Sustainability Trends in Today's Hospitality Industry: Exploring the Latest Developments

25 Apr 2023

The hospitality industry has become an integral part of the global economy with an estimated worth of over $4.5 trillion USD in 2022 (approx. £3.6 trillion GBP). According to Zippia, there are around 187,000 hotels and an estimated 17.5 million guest rooms around the world...

However, over the last decade or so, the industry has been undergoing great change and the practice of environmental sustainability (which focuses on reducing carbon emissions, reducing energy consumption, and adopting green technologies), social sustainability (focusing on promoting diversity and inclusion, reducing poverty, and supporting local communities), and economic sustainability (which focuses on reducing waste, increasing efficiency, and improving profitability).

Sustainability has become essential to the future of the industry.

In this article we’ll talk about the sustainability trends in the hospitality industry, the challenges and opportunities, and how hotels are trying to be sustainable in 2023. 

Sustainability trends in the hospitality industry 2023

As we’ve mentioned, the hospitality industry is constantly evolving and the need to adopt sustainable practices is becoming more critical. This presents a number of challenges alongside many opportunities.

The challenges of implementing sustainable hospitality practices

The hospitality industry faces several challenges in adopting sustainable practices with one of the main challenges simply being the costs of implementation. Adopting green technologies and implementing sustainability programs can be expensive, especially for small businesses. 

Another challenge is the lack of awareness and understanding of sustainable practices. Many hotels do not fully understand the benefits of turning to sustainable practices and may not know how to implement them effectively. This is where a clear strategy for every aspect of the business is important.

The opportunities for implementing sustainability practices in hospitality

There are also several opportunities for the hospitality industry in adopting sustainable practices. 

Customers pay more for services that align with their values

As a rapidly growing group of people care more and more about sustainability, those in the hospitality industry with a record of sustainability and that implement sustainable practices, will stand out and be desirable to those that care about the world around them. 

According to an article by the University of Central Florida, an overwhelming majority of millennials and Generation Zers will pay more for products and services that don’t harm the environment, deplete natural resources, or negatively affect the lives of people or wildlife - and this includes the hospitality industry.

Today’s travellers, restaurant patrons, hotel bookers and cafe punters care about sustainability and they want to know that the companies they give their hard earned money to, follow environmentally, socially and culturally sound practices.

Improving efficiency and reducing costs 

Another opportunity that presents itself to the hospitality industry is reducing long-term costs and improving efficiency.  

The hospitality industry has a significant impact on water usage, making it essential for hotels and restaurants to implement sustainable practices to reduce their water consumption. Establishing a water management plan and minimising water usage from laundry services are some of the ways hotels can reduce their water usage.

According to the UK's Environment Agency, hotels can potentially decrease the amount of water consumed per guest per night by up to 50%. Reducing water usage not only helps hotels save money but also demonstrates their commitment to sustainability, which can appeal to environmentally conscious guests.

Reducing energy consumption

Reducing energy consumption is another crucial opportunity for those in the hospitality industry that adopt sustainable practices. Implementing energy efficiency practices, such as lighting upgrades in guest rooms, can significantly reduce energy expenditures. Additionally, according to the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, some low-cost actions, such as replacing light bulbs with LEDs, can have a short payback period and lead to reduced energy consumption. 

Reducing waste

The generation of waste is another significant environmental issue in the hospitality industry. Implementing a recycling program can lower waste removal costs and reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills. Responsible waste management practices can help hotels reduce their environmental impact.

Although sustainable practices may require initial spending, the long-term benefits of energy efficiency and waste reduction can lead to significant cost savings

How are hotels trying to be sustainable?

As we can see, there are many benefits and opportunities for heading in a sustainable direction for the hospitality industry — particularly for hotels. 

Hotels are adopting a number of sustainable practices to reduce their environmental impact and increase their efficiencies. Sustainability is here to stay, and one of the ways hotels are trying to be sustainable is by adopting green technologies, such as utilising solar power and installing energy-efficient appliances such as TVs, dishwashers, fridges, and other small appliances as well as eco-friendly toiletries and bedding.

Another way in which hotels are trying to become more sustainable is by implementing recycling programs and reducing the use of single-use plastics. 

Supporting local communities and partnering with local businesses and organisations to promote local culture is another way that can improve sustainability for a hotel as well as supporting the local economy.

How is Havwoods helping hotels achieve their sustainability strategy?

Let’s take a look at some ways hotels are implementing their sustainability strategy and how Havwoods have helped them on their journey.

Crystalbrook Kingsley Hotel, Newcastle, Australia

Previously an old council office, the Crystalbrook Kingsley Hotel opened in June 2021 as the first 5-star hotel in Newcastle, Australia. The 130-room luxury hotel was worked on by EJE Architecture and Suede Design alongside Havwoods to meet their specific design brief. 

Havwoods wood flooring products feature proudly in both the restaurant and the hotel rooms of the Crystalbrook Kingsley Hotel. 

As sustainability and the environment become more and more important, we continuously turn to traditional materials to provide luxury, quality, craftsmanship and endurance to the spaces we create — such as our sustainably-certified engineered wood flooring. Havwoods engineered timber boards can be utilised as internal flooring or cladding and are perfect to add style and character to any hospitality project.

The Crystalbrook Kingsley Hotel project has since won multiple awards including Hotel of the Year (Conversion) and Paul Davis Award from The 2022 Australasia-Pacific Hotel Design Awards and Award for Commercial Architecture, as well as Interior Architecture from the Australian Institute of Architects Newcastle Chapter.

The Eliza Jane Hotel, New Orleans, USA

Situated between the French Quarter and the New Orleans CBD, the Eliza Jane Hotel is part of Hyatt’s Unbound Collection.

The Eliza Jane Hotel was once a printing house and bitters factory, and has now been beautifully transformed into a luxurious retreat that blends centuries-old history with impeccable style. 

The renovation of The Eliza Jane Hotel incorporated FSC Certified Granne Rustic. This choice of wood adds to the hotel's luxurious feel. The use of FSC Certified wood promotes responsible forest management, ensuring that the wood is sourced sustainably. Choosing FSC Certified wood was a deliberate choice to align with the broader goals of the hotel to create an eco-friendly, yet luxurious, establishment.

Sustainability in the hospitality industry is here to stay

Many consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious and are looking for hotels and hospitality venues that share their values. Adopting sustainable practices can help businesses in the hospitality industry to attract environmentally conscious guests and improve their overall guest experience. 

With the right leadership, those in the hospitality industry can adopt sustainable business strategies to improve their efficiency and attract the growing number of environmentally-aware customers. 

Whether it’s a large international hotel chain, or an independent boutique hotel, chat with our dedicated Havwoods Hotel Flooring Team who can offer you the wood flooring expertise to help you create spaces that are luxurious, sustainable, and provide the level of craftsmanship to make your project truly stand out.