Sustainability In A Health-Conscious Landscape
The accommodation industry across Australia is still feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and with many interstate borders still closed and international travel far on the horizon, many hoteliers are looking for ways to be productive during this tourism lull. A common trend is hotel owners taking this time to refresh their rooms and communal spaces or undertake refurbishments while occupancy rates are low. Others are preparing their staff for a new way of operating in a more health conscious world, because in a post COVID-19 world guests’ priorities may look a little different, and this is something that hoteliers should be taking into consideration.
Travelers will likely be prioritising health and wellbeing above all else and will be looking closely at how accommodation providers are tackling this before booking. Although research suggests that guests do not want to see this incorporated at the cost of sustainability. Hoteliers will need to find a balance between addressing the health concerns of their guests with their desire to see properties adapt to more environmentally conscious processes. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the focus over the last few months, however as things return to normal the looming threat of climate change will return as a high priority for consumers.
While taking into consideration how social distancing requirements and increased hygiene standards will impact hotel processes, one thing that is made clear is the additional strain it will put on resources. Limiting the number of people that can travel in lifts, increasing the frequency and depth of room cleaning, and changes surrounding the use of shared facilities will all dramatically change the behind the scenes of hotel operations. With impacts ranging from increased energy consumption, higher use of single-use products and more generous staffing to assist with these new measures, accommodation providers must consider ways to offset the financial impact of these changes.
So despite the fact it may seem difficult for hoteliers to balance sustainability within our new health-conscious landscape, the reality is that these changes can be implemented in a collaborative sense. The savings that properties can achieve by installing energy efficient lightbulbs and air-conditioning can offset the cost of increased lift usage, changing to ecologically conscious cleaning products can mitigate the environmental impact of more frequent cleaning, and higher staff levels are an opportunity to provide a more enriching guest experience.
We urge accommodation providers to see these changes as a positive chance to revamp the way their property operates. Whilst in the past sustainability initiatives have been viewed as a necessary but costly undertaking, there is now an opportunity to find synergy between environmental consciousness and the health concerns of consumers. Both of these issues are important to guests and incorporating sustainable practices into new hygiene and social distancing processes is a simple way to meet the expectations of guests in a post-pandemic landscape while addressing consumer concerns around climate change.