How will you answer when your children or grandchildren ask what you did to save the world?
Being in the hospitality industry for 20 years now, first as a hotel employee and now as a frequent guest and technology provider, I can conclude many things have changed. I’ve stayed in hundreds of hotels across a majority of big brands and have recently seen more and more initiatives to “go green.”
At the beginning, there was the sticker on the bathroom mirror asking guests to reuse their towels. Imagine all the chemicals, water, electricity, fuel for laundry transportation and other resources that have been saved over the past several years as a result of this energy-efficient initiative—I don’t have numbers, but they must be significant. Related to this effort, I’ve stayed in several hotels where instead of putting a bathrobe in each closet, you can request one if you really need it.
The next step saw hotels banning bathroom amenities and providing soap and lotion dispensers instead. I personally really enjoyed the small bottles of soap, shampoo and conditioner, but let’s face it—they’re a total waste.
The global mindset on conservation and sustainability seems to have changed overnight. The millennials and zoomers—or Gen Z or iGen or whatever we’ll call post-millennials—are more critical and focused on contributing to a better, cleaner world. There have never been more vegetarians and vegans, for instance, than there are today. Biological and regional food is trending as people want to know where their food comes from and how it was produced. Why would you buy apples from New Zealand if you live in Germany? Support your local apple farmers!
The markets have reacted. They’ve heard the voice of the consumer and are offering new alternatives. Yes, some of these products might also be more profitable, but shoppers have shown they are willing to pay more for eco-friendly alternatives—and make sacrifices as well. More and more people have chosen not to own a car but use ridesharing, public transport, or a bike instead.
Some specialty hotels now have beehives on their roofs and offer guests fresh honey at breakfast (or in their cocktails at happy hour). Other properties have designed living walls which have been proven to improve air quality and reduce energy costs. From adding solar panels to including more natural light and repurposed-wood key cards to recycled-paper hangers—the list goes on and on of hotels making a concerted effort.
At this moment, we’re experiencing a major cultural shift. A teenage girl from Sweden has been hugely successful in bringing a greater sense of urgency and awareness of the situation with her FridaysForFuture movement. Greta Thunberg has met with leaders around the world to protest against the lack of action on the climate crisis. It is time for change. I, too, want my children to see how great our planet is! So, what else can we do now?
At IDeaS, this rising concern for our planet’s well-being has found its way into our innovations and best practices for science-based pricing and forecasting. We’re, of course, very aware of the impact demand-based forecasting can have on your day-to-day business. And yes, we primarily use forecasting for profit optimization, but you can also use it toward greater operational efficiencies and to better optimize the use of space and resources at your hotel.
If demand is low, you can close floors or wings and switch off the air-conditioning to save energy, and housekeeping can save time and materials by cleaning less floors when you close them. The hotel chef can leverage forecasts to make the grocery list and reduce food waste. And I could go on and on.
With these initiatives, we can contribute, too. Besides saving energy and resources, this is also saving money and will help increase your bottom line. So, in 30 years from now, I can tell my children and grandchildren that I helped hotels to forecast green and make the world a little better.
Curious to learn how you can optimize your forecast? Learn more at IDeaS.com.