With guests becoming more conscious, the hospitality industry has moved quickly from its old ways of adopting eco-friendly operational strategies. However, choosing a genuinely green stay can be challenging. It is not unusual to find yourself confused in the face of big claims and jargon splattered everywhere without the backing of any real data. It is challenging to discern if the information presented is, in fact, valid or not. But all that should not stop you from enjoying a sustainable holiday. To help you choose your next stay without compromising your wish to do good for the planet, we have listed all the things you must look out for.
Check Their Certifications
It's important to know that not all hotels claiming to be eco-friendly live up to the title. That's why it's crucial to check their certifications.
Eco-friendly accommodations are committed to reducing their environmental impact, whether it's through reducing energy and water use, supporting sustainable tourism practices, or serving organic food. But how do you know if a hotel is truly doing its part? Look for certifications from independent regulatory bodies, like LEED, EnergyStar, BREEAM, and WELL Building Standard. Till now, India has 73 hotels already certified by LEED.
Check How They Manage Waste
One key aspect of a sustainable property is the management of food waste. Ask if they compost their food scraps, and if so, where they do it. Composting is a great way to reduce waste and create nutrient-rich soil that can be used to grow new plants and flowers.
Another important consideration is recycling. Inquire about their recycling measures, and find out what materials they recycle. Do they have separate bins for paper, plastic, and glass? Do they use recycled materials in their products and amenities?
The most critical area to examine is their plastic policy. We all know plastic waste's devastating impact on the environment, so it's vital to understand how the property deals with it. Ask about their approach to reducing plastic waste and whether they have implemented measures such as plastic-free alternatives or recycling programs.
Check If They Empower The Local Community
When looking for a place to stay, it's important to consider whether the property is positively impacting the local community.
One way to gauge this is by checking if the hotel channels its profits into the community. This could mean supporting local businesses and suppliers, investing in infrastructure projects, or donating to charities that benefit the area.
Another way to assess a property's community involvement is by looking for evidence of community programs. Find out if they have healthcare or skill development centres set up for the local community, if they organize clean-up or afforestation drives to improve the surrounding environment, or if they prioritize hiring staff from the local area.
Some properties even offer eco-voluntourism packages for those looking to take their community involvement a step further. These packages allow guests to participate in sustainability-focused volunteer projects during their stay, giving back to the local community and experiencing the area's natural beauty.
Check If They Are Energy-Efficient
Most sustainable hotels use energy resources wisely or find sustainable sources. While selecting your stay of choice, ensure you check their energy-efficient practices, such as installing solar panels for sourcing power and using LEDs or low-energy bulbs. These simple but impactful measures can drastically reduce a hotel's energy consumption. You must also enquire about how they conserve water–whether they harvest rainwater or repurpose grey water.
Check Their Sustainability Report
As travellers have become more invested in ensuring their holidays are eco-friendly, most hotels have also started assessing their environmental impact to present the guests with reliable data. Therefore, it is common to find hotels collating a sustainability report documenting their strategies, initiatives and future plans. It is a great way to gain insight into how the hotel you have shortlisted for your stay has been working towards becoming sustainable. Keep an eye out for sections that lay out details about their carbon offset programmes, energy consumption, waste management efforts, etc.
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