide heating and to ensure that electricity is not used for that purpose.
This is also coupled with solar water heating systems that go a long way in curtailing electricity use within the guest rooms (Top Canadian, 2012). The other innovative product that ensures that electricity is not necessarily used is installations of energy thermostats and air conditioning regulators. These are necessary to reduce unnecessary energy consumption in rooms and to ensure there is self-regulation in energy use (Singer, 2012).
It is paramount to ensure that every staff member is aware of the organizational effort to go green. This effort should emanate from the top and spiral downwards to the rest of the organization. To ensure this is the case so that the effort to go green is successful, there should be a sustained educational effort towards employees.
This effort is meant to ensure that all staff members contribute towards making the organization green (Top Canadian, 2012). The nongovernmental organizations with a need to ensure that going green is a reality have come up with training manual for staff members (Top Canadian, 2012). They have also detailed areas of interest where the organizations should concentrate their effort in making this a reality.
This is the biggest and most profound effort an organization engages in regarding the need to go green. Some of the innovations and procedural shifts require the employees to change their ways of operations and thinking radically. It also requires a psychological shift to ensure this is a success (Singer, 2012).
However, it is critical to note that each organization will have a specific approach to the concept of greening. Hence, a two-way approach requires both organizational and standard approach to be successful in implementation.
The hotel industry is shifting its business to suppliers and players with a sense for environment. This is because governments, clients and other stakeholders are stressing this noble idea. Hence, an hotelier that chooses to disregard it is at peril of losing future business. This is creating a spiraling effect the world over with companies in developing countries quickly following suit albeit at a slower pace (Top Canadian, 2012).
It is crucial to remember that the world is interconnected with the integration of internet. Businesses are striving to bring together and manage interconnected supply chains and other business functions. With this in mind, failure to adhere to emergent business practices spells doom for a business (Top Canadian, 2012). This has resulted in growth of green hotels. This discussion is illustrated by the industry comparisons below.
GSK’s Corporate Social Responsibility
GSK’s vision is to help the less privileged members of the society. In 2009, it announced plans to cut drug prices in at least 50 of the poorest nations, invest part of its profits from the undeveloped nations in improving medical infrastructure, and encourage new drug development in those nations.
During the same period, the company acquired an Argentine pharmaceuticals company Laboratories Phoenix. This centre specializes in the development and sales of generic products.
GSK has outstanding Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. According to the company’s CEO, GSK plans to get rid of a disease that has been afflicting humanity for centuries. Hence, the company plans to donate Albendazole drugs, as much as needed. GSK has been short-listed for the Worldaware Award.
It received this award because of its efforts to eradicate malaria in Kenya. Apart from this achievement, UK Corporate Citizenship Index ranked the company as a leading donator in 2006 (Our Mission and Strategy, n. d.). GSK, notably, endeavors to give back part of its profits to the society.
Toyota’s Corporate Social Responsibility
CSR obligation surpasses what the law requires a firm to do. It is the responsibility an organization takes upon itself to better the social lives of both the workforce and society. Currently, this is a worldwide trend.
This is because of the pressure from society and governments for organizations to feel more responsible for the sources of their resources. The members of society are also more sophisticated than sometime back. The competitive environment is also cutthroat with more companies joining the framework.
Corporate Social Responsibility at Toyota has greatly affected society in different areas of life. Among the greatest beneficiaries is the environment. Toyota has taken up the challenge of conserving the environment, as it is becoming a necessity for the whole of the business fraternity in the world to engage in environmental conservation activities.
Consequently, the world’s society is gaining from Toyota’s efforts, for instance increase in rainfall around the world, reduced global warming etc. The company is producing environmentally friendly cars such as Prius and actively engaging environmental conservation efforts at the corporate level such as planting trees.
Significance of Greening Hotels
Greening of hotels has numerous advantages. However, some of the advantages, as experts and stakeholders argue, are not immediately realizable. In fact, the threats of global warming are yet to have the full scientific verification to be construed as real.
However, everyone is aware of the fact that the resources used in the hotel industry are majorly natural resources. It is important to be aware of the fact that natural resources are depleted. It is this cardinal knowledge that leads environmentalists on the path of sustenance (Buildings, 2012).
One of the reasons for engaging in the effort to go green in the hotel industry is energy saving. Energy is one of the most expensive resources globally. Of the amount of energy produced, a significantly small part of the world has access to energy.
It is also one of the most controversial resources globally. Sometimes, it results in wars un-matched carnage. Therefore is it paramount to save the least possible amount of energy to feel as if you are playing a part in the global effort towards conservation.
The second most important and significant reason for engaging in greening is saving costs. Hotels are dogged by rising costs of energy and other inputs such as water and toiletries. Earlier in the paper, the author mentioned a shift toward bringing some sanity in the costs regime in hotels.
Certain efforts are paying off well. For example the shift towards ensuring that guests do not misuse their toiletries, the need for recycling of some of the resources such as towels and linens, the culture of innovation that brings solutions to pertinent areas of consumption among others (Stipanuk, 2006).
