Mr. Nijhawan

Eco-Friendly Practices

Reducing Your Environmental Impact

By Sanjay Nijhawan, COO, Guoman Hotels (UK)

Over the last few years we have seen a significant increase in awareness and concern regarding the environmental impact of business. It is impossible to pick up a newspaper or magazine, or watch television, without being reminded of global warming. We are bombarded with data regarding climate change, green-house emissions and pollution, and a heated scientific debate rages in public regarding the future impact of our current lifestyle and activities What everyone can agree on is that protecting our environment for future generations is our responsibility.

Every business has a social responsibility to consider its environmental impact, and take reasonable steps to mitigate it. As part of the wider travel industry, hoteliers need to be even more sensitive to their role in this area, and ensure that they take the lead in reducing their environmental impact. The current economic climate may deter some from focusing on this area, under the misconception it will be expensive, or that it is not of core importance to their business. In fact the majority of initiatives will actually reduce costs through consumption savings, so the challenging trading conditions we all face should provide a stimulus to launch environmental plans rather than a deterrent.

Throughout this article I have also deliberately focused on low-cost initiatives that can be easily implemented - in fact a lot of the steps are common-sense, which simply require focus to deliver. It is also important to remember that customers - both large business clients and individual guests - are increasingly expecting a proactive environmental policy as standard. To be able to demonstrate this is important in retaining your position and competitive advantage. Can you afford not to offer this? In this article I have therefore highlighted a number of simple steps we can all take to reduce our carbon footprint, providing tangible environmental benefits without the need for costly developments or radical changes in how we run our businesses. Encourage and empower your team

The first key step in implementing an effective environmental policy is to win the hearts and minds of all team-members to the significance of reducing your environmental impact. Employees can have the most immediate impact, via simple changes in their behaviour - imagine the reduction in energy consumption if several thousand employees focus on simple steps such as turning off lights and equipment on standby when not required - and equally without their buy-in any initiatives will have limited success. At Guoman Hotels we have empowered our teams to drive environmentally-friendly schemes in their hotels, with a Green Committee sitting every month, whilst each General Manager has environmental targets to aim for. We have also introduced internal awards to recognise contributions from our team members. Any team member can make suggestions to reduce our environmental impact, which are then reviewed by the Green Committee, with the relevant team-member recognised for all ideas that are implemented. We also run a competition for Green Champion of the Year, and Green Team of the year, to encourage healthy competition between the hotels in our group and maintain interest. Identify your targets

Having ensured team participation, the next step is to identify the areas to target with environmental initiatives. At Guoman Hotels we identified the following key areas:

  • Recycling

  • Energy Consumption

  • Electricity

  • Gas

  • Water consumption

Recycling

Set targets for the volume of waste you want to recycle, and encourage employees to segregate waste into different sections - employee buy-in is vital in implementing recycling effectively. Providing compactors at each hotel for cardboard and waste is a good investment, as it reduces the number of collections and so reduces road miles and the resulting carbon emissions. In the long-term this investment also provides a cost saving. At Guoman Hotels we have doubled the percentage of waste that we recycle over the last 12 months, significantly reducing the amount that goes to landfill.

Energy Consumption

Energy consumption is the largest environmental impact of our business and so it is important to actively explore appropriate, any initiative that could reduce your energy consumption.

Electricity

There are a number of initiatives that can help support a reduction in electricity consumption without any impact on the guest experience. Install low-energy light bulbs across all areas of your hotel(s), and ensure that these are included in the designs for new rooms. Card-operated master controls prevent electricity being wasted when guests are out of their rooms, and can be cost-effectively added to rooms and incorporated in refurbishments and new builds. Even if you cannot afford to install such a system in the short-term (bear in mind it should prove self-funding within a year, and be a cost saving in subsequent years) simple actions such as ensuring housekeeping turn off televisions in bedrooms will lead to a significant reduction in electricity being wasted whilst machines sit on stand-by. There are also systems that help reduce consumption back of house. At Guoman Hotels we have installed motion sensors for lighting back of house to ensure efficiencies. Voltage regulators on all main plant machinery, and motor controls on all pumps and air-conditioning systems, have provided additional efficiencies and are self-funding in a short period of time.

Gas

In the hospitality industry the average efficiency of hotel boilers is less than 80%, which leads to significant wastage. Automated boiler controls are a new technology that helps to improve the efficiency of boilers and reduce this wastage. Again the efficiencies and cost savings such techniques offer mean that they are self-funding within a short period of time.

Water

Society often overlooks that water is a scarce resource - particularly on a rainy day in London! However this is another area where significant efficiencies can be obtained, benefiting the environment and helping cost management. The first step is to conduct a Leak Audit, to check that water is not being wasted through broken or old pipes. Having addressed any leakage issues, consumption can be reduced by using specially-designed taps and shower-heads that do not impact on the guest experience. Throughout Guoman we have introduced water-efficient showerheads, and aerators on sink taps, reducing the flow and usage of water without impacting on the pressure or guest experience.

