As a Green Roof specialist who has posted articles on the importance of the environmental sustainability, now I would like to draw your attention to something different: the hotel sustainability.

The phrase “hotel sustainability” has become more known in the past ten-twenty years, and become somehow trendy, in a way "sexy", but also much needed for those properties that would like to stay on top in terms of numbers. Being a leader, not only by manipulating the online customer-feedback applications, but by really taking actions that are with long term vision and focused in to the Future and the Nature!

In now days, everyone wants to be number 1 and that is quite normal: to be well-acknowledged, to be well-accepted, but above all to be the most profitable in his competition set.

One question we all have to answer is – is it all about the money?

Some of you may not agree with me, but in general it is not – at least not concerning the money you spent on investments.

It is all about what you do and who will follow you. When you as an entrepreneur or owner have focused on the future, the environment and the nature – you will get more and more followers à more and more repeating guests à more and more revenue à bigger profit. (Most likely by penetrating bigger market share as well).

At the end it is all about the money… but about the money you make and not really the money you invest or spent.

It is more valuable and long-term pay-back investment to create awareness and become a pioneer who others will follow, rather than to invest in “bricks” and “un-needed facilities”.

One of the very first initiatives, in the field of hotel sustainability for me was Responsible Business at the Radisson Blu Grand Hotel in Sofia, where I worked for over 5 years. Great initiative that was further developed and become part of the Green Key Global.

There are different environmental programs in which an owner or hotel establishment, if not already affiliated with hotel chain (hotel chains usually administrate the social policies through their headquarters) can apply and become member. Some of them are:

Environmental Certification programs in hospitality: Green Key Global – (GKG), Green Globe International, Sustainable Tourism Eco-Certification Program (STEP), Green Star Hotel, Ecotel managed by HVS and others.
Green Building Certification Programs: LEED – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, governed in USA, Green Globes, Building Research Establishments (BRE) and others.
It is not easy to convince one hotelier that he needs to apply and become a member or to implement the above listed standards and requirements. They really need to be given facts that can direct them towards such decision. The majority of them invest money, because they simply have them now and want to have them as return on investment as soon as possible.

One of the reasons that can be used to gain a confidence in the investors is cost saving. Cost saving aims to do cost reduction on existing or future expenses. If there are activities, like waste recycling (separation and reduction of the waste) or deducted water consumption which stimulates the guests / customers to use less water and to separate the garbage – this usually safe money on utilities, moreover also creates awareness and culture. At the end customers prefers to stay in such hotels.

On the other hand, governments are also trying to take part by giving different financial benefits to properties that have implemented environmental sustainability procedures, as they have to distribute money on “saving the nature policies”.

Last but not least, it creates a better image. If your hotel is part of such practices it gives a superior position towards the competitors and the market in general.

The solution is in the hands of the people who have the money: the owners / investors of hotels or the top managers who are the decision makers on behalf of them.

It is really needed to provide as much as possible information on the benefits and the importance in long term return on invest (ROI) when one hotel implements the above practices and policies, so that more and more hotels / properties become parts of hotel sustainability philosophy / concept.

The more we talk about this – the better the results will be.

For the nature, but also for us in general.