Recently, and because of the campaign #BailaporelMar by the NGO Canarias Libres de Plasticos, we were asked “What can we do on our day to day to be more sustainable?”. And it really got us thinking on how complicated it is sometimes to be sustainable being a touristic lodging. Hospitality industry has several traditional operational behaviors that make it behave as anything but sustainable, from amenities to the intensive use of paper or cleaning products. So here are some baby steps for hoteliers to begin being more sustainable. The beauty of it is that you can actually save some money, too!

Don't change towels daily

As hosts and hoteliers, we are used to changing towels every single day. Personally, not long ago, I tried unsuccesfully to make them understand that I was willing to keep my once-used towel for the next day.

The benefits of this change are obvious:

  1. Less water and electricity consumption.
  2. Less detergent use and polution.
  3. More life span to your towels.
  4. Costs saving.

And how do we make or guests understand or cooperate? Easy, you can put a brief sign where it explains that if they wish for the towels to be changed, they can just throw them in the shower floor. Also, let your guests know this is because of a sustainable behavior, they will surely understand. If you think this might be a stretch for your guests, maybe add a small incentive there: Donate the amount saved to an environmental NGO.

Ditch the traditional "amenities"

Tiny jars of soap, shower gel, hand cream... We love to see them in our hotel rooms, it's a symbol of status, and the more expensive-looking, the better. But in the end they are still what we want to avoid: an unnecessary daily use of plastic containers that, because of their size, are not recycled and end up in a plastic landfill (best-case-scenario).

What is the alternative?

Bulk products, in reusable dispensers in bathrooms or in unpackaged or paper packaging formats. There are several options to choose from. At Room Mate Hotels they have designed exclusive ceramic containers that they fill in with creams, gels, etc. We offer dispensers located in showers and washbasins. Others may opt for more artisan versions, with handicrafted soaps.

What about toothbrushes, combs or shower caps? These can be supplied on request.

Use ecologic cleaning products

Your usual cleaning product supplier probably has environmentally friendly cleaning products as well. The cost is slightly higher, but so are the benefits for the environment. This can be supplemented with steam cleaning systems (vaporetto) for stubborn stains or dirt.

Once we start working on our sustainability and get out of our comfort zone, it will be easier to realise what and how we need to change in our daily lives.

Most importantly, communicate to your guests the efforts you are making to be sustainable, they will appreciate your efforts and be sympathetic to the “inconveniences” that may arise.