Boutique Hotels Go Green
If you’re going to stand out as a boutique hotel, you have to do things differently from your corporate competition.
There’s no reason to be like those other hotels. You know, the big corporate chains that offer a bit less for a bit more? Your boutique hotel offers special amenities that the big guys just don’t provide—namely, an experience that showcases exactly what a boutique hotel is.
A lot of the big corporate hotels advertise what they’re doing to make themselves stand out from every other hotel. But it’s all the same story. It’s within this void where boutique hotels shine—your hotel is actually different. Your efforts to provide unique and delightful experiences are apparent. However, the challenges a boutique hotel faces are also a bit different, and your costs cannot be as easily absorbed as the bigger chains.
Offering the perfect balance between value and unique experiences to your guests is a continual challenge. Saving resources (like water) and money in the most effective ways possible, and streamlining efforts in every area of hotel management and operations are not options. They are essential keys to your success.
Green efforts have become popular not just with public opinion, but within the business world as well—seeing as the main goal of every business is to maximize profits while reducing expenses. The hospitality industry is no exception. Again, this is where your boutique concept shines—your efforts are truly thought out and executed in a way that isn’t as… shall we say, insincere as the corporate efforts tend to be.
Stand Apart from Big Hotel Chains
If you’re going to stand out as a boutique hotel, you have to do things differently from your corporate competition. While they can ask their guests to reduce their impact on using energy and resources, you will need to do more than that to have a real impact on your profit margin.
Information is the key here, and it’s all about the approach. While the big guys try to save money by leaving everything in their guests’ hands, you have the opportunity to encourage your guests to stay with you because your efforts go above and beyond. The fact that your guests are choosing to stay at your boutique hotel instead of one of the corporate hotels suggests that they’re looking for a different, more intimate experience while travelling.
You want to educate your guests in a way that’s not overwhelming, but instead…inspiring. Rather than making your guests feel like they have to change their habits while staying with you to save the earth, build your green practices into every facet of your hotel and educate your guests on all your efforts. Do this right and you’ll inspire your guests to do their part in conservation, rather than asking or expecting them to do it alone.
And, of course, you want to encourage them to participate. The big guys have it right— easily visible informational signs are a great reminder. But this is also a great way to engage your guests differently. Post and offer information in key locations around your hotel, encouraging guests to actively participate in conservational efforts.
Inspire Your Guests
Inspiration is strategic—it involves elements of passion, education and an honest effort. You have to believe in what you’re doing if you’re going to be passionate about it. And if you’re passionate about it, you’ll want to talk about it. And if you speak with passion, you’ll inspire others. This is a relatively simple recipe, but it isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do, either.
Find Your Passion
Let your passion for a sustainable boutique hotel radiate from everything your hotel is and stands for. Chances are, if you’re operating a boutique hotel, you’re already passionate about providing a unique and memorable experience for your guests. But the reality is that you’re also running a business and you must be successful to continue to do so. So you’ll need to be passionate about more than just your guests’ experiences.
You have to be passionate about making money… and well, of course you are. Saving money is the same as making it. You can’t charge higher rates than everyone around you and expect people to stay just because your rooms are nicer, or your food is better. Just like your bottom line, every guest has their own.
By including information about how your efforts in sustainable green practices can go even further with the help of your guests, you’ll be able to simultaneously educate, encourage, and show your guests how much money could be saved. For example, a sign next to the washroom sink may read:
- LESS WATER USED BY YOU, MEANS MORE MONEY IN YOUR POCKETS!
- (Include an engaging fact, such as: “By turning off the faucet when brushing your teeth, and using less water to wash your hands, you can save 1 gallon of water/minute.”)
- WE SAVE 1000s of gallons of water a month because of these [fill in the blank].
- (For example: equipment upgrades, ENERGY STAR® appliances, etc.)
- The money we save with YOUR HELP is donated to local green efforts: [fill in the blank]. [$X] donated so far this year.
- (List the amount and the charitable contributions you donate to, such as local water purity efforts.)
This template is simple and to the point. It offers information for your guests to learn more about your efforts, and your passion quickly becomes apparent. Instead of handing them a bunch of information about your efforts when they check-in (which most will promptly ignore), you’re instead able to help educate and inspire them with a riff on “guerilla advertising.”
Keep it short and sweet. That’s the recipe for success.
Do It And Believe It
There are plenty of sustainable and green practices that you can get involved in that will save you money. You can upgrade all sorts of appliances and utilities to energy and water saving units. You can recycle and reuse, implement sustainable landscaping, and start gardens for your kitchen services. There are so many ways you can reduce your energy costs while lowering your impact on the environment, but you can do even more by giving back to the community.
Getting involved in environmental conservation efforts beyond your boutique hotels concept will also attract a ton of positive attention. Implement a program where you donate a percentage of your profits to local environmental efforts. For example, you could donate $10 for every day a room is rented. Tell your guests that just by staying with you, they’re directly helping to save the environment.
Laying the Groundwork
These are the building blocks needed to inspire your guests while incorporating Green efforts into the very fiber and core of your boutique hotel. The difference is in their perception. By showing your guests how your boutique hotel is directly involved in local sustainability, while reminding them to make the extra effort and pitch in, you engage them in a different way completely. They quickly learn what your efforts are, and where and how they affect the local community. Your guests will see the “big picture” and will be more likely to make an effort to help your boutique hotel go and stay GREEN!
Image “Ibsens Hotel” courtesy of Flickr user heatheronhertravels licensed under CC by 2.0. Featured image “The George Hotel” by Richard Croft and post image “Montgomery’s Hotel” by Martin Bodman – licensed for use under CC by 2.0.