How Technology Is Aiding Hotels In Providing A Sustainable Experience
Some industries could save over $900 million within 5 years by switching to sustainable technologies – so why should the hotel industry be any different?
Green technologies are revolutionizing the user experience and providing huge cost savings in the hospitality industry. So, how can you use technology to make your hotel greener?
Keep reading as we explore exciting technologies, like cloud-based tech, that can make your hotel run smoother while reducing the environmental impact of your hospitality operations.
Saying Goodbye To Keycards And Fobs
When we think of hotels, we think of checking in and getting a little keycard to enter your room.
This is part of the hotel’s access control system that helps to keep guests’ rooms safe and secure, preventing intruders from getting in while allowing cleaning staff to enter as needed.
Hotel staff also have keycards or fobs to enter staff-only areas containing sensitive company information and assets, which should be protected with hotel security.
However, the issue with using a keycard and fob system relates to cost and sustainability. These keycards are often lost and require replacement, and the company must fund these replacements. Not only does this increase waste within the hotel industry, but it can rack up a pretty significant cost over time.
The solution? Many hotels are saying goodbye to keycard and fob systems and switching to mobile access control systems. A mobile access control system is cloud-based, allowing staff to remotely operate door locks using an app or cloud-based control center.
And more importantly, it allows guests to download access credentials to their mobile devices. They can store their room key on their phone like they would with their debit and credit cards. Switching to this system provides numerous benefits, such as:
- No replacements – your guests are far less likely to lose their phones than a keycard. When you implement digital access keys, you don’t need to worry about the replacement cost, and you won’t waste as many broken or faulty cards.
- Automated check-in – with digital keycards, you can completely automate the check-in process, offering round-the-clock check-ins for guests arriving late in the evening. They can simply fill out the registration form and download their keycard – no manual intervention is required!
- Contactless entry – your guests won’t need to withdraw their mobiles to enter their rooms. They can enter by waving their hand over the access reader. This will trigger remote communication with their mobile devices via BlueTooth to unlock the door. They can get into their rooms quickly and won’t need to rummage in their bags!
- Open API integrations – to enable automated visitor check-in and COVID screening, you can implement wellness verification and visitor management software. Since cloud-based access control offers available API integrations, expanding the function of your security system becomes simple.
Modern access control solutions don’t just provide more convenience for hotels; they also offer greener ways of managing visitor access and streamlining guest check-in processes – allowing you to offer more accommodating service.
Smart Building Management
Opting for a cloud-based security system can make your building management systems smarter, greener, and more cost-efficient.
How much energy do you think hotels waste heating and lighting rooms that aren’t occupied?
Smart building management integrates your access control security system with building management systems. This allows you to base building management actions on access control events.
For instance, when a guest uses their digital keycard to enter a space – whether it be the hotel’s gym, spa amenities, cafe, or their rooms – this will trigger the AC, heating, and lighting systems in that space to switch on. When they leave, these systems will automatically switch off to conserve energy. Access control can even be integrated in elevators and outside the hotel in parking lots too.
With such a simple integration, you can make drastic energy savings, ensuring your hotel isn’t wasting resources on unoccupied spaces. And, you won’t need to ask your staff to manually switch off lights and systems, which would waste their time and attention.
Food Waste Management
Hotels often provide buffets and extensive food offerings for their guests to ensure a pleasant stay. But, providing too many options or too much food can quickly lead to excessive food waste. Food waste tracking allows hotels to manage their food waste for more sustainable practices, ensuring guests’ comfort does not come at the expense of the environment.
How does this technology work?
Hotel kitchen staff can use a cloud-based kitchen scale to weigh food waste in their bins. The scale will automatically collect this data and create a file so that the data can easily be retrieved to assess the level of food waste. You can also gather which foods are being wasted the most frequently, allowing you to offer your guests more relevant dishes.
From there, you can plan your meals more stringently, ensuring you’re not overserving your guests. By implementing this strategy, you can lower your food budget while reducing your landfill contribution.
By switching to LED lighting units, hotels can lower the energy required to light their buildings. But, in recent years, hotels have adopted LED lighting with sensors. This way, the brightness of the light directly correlates with the existing light level in the room, ensuring that the artificial light source isn’t overworked, contributing to increased energy bills.