The tourism industry is very broad and dynamic. The major groups in it include travel and tour guide services, the transport and communication sector, recreation sector, and the food and beverage line of business.
Professionals in the tourism industry include tour guides, game rangers, hotel managers, tourism ambassadors, receptionists, drivers, pilots, front desk agents, room attendants, housekeepers, concierges, sales and marketing professionals, accounting officers, chefs and cooks, hosts and hostess, bar attendants, food and beverage servers, caterers, heritage interpreters, taxi drivers, and travel counselors among others.
Unlike in the past where the role of tourism industry professionals was restricted to their specific line of duty, information revolution and challenges that face the industry have compelled professionals in the industry to employ dynamic and very creative operational tactics.
As a result, proper and timely planning is a critical role of the tourism industry professionals. To enhance the philosophical aspects of tourism and a sense of refreshment and nourishment, professionals in the tourism industry should plan well and be willing to offer the best possible services to their clients (Stipanuk, 2006).
Constant research, creation of innovative tourism programs and establishment of new trends in the tourism industry is a major component of the tourism industry. Ideally, this role should be undertaken by top-level managers in the industry and other independent researchers with the aim of enhancing customer experience through a renewed level of creativity and innovativeness.
This role also entails keeping track of analytics and metrics that clearly outline the position of tourism sales agencies, marketing, and management strategies. These professionals have a huge role of portraying a positive image for the industry and boosting a rich customer experience.
The professionals have a duty to share information, train customers, offer security, and collect and disseminate information to the clients in a timely, cost effective, and user-friendly manner (Fortune & Schole, 2007).
As a professional in the tourism industry, I would work towards ensuring that I boost domestic tourism. I would work towards ensuring that both in-bound and out-bound tourism activities are focused on ensuring strategic measures are formulated to enhance a greater level of efficiency and cost effectiveness.
I hope to achieve this focus by inducing a paradigm shift and rejecting the common perception of the limited role of tourism (Fortune & Schole, 2007).
I hope to achieve a number of objectives as a manager in the tourism industry. To begin with, I intend to revamp the industry and steer it to greater levels of economic development. This would be achieved by focusing on research because of my understanding that research is critical to the growth and development of the tourism industry.
Since travel continues to have a negative impact on environment, I shall work with like-minded professionals in order to discover more eco-friendly means of traveling. As a result, I hope to employ the concept of geo-tourism and space tourism, which would in turn revamp the slow rate of overseas travel.
Through the formulation and implementation of modernized tourism policies, I would endeavor to ensure that most tourism processes are computerized. This would ensure that a greater level of efficiency and progress is achieved (Fortune & Schole, 2007).
To ensure ease of communication, I will integrate all relevant social media platforms into my organization’s communication system to ensure that clients are not restricted to using a specific mode of communication. I would also undertake to enhance a rich sense of customer experience.
Because of the likely shift in the tourism landscape, I hope to achieve a full integration of various artificial, virtual, and manufactured tourist attraction assets. I would also streamline the decision-making processes in the tourism industry by lobbying for a lean management decision-making structure (Stipanuk, 2006).
Rather than undertaking market campaigns, I would encourage my team to support domestic tourism by devising online and road show marketing campaign platforms. Above all, as a professional in tourism and through foresight and constant planning, I would hope to lead by example by ensuring that my team of employees and I live fulfilling lives and prepare ourselves to more challenging management tasks in future.
To achieve this, I would conduct training programs that encourage cross-functional networking, employee exchange programs, and seminars (Fortune & Schole, 2007).
Going green is quickly gaining traction in various parts of the world. In the emerging markets, the concept is still quite nascent and organizations feel financially obligated to perform this function. Normally, the organizations hinge this with corporate social responsibility.
However, it is crucial to understand that going green does not increase budgets. Rather, in the long term, going green has a tremendous positive effect on the bottom line (Top Canadian, 2012). The concept, which has been around for close to three decades now has seen improved innovations aimed at greening.
In the hotel industry, the concept is quite robust with immense innovations that cut across energy conservation, consumer probity, hotelier involvement, and overall checks. While it is crucial to understand the financial aspect of this noble effort, it is also paramount to look at the positives.
The concept of greening is quickly being emblazoned in the minds of consumers and so it will be hard for any hotel chain to attract clients if it plays by same old game of flagrant disregard for the environment. The hotel industry is just a player in a global effort that is directed at ensuring that the next generations do not find a depleted world in terms of resources (Top Canadian, 2012).
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Fortune, F. & Schole M. (2007). A Journal of Leisure Studies and Recreation Education. MERLOT/Journal of Online Learning & Teaching, 2(1): 1-7.
Pittaway, L., Carmouche, R. & Chell, E. (1998). The Way Forward: Leadership Research in the Hospitality Industry. Hospitality Management, 17(1): 407-426.
Singer, M. (2012). Staying Green: Hotels Step Up Their Sustainability Initiatives. Web.
Stipanuk, D. (2006). Hospitality Facilities Management and Design. Lansing, Michigan: Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.
Top Canadian. (2012). What is a Green Hotel? Web.