While contemplating a follow up to my previous articles about sustainability, I realized that in the past year the world has significantly changed and with it, the way hotels operate.
A good example was my recent stay between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. I took my chances during the holiday break to travel domestically in Australia since we are currently not in the position to travel overseas.
I decided to stay in a familiar all suite apartment hotel. I choose the property for its convenience and amongst other things, on previous visits I recalled a Nespresso machine in the room, for that all important morning pick me up! My first shock was to realise that it was gone, as had so many other things that were previously considered as standard items.
Some months ago, I mentioned how this hotel had six water bottles in each suite, which was not the most environment friendly gesture. During this visit all of the bottles had disappeared, with not a single bottle in sight. Was this an environmentally friendly action or a Covid 19 saving measure? The moral being, be careful what you wish for, I guess…
I also wondered when common sense had left the Housekeeping department, which seems increasing the case in most hotels in my experience. I noticed that a single coffee cup and spoon had been put in the dishwasher and run-on full cycle rather than just washed and dried by hand. I believe a cycle uses 16 litres of water not to mention the electricity, so multiply that by over 200 rooms a day…
Water saving is so important, particularly in some parts of Australia. There are endless little signs displayed advising why bed sheets only get changed every second day, to reuse the towels etc., yet so much water was wasted on cleaning a simple coffee cup.
I wondered when the General Manager or Director of Operations had last stepped out of his/her office. Having been in the industry for 40 years, I could probably have run a dozen ideas past the GM and he/she would have most likely never thought about any of them. Perhaps he/she should spend some time staying as a guest in the property – it might be eye opening…
Sustainability should be mandatory and go beyond removing plastic straws and water bottles, but I suppose that would need a person that understands what sustainability all is about.
A shrewd manager should understand that smart environmental and sustainability practices can also help the bottom line, without noticeably affecting the quality standards.
This visit was also a lesson for me. Next time I travel I need to research my future accommodation and see how much they contribute to sustainability in real terms, not just as a public relations exercise.
About the Author
Karl Faux is a veteran Hotelier and Managing Partner with Elite Search – a leading hospitality recruitment firm.