For a while, hotel operators focused intensely on reducing single-use plastics. Travelers, eyes open to the devastating impact of plastic trash on oceans and beaches, demanded more sustainable options. Governments imposed restrictions on plastics, including the EU’s ban on certain single-use plastic items and California’s ban on small plastic toiletry bottles (New York has since followed suit).
The COVID-19 pandemic paused these efforts, but also forced a shift in thinking. While plastic use remains a problem, climate change has been thrust into the forefront — and for hospitality professionals, addressing it is no longer optional.
The Cornell University School of Hotel Administration recently hosted a roundtable, “Sustainability in the Hospitality Industry: Challenges and Opportunities,” with some leaders in the field. Here are some key takeaways.
sustainability in hospitality,
sustainability in the hospitality industry
Hotels in the United States and elsewhere in the world must now work to attract those guests who are considering a return to travel, says Taimur Khan, who is Vice President and GM, Global Transportation, Travel and Hospitality Solutions Team for Salesforce.
“For this next cohort that has never traveled in the last seven, eight months, their health and safety is going to be paramount. They have to be made comfortable,” Khan advised in a recent roundtable discussion sponsored by the Cornell School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University.
Making guests comfortable: It’s what hoteliers do best, but it’s also an enormous challenge in the age of COVID-19. Hamilton Beach Commercial analyzes the roundtable experts’ recommendations for hotel cleanliness and communications, and offers a few of our own.
The coffee urn is an unsung hero. It’s people’s first stop at the hotel breakfast bar, the conference catering table and the early-morning meeting. You plug it in, turn it on and it does its thing — day after day and week after week. No one ever really pays attention to it… until something goes awry.
How can you fix problems with your commercial coffee urn? And how do you know if you should upgrade to a newer, shinier model? Here are four signs to look for.
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A bad cup of hotel coffee will mess up your whole morning.
You turn on the in-room coffee maker, desperate for some caffeine to prepare you for the long day ahead. To your dismay, you find your cup filled with a liquid that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike coffee (to paraphrase Douglas Adams).
It’s watery. It’s weak. All you can do is grimace and drink it, or put on some pants and stumble down to the lobby to find something stronger.
Don’t inflict this on your guests! Hamilton Beach Commercial®’s (HBC) hotel coffee makers are designed to maximize coffee extraction for a more satisfying cup — and more satisfied guests. Here’s how we do it.
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We’re a little weary of the word “curated.” Maybe you are, too. But hotel guests have come to appreciate — even expect — a thoughtfully personalized experience when they stay at a finer hotel.
Hotels have deployed all kinds of tech to meet this demand, including guestroom AI (like Alexa for Hospitality), apps to control room preferences, and the Internet of Things. But guests want more — especially when they stay in luxury hotels, says Wouter Geerts, a travel industry consultant for Euromonitor International: “The understanding of what luxury is has totally changed. We live in a very individualistic world, but people are seeking ways to be part of something.”
Here are three ways that hotels around the world are shaping the guest experience to be more personal, more memorable and more transformative than ever.
Hip London-based hostel brand Generator recently announced that it doesn’t want to be a hostel company anymore. “The moment we call ourselves ‘hostel,’ it limits us in certain markets,” Generator CEO Alastair Thomann said.
So is Generator a hotel company now? No. Instead, it will simply be called “Generator.” More than a hotel branding quirk, the change reflects the widespread convergence in the hospitality industry, Thomann said, in which hostels are becoming more like boutique hotels (aka poshtels) and boutique hotels are offering dorm-style accommodations. These experiments in community-driven, non-traditional hospitality also enable hotel companies to better compete with Airbnb and its cousins.
So, when is a hotel not a hotel? Let’s look at some ways hospitality companies are bending their brands.
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“Alexa*, close the blinds.”
“Alexa, what time does the gym open?”
“Alexa, can I get some more towels?”
Soon, dialing "0" for the front desk will be an artifact of the past. The latest trend in hotel tech is artificial intelligence for guest rooms: conversational AI systems that can handle guests’ common questions and requests. This innovation is about to go mainstream, as Amazon’s Alexa for Hospitality is being tested at select Marriott, Westin, St. Regis, Aloft, and Autograph Collection hotels (including the Charlotte Marriott City Center, the hotel innovation incubator we’ve featured.) How does this system work, and what are the benefits of adopting it?
Alexa for hospitality,
Hotel artificial intelligence,
Starbucks is getting rid of plastic straws. McDonald’s, too. But what about the hospitality industry?
Hotel chains, cruise lines and tour companies have lagged behind in efforts to eliminate plastic straws and other single-use plastics. But that’s changing, as major players like Marriott and Royal Caribbean are seeking out new ways to phase out these environmental hazards. Practically speaking, how difficult is it to make this change? And does it really make a difference?
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The future looks rosy for the hospitality industry. Growth forecasts continue to be strong. Tourism numbers are booming worldwide. And as travel becomes easier, swifter and more reliant on technology, hotels are striving to keep pace.
“What’s happened over the last three to five years, and what we expect over the next two or three, are unlike what we’ve seen in this industry before,” Heather Balsley, SVP of global marketing mainstream brands for InterContinental Hotels Group, said at the 2018 Hunter Hotels Conference. Here’s a look at some hospitality trends that promise to reshape the industry.
In some ways, travel has never been easier. You can breeze through expedited security. You can rapidly research every place you plan to visit. And you can use your phone as room key, translator and guide.
Yet travel has become even more stressful as people try to navigate a tumultuous and fast-changing globe. Skift calls this the State of Permanxiety: “a near-constant state of anxiety that exists now around the world.”
Some hotels take a Zen approach to helping travelers relax: aromatherapy, guided meditations, even offering bags of lavender from a lobby cart at bedtime. These little touches are appreciated, but there are also some practical ways to relieve guests’ travel stress.