The best way to drive innovation within an industry is to gain insight from employees at all levels. Managerial staff and hotel headquarters staff will have limited knowledge of what it’s like to operate the hotel from the perspective of maids, reception, and kitchen staff.
A key trend in the hotel industry is the provision of cloud-based communication platforms that provide a forum for staff. Staff from all levels can provide contributions, suggestions, and ideas on how the hotels can create more sustainable practices.
They will have first-hand knowledge of where waste is coming from and could have apt suggestions on how to reduce this waste.
By providing more room for discussion and hearing voices from all facets of the business, hotels can create a more cohesive and evidence-based plan for greener practices.
Greener Hiring Processes
Since the pandemic, many businesses have explored tools and technologies that allow them to work remotely. Hotels can leverage these tools to make the hiring process more sustainable.
For instance, they might consider using video communication tools like Zoom or Google Meets to arrange interviews rather than asking candidates to visit the location in person. This allows the candidate to perform the interview at their own convenience and reduces travel emissions for greener hiring.
Hotels can also use hiring platforms to provide training resources, onboarding information, and CV collection without using hard copies. This will lower paper waste while making information more accessible for new hires, interviewees, and hiring managers.
Encouraging Green Transport Methods
Hotels can take more accountability for how guests travel to different locations during their stay. By providing green transport options for guests, they can facilitate more independent travel and exploration without taxi costs or carbon emissions. For instance, you might provide the following green transport support features:
- Electric vehicle charging – providing vehicle charging points makes your hotel more accommodating for electric car drivers, allowing them to use greener transport methods during their stay.
- Electric scooters and bikes – hotels can provide fully charged electric scooters and bikes for their guests, allowing them to quickly travel and explore their surroundings without relying on taxis, which can be expensive.
Evaluating Plastic Waste
Plastic is one of the most complex materials to recycle and can only be recycled several times before quality degradation occurs. Hotels striving to be more sustainable should review their consumption of single-use plastics like water bottles, plastic cups, toothbrushes, and hotel room staples.
By reviewing purchase orders and using waste management software integrated with supply chain management tools, hotels can view just how much they contribute to plastic waste on a monthly or even yearly basis.
With this information in mind, they can begin calculating the cost and waste benefits of switching to more sustainable bottled water, wooden toothbrushes, and recyclable single-use items.
Many companies are now recognizing the need for single-use water bottles and providing more sustainable boxed water packaging to mitigate the effects on the environment.
Smart Irrigation Systems
Hotels provide luxurious landscaping to make their grounds more attractive and attract guests. However watering these gardens can prove detrimental to your hotel’s sustainability and monthly overheads.
The best solution to this problem is implementing smart irrigation systems that use water sparingly while keeping your landscaping lush, green, and hydrated.
It monitors the soil’s hydration levels, as well as plant health, to ensure your garden is always hydrated without producing runoff. Runoff water from your landscaping can increase the need to clean walkways and pavements and can produce health and safety risks to guests, as the surfaces will become more slippery.
Smart irrigation systems ensure you’re watering your landscaping the perfect amount, with a more mindful approach to how you use water at your hotel.
If your hotel is located in a warm or tropical climate, you’ll likely be spending a hefty sum on air conditioning to keep inside conditions perfect for your guests. But you’ll rely more on your air conditioning without providing adequate shading for your windows and glass doors.
Many hotels are switching to windows with built-in and automated shading mechanisms. This way, there’s no need to manually close blinds, and the level of shading adjusts to the level of sunlight exposure.
With automated shading, the windows have blinds built into the glass. They have sensors that detect the level of sunlight exposure and adjust the blind coverage to keep internal conditions cool.
During the construction process for any new hotel properties, you should weigh the cost advantages of automated shading over time.
Automated Repairs Monitoring
Many hotels are now investing in building management systems that provide automated alerts via an app for repairs. If your building management systems are faulty, they’ll also be inefficient. To ensure your systems are working at optimal capacity and reduce energy waste, consider investing in automated repairs monitoring that will alert you to any necessary repairs.
How sustainable is your hotel? While making small changes can help, implementing cloud-based tools and technologies can seriously enhance your efforts to go green. Consider which technologies would provide the most ROI and lower your carbon footprint. Staying aware of the tools at your disposal saves you from making redundant manual efforts, which could easily be automated with the right tech.