Ask Anthony: How Has the Sustainability Movement Impacted Hotels?

Anthony Melchiorri, hotel fixer and host of Travel Channel’s Hotel Impossible, loves dishing out advice. From sharing best practices to tackling operational issues, he’s here to answer your questions. Got a question? 
Send it to AskAnthony@lodgingmagazine.com.


How has the sustainability movement impacted hotels?

It was a while ago now that hotels began putting up signs in the bathrooms letting guests know that they could hang used towels up if they were willing to use them a second time. If the guest needed a replacement, they could simply toss the used towels in the tub. Initially, this practice was implanted to save money. Now, it’s a core process for hotels focused on sustainability.

I have a long history with green initiatives—when I was with Tishman Hotels we worked to make the Westin Times Square the first hotel in New York City to earn a Silver Green Seal certification.

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“Going green” isn’t some corporate gimmick to cut down on housekeeping expenses—our planet is at stake. That’s why there is legislation to reduce single-use plastics, why we’re trading plastic water bottles for paper cartons, and replacing individual-use amenity bottles with bulk dispensers. It’s also why we’re using paper straws and incorporating smart technology to reduce consumption and waste. And hoteliers can expect the pace of eco-driven trends to pick up, becoming the new standard in hotels over the next few years.

Conservation efforts to minimize energy, water, food, and other types of waste, along with the use of locally-based, sustainable products, not only benefits the planet but also helps properties save money and run more efficiently. Farm-to-table culinary options, on-site gardens, and smart technology in guestrooms—like the ones that automatically adjust lights, curtains, temperature, etc.—will help personalize and elevate the guest experience.

The trick is to get ahead of the curve, because the sooner a hotelier embraces going green and implements sustainable practices, the better it is for the planet and the hotel’s bottom line.