As a hotelier with extensive international experience, I remember when climate change seemed a distant possibility. Hoteliers started to discuss the “green issue” in the late 80’s after the UN published “Our Common Future” (Bruntland Report), which explained the concept of sustainability as an attempt to create awareness of the disturbing relations between human society and the natural environment.
Here we are thirty years later. Climate change has become the defining predicament of our time but the hotel industry is still hesitant to talk about the issues. Our sector prospered as millions travelled. Travel is the world’s largest and fastest growing industry, so you could argue we have contributed in both a positive and negative way to people and planet.
However, as annual temperatures rise and the impact on our planet becomes more evident, we can no longer afford not to make the environment and social responsibility a business priority. Travellers today expect safer, more responsible, sustainable destinations and accommodations. However, our industry is not really clear about what that truly means.
Today, many hotels are doing excellent work in sustainability and obtain certifications to reflect their growing compliance and legitimacy, but most still hesitate to be visibly transparent with their guests for a host of reasons. Many hotels believe that sustainability is not yet an important issue to today’s traveller. In many cases, they are right, but that is changing and changing fast. Consumers know that too many companies have prospered at the expense of society and nature. In particular, the next generation of travellers and hotel staff are critically aware that there is a direct link between sustainable business, the environment and people’s lives; and there is no hiding in today’s interconnected and interdependent world.
I believe that a more caring and responsible form of hospitality will gain wide support from travellers and can be commercially successful. There will be increased demand from our guests for sustainable choices and greater expectations for hotels, resorts, cruise ships and B&B lodgings to be credibly certified and independently audited.
Sustainability saves money and its good for people, planet and profit. I urge owners and operators in the hospitality industry to move beyond seeing environmental and social challenges as costs, to seeing the potential savings and enormous opportunities to make good things happen.
NOW, a new initiative calling for accountability around sustainability in travel was launched on Earth Day (22 April 2017). Working as a ‘Force for Good’, NOW is forming a global community of consumers who are passionate about travel and want to help tackle the environmental and social challenges facing our planet.
Being a “FORCE FOR GOOD” matters to your guests, your staff, your community, our planet and your profits. Join the NOW Force for Good Alliance to access the NOW Community and get direct bookings without being charged commissions. To raise the bar on accountability and transparency around sustainability, we will launch the NOW Force for Good Alliance in January 2018 and invite inspiring and responsible hotels, resorts, lodges and cruise liners to join so travellers can find and book them direct. They will be listed in the NOW Track & Book traveller tool, a simple and verified traveller tool to track sustainable performance and encourage direct bookings without charging hotels a commission so benefits can be passed on to travellers.
It must be NOW!