All small accommodation providers have a responsibility to be environmentally conscious.
After all, your inn is part of the local community, and you should be invested in the growth and success of your destination!
However, unlike the big hotel chains, you have limited dollars to spend. Here are wikiHow’s easy-to-implement ways to reduce your carbon footprint at your small hotel, bed and breakfast, inn or guesthouse.
It’s easy to lose track of how much water you use at your inn. To conserve water,
- Use ‘linen cards’ to ask guests to consider using their linens more than once. This will ensure that you don’t wash sheets and towels that are still clean.
- Use your dishwasher and washing machine only for full loads.
- When washing dishes by hand, don’t leave the water running for rinsing.
- Put in plants that consume less water.
- Water your garden only when necessary.
Energy consumption can be very costly in the long run. To conserve energy,
- Switch to LED lighting where possible – it has the lowest carbon footprint, lasts longer, and is safer because it doesn’t contain mercury.
- Use sensor-activated lighting for areas that aren’t used frequently.
- Use daylight in your common areas for as much of the day as possible.
- Make sure all your appliances are ‘energy star’ rated.
- It might be good to have a card system installed (‘lights out’ cards) so that guests have to put their room key in for the electricity to work. This ensures that when they aren’t in the room, the electricity isn’t left on. In the long run, it can save you heaps in electricity bills.
Buy green products
While the previous methods of ‘going green’ are a bit more difficult to implement, nothing is stopping you from being more mindful of the kinds of products you buy.
Make sure that everything from your bedding to your office stationary to your food is locally sourced, cruelty-free, and environmentally sustainable.
- Use refillable bottles for hair care and skin products.
- Use cloth napkins instead of paper towels.
- Use glass cups instead of plastic cups.
- Use ceramic dishes instead of plastic dishes.
- Use chemical-free cleaning products.
- Use recycled paper products (unbleached paper, or paper that is bleached using a chlorine-free process).
Avoid using disposable products where possible.
Besides having recycling bins in your common areas and guest rooms, you can donate leftover food, amenities, furniture, and appliances to local charities.
Try to reduce the amount of paper you use in general. For example, you can use an electronic reservation system instead of a physical diary, and send guests electronic invoices instead of printing them out each time.
Promote the eco-friendliness of your inn
Sustainable tourism is not just about saving money and reducing carbon emissions. It’s part of a much greater philosophy that includes improving the local economy and preserving cultural heritage.
This is why having a ‘green’ inn appeals to such a large segment of the market. In fact, Phocuswright reports that over 40% of travelers consider the environment when making travel choices, and a third will pay top dollar for eco friendly options.
In all of your marketing materials – whether it be brochures, your website, or your listings on third party distribution sites – communicate how you help preserve the environment. If you are on TripAdvisor, you can participate in the GreenLeaders program that they offer.