A green focus in all our business actions

In addition to their own actions, hotels can also drive for reductions in environmental impact through their relationships, and by responsible purchasing. It is a simple step to ensure that all your suppliers are aware of your environmental goals and have their own environmental policies in place. Such an approach helps to drive awareness of the issue into different sectors. Equally wherever practical hotels should purchase products made from renewable and ethically sound sources, encouraging suppliers to focus on their own sourcing and production stages.

With extensive experience oin working for some of the biggest brands in the business, including Hilton, Holiday Inn, Marriott and Forte, Sanjay Nijhawan has been in the hospitality industry for over 17 years. Mr. Nijhawan joined Thistle Hotels in 2004 as general manager for The Tower in central London. Earlier this year Mr. Nijhawan was promoted to Chief Operating Officer of Guoman Hotels (UK) overseeing the development of a collection of six international deluxe properties in central London. Mr. Nijhawan graduated from Thames Valley University in 1992 with a degree in hotel management. Mr. Nijhawan can be contacted at 0870 333 9280 or Sanjay.nijhawan@guoman.co.uk Extended Bio...

HotelExecutive.com retains the copyright to the articles published in the Hotel Business Review. Articles cannot be republished without prior written consent by HotelExecutive.com.

Receive our daily newsletter with the latest breaking news and hotel management best practices.
Hotel Business Review on Facebook
RESOURCE CENTER - SEARCH ARCHIVES
General Search:

MARCH: Human Resources: Inspiring a Journey of Success

Cara Silletto

Ever wonder what planet your new hires are from? For most, it is called Millennialland. It is my homeland, and it is a whole different world than where Boomers and GenXers were born. So why are your younger workers from this strange land so hard to understand, manage and retain? Why is it that they lack the loyalty of those who came before them? Why do they need so much handholding in the workplace? And where does this tremendous sense of entitlement come from? Allow me to explain. READ MORE

Nicole Price

You’re just being politically correct! In America, being politically correct has taken a new meaning and now has a negative connotation. But why? Definitions can help identify the reason. The definition of political correctness is “the avoidance, often considered as taken to extremes, of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially discriminated against.” In simple terms, political correctness is going to the extreme to avoid insulting socially disadvantaged groups. What could be wrong with that? The issue is not them or the term, it’s us! READ MORE

Kimberly Abel-Lanier

Engaging and retaining talented, trained workers is a critical component of success for any business in any sector. When employees are disengaged or turnover is high, organizations face challenges of subpar customer service, high costs, and human resource inefficiencies. Gallup estimates rampant disengagement among employees costs American businesses between $450 billion and $550 billion per year. High turnover also carries exorbitant costs to organizations, averaging approximately 1.5x an employee’s salary for replacement. In the hospitality sector, delivery of impactful customer experiences is strongly connected to employee engagement and satisfaction. Happy, engaged employees can make happy, loyal customers. Currently; however, the hospitality sector suffers higher than average employee turnover. READ MORE

Michael Warech

So where will we find the next generation of leaders in the hospitality industry? Like their counterparts in other business sectors, this question remains top-of-mind for those responsible for finding, managing, and developing the talent needed to ensure the vitality of their organizations. While, arguably, not as glamorous as a new guest amenity or as important as a cost-saving innovation, there is nothing more critical than talent to succeed in an increasingly competitive and challenging global business environment. Leveraging the best strategies and tactics related to talent management, succession planning, workforce planning, training and leadership development are, quite possibly, a company’s most critical work. READ MORE

Coming Up In The April Online Hotel Business Review




Feature Focus
Guest Service: The Personalized Experience
In the not-too-distant future, when guests arrive at a hotel, they will check themselves in using a kiosk in the lobby, by- passing a stop at the front desk. When they call room service to order food, it will be from a hotel mobile tablet, practically eliminating any contact with friendly service people. Though these inevitable developments will likely result in delivered to their door by a robot. When they visit a restaurant, their orders will be placed and the bill will be paid some staff reduction, there is a silver lining – all the remaining hotel staff can be laser-focused on providing guests with the best possible service available. And for most guests, that means being the beneficiary of a personalized experience from the hotel. According to a recent Yahoo survey, 78 percent of hotel guests expressed a desire for some kind of personalization. They are seeking services that not only make them feel welcomed, but valued, and cause them to feel good about themselves. Hotels must strive to establish an emotional bond with their guests, the kind of bond that creates guest loyalty and brings them back time and again. But providing personalized service is more than knowing your guests by name. It’s leaving a bottle of wine in the room of a couple celebrating their anniversary, or knowing which guest enjoys having a fresh cup of coffee brought to their room as part of a wake-up call. It’s the small, thoughtful, personal gestures that matter most and produce the greatest effect. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.