15 Tips for Running a More Sustainable Hotel

Lexi DeMers
Lexi DeMers
08 Nov 2023
A woman using an iPad to check-in to a sustainable hotel.

Updated: 17 Apr 2024

Today, more than ever, travelers are doing their best to curate trips with a low environmental impact. In a 2022 report by Booking.com, 81 percent of global travelers said sustainability is important to them. Further, in the same report, 71 percent of people said they planned to stay in a sustainable hotel at least once that year. 

These figures, in combination with other reports like the 2022 study from Expedia showing up to 90 percent of travelers value sustainability, paint a clear picture. Hotels and other accommodation businesses need to implement sustainable hotel practices to remain competitive. If you want to build a more eco-friendly hotel, check out the tips in this article. We’ll cover simple and more substantial changes you can make to be a more ecological hotel. 

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The Easiest Ways to Create a More Eco-Friendly Hotel 

Creating an eco-friendly hotel isn’t just crucial for attracting guests. Many decision makers across the hospitality industry are realizing that protecting the environment is the only way to ensure the travel sector continues to prosper. Thankfully, there are many easy ways to make your hotel more eco-friendly. Below, we’ll break down 15 ideas for hotels to be more sustainable. 

Cut Down on Paperwork 

One of the simplest ways to run a more sustainable hotel is to eliminate as much physical paperwork as possible. Thankfully, in today’s business world, that can be done easily. Leveraging software programs like booking systems, task managers, and online waivers allows hotels to eliminate paperwork and create less waste. 

Move to More Efficient Lighting 

A key component of sustainable hotel practices is improving efficiency. As such, one of the first steps for hotels looking to go green is upgrading to efficient lighting sources. This may mean switching to LED light bulbs or even using motion sensors for lights around the property. 

Eliminate Single-Use Plastic 

Unfortunately, the travel sector produces a lot of waste. In fact, a dated report by the United Nations Environmental Programme and United Nations World Tourism Organization estimated that tourism produced over 35 million tons of solid waste, and that was over 10 years ago.

If you want to be a more sustainable hotel, a great place to start is eliminating single-use plastic. Things like plastic bags, plastic cutlery, plastic straws, and plastic cups all have more durable and more eco-friendly alternatives you can choose instead.

Reuse Linens

Encouraging guests to reuse linens and towels is a small but impactful step towards sustainability in hotels. It significantly reduces the water and energy consumption associated with daily laundry. With friendly reminders in rooms explaining the environmental benefits of reusing linens, you can suggest that guests request fresh towels only when necessary. This practice, once a rarity, has become increasingly common in eco-conscious accommodations. 

Limit Water Waste

Another way many hotels are going green is by installing low-flow showerheads, faucets, and toilets. These fixtures significantly reduce water usage without compromising guest comfort. You can also cut down on water waste by regularly checking for and promptly repairing any leaks in your hotel. A dripping faucet or a leaking toilet can waste a surprising amount of water over time.

Switch to Eco-Friendly Cleaning Supplies 

Even the most eco-friendly hotels go through a lot of cleaning products. Unfortunately, traditional cleaning supplies contain harsh chemicals and can contribute to excessive plastic waste. However, if you are striving to be a more ecological hotel, you can opt for natural, biodegradable cleaning products instead.

Make an Effort to Shop Local

Whether it’s for decor, furniture, or basic supplies, shopping locally can help you reduce your carbon footprint. This is also one of the sustainable hotel practices that offers an added benefit, as shopping locally can lead you to find unique and interesting items for your accommodation. Not only will you be setting yourself apart visually, but by being eco-conscious, you can also attract more guests. 

Cultivate a Green Team

A crucial part of becoming a more sustainable hotel is getting your team on board. Let your staff know you want to lower your environmental impact and educate them about sustainable hotel practices. With this, you’ll have an entire team that can look out for inefficiencies and think of new ideas for your hotel to improve. 

Compost When Possible

Starting a composting process is an excellent step if you’re interested in sustainable hotel management. This eco-friendly practice transforms kitchen scraps and biodegradable materials into nutrient-rich soil, reducing landfill waste and lowering your carbon footprint. Plus, the soil can then be used to help you grow a lush and healthy landscape. 

Add Some Green to Your Menu  

Another simple idea for hotels to become more ecological is adding vegetarian options to the menu. Plant-based diets have a lower carbon footprint, so having these choices available can help you increase your sustainability as a hotel. To go a step further, you can also adapt your offerings to local and seasonal produce. 

Encourage Guests to Be Eco Conscious 

Fostering an environment where guests are actively involved in sustainable practices can help your hotel have a greater positive impact. Simple measures like providing information on local public transport, promoting reusable water bottles, and offering incentives for guests who participate in eco-friendly initiatives can significantly amplify your hotel's overall environmental efforts.

