Environmental protection and sustainability have long been part of the jargon of the hotel industry here in Germany. These topics are also becoming increasingly important in individual hotels. But why? Firstly, because more and more awareness of our environment is being created and this is also changing travel and the tourism industry. In addition, more and more potential guests are not only guided by the stars or the facilities, but also by the green image of a hotel. Thus, this criterion is becoming more and more important when choosing accommodation for your own vacation.
But how do you get this small hotel revolution rolling and where is the best place to start? We have collected some tips on how you can bring more sustainability to your hotel in no time.
1. Save water
With just three small tricks you can save water in the hotel, thus conserve resources and also do something good for your wallet:
1. The first tip concerns the laundry service: towels and bed linen from your guests do not necessarily have to be washed every day. A sign in the hotel room, which gives instructions for the laundry service and points out your environmental friendliness, is usually sufficient. It is often the case in hotels that when a towel is to be washed, it is placed on the floor. If the towel can still be used, it should just hang on. Otherwise you can also buy a basket for the bathroom in which the dirty laundry is collected.
2. There are also water-saving shower heads or shower heads that can save you more than 50% water. Although you have to pay a few euros more for the smart shower head, you will be rewarded with the low water consumption and reduced hot water preparation. As you can see, two simple tricks to reduce water consumption in your hotel and save money at the same time.
3. Water can also be saved at the hotel bar: stop the water in between, run the dishwasher in eco mode or get a steel regulator, you can find more information here .
2. Sustainable packaging & waste
Waste prevention is an important part of your journey to becoming more sustainable in hospitality. Keep your eyes open and see what alternatives and plastic-free variants there are. For example, food can be kept fresh with reusable films such as beeswax paper or silicone covers. You can transport your bread from the bakery in bread bags or even your own baskets. Instead of plastic bags, jute bags or fabric nets can be used for fruit and vegetables. Plastic-free alternatives for your culinary area, such as drinking straws without plastic or sundaes made from corn, also help you avoid waste or switch to biodegradable products.
It is important to switch step by step and not to put yourself under pressure, because the path to the "zero waste" lifestyle is ongoing and a long-term process, especially in the hospitality industry. If you need more inspiration on avoiding plastic specifically in the packaging sector, we have it here collected some tips for you.
separate waste properly
Of course there will be rubbish from time to time. Then it is particularly important to separate the waste properly. If you are not sure whether the receipt should go in the residual waste or the coffee filter in the organic waste, you can Check out our overview of proper waste separation here .
Suppose you offer a buffet in your hotel. Then you can nicely point out that everyone should only take as much as they can really consume. Emphasize that you care about the environment and the avoidance of waste and that you hope for the support of your guests.
If there is anything left over from your food offer, you can either pass on the remaining delicacies via sharing offers such as "Foodsharing" or "Too good to go" or offer it to other outsiders and those in need. You should dispose of the small amount of food leftovers by your guests properly: An additional container for leftovers is a good idea here. The accumulation of leftovers can be properly disposed of and even converted to "green" energy by biogas plants.
3. Switch to environmentally friendly materials
Sheets, towels, soap, shower gel, shampoo – There are environmentally friendly products for all these things. The bed linen and towels can be made from organic materials such as cotton and (half) linen, or even made from recycled fabrics. This has less to do with plastic recycling or landfills and more to do with reusing and refurbishing high quality fabrics.
In terms of shower and care products, there is now also a large selection of fairly produced products that are natural and contain plant-based substances such as mint, sea buckthorn or lemon balm. The sustainability or organic aspect is often also communicated on the product packaging, so that your guests are immediately made aware of your environmental awareness.
There are also clever products such as the "Stop the water while using me" series, which is intended to remind people to stop using water while showering or brushing their teeth. Such instructions or stickers will certainly look great in your hotel room and motivate you to get involved in green activities.
In addition, some hotels offer small packages with cotton swabs, nail files, etc. Unfortunately, these are often packed in plastic and thrown away without being used. At this point, unnecessary individual packaging can be saved by offering plastic-free packages. Another idea would be to only provide the products on demand.
4. Sustainable purchasing
Buy local groceries
Quality is convincing, especially in the kitchen. Try to work with regional products and create new exciting creations. That doesn't mean that there only has to be typical German potatoes with sauerkraut, because our area has much more to offer. Get creative and be inspired by products from your local suppliers. Asparagus and wild garlic salad or a zucchini and mushroom pan are dishes that are locally produced and could become part of your menu.
You can also see which foods are in season and thus use the best quality of the products and at the same time think about the environmental impact. Seasonal products have shorter production routes and are often less treated. More and more people appreciate the regional connection to their food and focus on sustainable tourism.
Create local cooperation
Cooperations are also possible, for example with the farm around the corner or your favorite bakery in the neighboring town. Surely they will be happy to win a new regular customer and at the same time accommodate you in terms of price. You can also work with organizations that help those in need, such as the local food bank. If you then have too much food, you know directly where you can take it to do good and support your fellow human beings.
5. Green lighting and green electricity
Converting the lighting is quickly done:
- Replace normal light bulbs with energy-saving bulbs or switch to LED lights
- Find out about green electricity and choose a suitable provider
- Set up timers
Three simple ways to quickly reduce energy consumption and increase the lifespan of devices.
In modern hotels there is a smart link between the electronic components in the room and the room card. The light, the cooling and the sockets are only activated when the card is inserted. When you leave the room, these points switch off automatically and no energy is wasted unnecessarily. This aspect not only has a positive effect on the environment, but also on your budget.
Tip: By 2022, energy advice for small and medium-sized companies in Germany will be funded at 80%. So if you need help or can't decide on the electricity provider, for example, just look for an advice center for energy and electricity in your area and let their expertise support you in your green hotel revolution.
6. Involve employees
You should not only convey your environmental awareness to your guests, but also to your employees in particular. Ultimately, they are the executives that drive this process forward and convey your green vision of the hotel to guests. Show your staff both how important sustainability is in general and what benefits this change brings for your hotel and your employees. For example, this includes the reduced effort involved in washing or the lower factory and maintenance work.
In addition, an opportunity should be created for employees to contribute their own ideas for the green hotel revolution. Please also have a look at our article on " New Work" in the hospitality industry on. Many people are also privately interested in topics such as sustainability, food waste, environmental protection and can provide suitable food for thought and share their knowledge. Appreciation and motivation are two important factors that should not be forgotten in everyday life and are strengthened by this involvement.
If you are interested, there are also sustainability courses from various providers who offer inspiration for the various work areas such as service, kitchen, equipment, reception.
The green hotel revolution is worth it!
As we can see, the path to becoming a sustainable hotel is not that difficult. Many small changes can get the green revolution rolling. Sustainability does not mean "expensive", but in most cases you can even save money in the long term. In addition, you do not stand out from the crowd and meet newly emerging criteria for the choice of accommodation.
Look around at platforms that list German "organic hotels" or hotels with a focus on sustainability. These include, for example, “Green Pearls” or “BookitGreen”. It certainly doesn't hurt to write to the platforms and refer to your environmentally friendly commitment. In the best case, you will be added to the list of sustainable hotels. In this way, you attract guests right from the start who appreciate your investment in sustainable alternatives and recommend them to their communities.
In summary, it can be said: The green hotel revolution is definitely worth it! We wish you every success with this guide to more sustainability in hospitality!