At the Independent Hotel Show, Green Key’s International Director participated in a panel discussion about why sustainability is good for the hotel industry.
The Independent Hotel Show is a yearly tourism fair for hotels and other hospitality facilities. For the first time, the event was held in Amsterdam (the Netherlands) and included a session about sustainability in the seminar programme. Finn Bolding Thomsen (Green Key International Director) was invited to participate in a panel discussion about why sustainability is good for the hotel industry.
The panel discussion was led by Marie-Noelle Keijzer from WeForest, and other panelists were Inge van Weert from QO Amsterdam and Marco Lemmers from Conscious Hotel Group. Both hotel groups have a very high focus on sustainability, and all hotels in the Conscious Hotel Group hold the Green Key award.
Finn Bolding Thomsen informed about the Green Key programme and how research (e.g. from Booking.com) shows that travellers are increasingly interested in staying in accommodations that work with sustainability. A number of companies have the requirement in their CSR policy to use sustainable accommodation and conference facilities, and in some countries, public authorities have similar requirements as part of their public purchasing policy.
To the question about whether implementing sustainability is expensive for hotels, Finn Bolding Thomsen highlighted that training and information lead to change in the behaviour of staff and guests and contribute to sustainability without other investments. Change of light bulbs and water saving devices have a cost, but as the price of energy and water is increasing, the return on investment is faster. More sophisticated changes require an investment, and there was a discussion about the possibility to charge guests a slightly higher price as a consequence of the work with sustainability. During the panel discussion, there was also a discussion about how hotels should lead the way in reducing their carbon emission before asking guests to compensate the carbon emission of their stay. The panel discussion was very well attended.