Provide a Water Refill Station

Installing water refill stations in your hotel makes it easier for travelers to reduce plastic bottle use. This simple yet effective amenity not only minimizes plastic waste but also offers guests the convenience of staying hydrated sustainably throughout their stay. Aside from being an excellent sustainable hotel practice, it also helps create a better guest experience

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Choose Your Materials Wisely 

If you're on the quest to create a sustainable hotel, pay close attention to the materials you select. Opt for eco-friendly options like organic cotton sheets, bamboo towels, and furniture made from reclaimed or sustainably sourced wood. If you switch to greener materials for every room, you can make a significant impact on your accommodation’s footprint. 

Utilize Rainwater

Harnessing rainwater is an excellent strategy for becoming a more ecological hotel. By setting up rainwater collection systems, your hotel can capture and store rainwater for various uses. Saved rainwater can be utilized for things such as landscaping, flushing toilets, and even laundry. 

Create a Greener Gift Shop

True sustainability in hotels is reached through efforts in every part of the property. If your hotel has a gift shop, you can switch out mass-produced, plastic-heavy items for something more ecological. Choosing to offer locally-sourced, eco-friendly products, from organic cotton apparel to artisan-crafted souvenirs, will lower your environmental impact. Further, you can opt for items with minimal packaging or use materials that are recycled or biodegradable.

Other Great Ways to Build a More Ecological Hotel

A women looking at a bunch of kale in a hotel garden.Harvesting produce from your own garden is one of the many ways you can be a more sustainable hotel. 

The process of becoming a fully sustainable hotel can be a long road. At times, it can also require more substantial investments than just changing a light bulb or a faucet. However, bigger changes can also have a bigger impact on a hotel's effort to be more green. If you're committed to being an eco-friendly hotel, these ideas can help you get to the next level. 

  • Switch to solar panels. Solar panels significantly reduce energy costs and your overall carbon footprint, making them an excellent investment for aspiring ecological hotels. In addition, it also aligns you with the growing demand for environmentally responsible travel options.

  • Use electric vehicles. Utilizing electric vehicles for guest transportation showcases a commitment to reducing emissions. It provides an eco-friendly, quiet, and modern travel experience, which enhances your hotel's reputation.

  • Grow your own food. Cultivating a hotel garden to grow your own food not only ensures fresh produce for your guests but also significantly reduces your emissions related to food transport and packaging. This farm-to-table approach adds an authentic charm to the dining experience and makes you stand out as a sustainable hotel.

  • Upgrade to greener appliances. Switching to energy-efficient appliances is a key step in sustainable hotel management. These greener options consume less power, reduce operational costs, and minimize environmental impact.

How to Implement These Sustainable Hotel Practices

If you are starting your journey to becoming a sustainable hotel, it can be hard to know exactly where to start. At times, the long road to sustainability can even feel overwhelming. However, the most important step to take when trying to become an eco-friendly hotel is the first step. 

Take a thorough look at your operations and see where you can make immediate changes. Can you install motion sensors instead of leaving lights on all night? Can you start using an online check-in system rather than printing out papers for guests to sign? You can start small, and every little step helps you become a more ecological hotel. 

How Bookinglayer Can Help You Improve Your Hotel 

Bookinglayer helps you do bookings better. We offer dynamic booking and hotel management software that empowers you to save time, reduce errors, and provide a better guest experience. With our four core software components, Advanced Features, and a wide range of third-party integrations, we offer everything needed to run a thriving hotel. 

On top of that, we are also passionate about protecting the environment and have made a pledge through 1% for the Planet to support impactful causes each year. We also offer a 5 percent discount on all Bookinglayer plans for fellow members of 1% for the Planet. 

If you'd like to learn more about how Bookinglayer can help enhance your business, you can schedule a personalized demo with our team. We'll take a look at your operations together and discuss how our tools could help streamline your business.

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Sustainable Hotel FAQs

What is a sustainable hotel?

A sustainable hotel is a hotel that makes efforts to minimize its environmental impact. These efforts can include anything from using biological cleaning products to installing solar panels, as there are many different degrees of hotel sustainability. 

How to be sustainable in the hotel industry?

There are many ways to be sustainable in the hotel industry, like installing motion lights, collecting rainwater, switching to eco-friendly cleaning products, and more. Some of the best sustainability practices in the hotel industry also include cutting back on laundry and getting rid of single-use plastics. 

Why do people like staying at a sustainable hotel?

People like staying at sustainable hotels because it helps them mitigate their carbon footprint while traveling. The travel industry is a significant contributor to global pollution. As such, many conscious travelers like to choose greener options when possible. 

Why are hotels going green?

Some hotels are going green out of concern for the environment, and other hotels are going green because the market demands it. More and more travelers are favoring eco-friendly hotels over less sustainable options. And according to reports from top performers in the travel industry, this preference is only growing. 

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