With Earth Day on the way (22 April), environmental responsibility is the word on everyone’s lips. What are you doing for Earth Day this year?
Earth Day 2014 (Photo by Renate de Villiers)
I’ve been noticing two very distinct behaviours with regards to this topic in the hospitality and tourism industry. It goes both ways. Some accommodation establishments have gone the extra mile to increase awareness about environmental responsibility. Many have created their own vegetable gardens and some have even gone to the length of “farming” on site by adding pigs to the establishment’s environmental cycle. As the kitchen throws out vegetable peels, the pigs eat the peels, they get fat, get slaughtered and eventually guests are served organic food. It’s all very clever.
On the other end, we find hospitality and tourism establishments that have not been educated on the subject of environmental responsibility, or those who are not interested in being educated. This is normally not necessarily due to ignorance, but rather due to the fact that they are scared of not being able to pull it off.
Therefore, TMG has compiled a few tips for kicking off your guesthouse, hotel or restaurant’s environmentally responsible operating system:
- Try to reduce the amount of printing in the office. Rather use PDF’s to send proof of payments, invoices and quotations to guests and suppliers.
- Replace all light bulbs with energy saving bulbs – inside and outside.
- Restaurants can create a very romantic feel at their tables by using the popular solar lights in mason jars these days.
- Wedding venues can incorporate green wedding packages into their marketing strategy – I can promise you: more and more brides want to get married as green as possible (no pun intended).
- Replace your old shower heads with new, water saving shower heads.(Try Eco Shower for more information).
- Get tips and ideas from your guests. Put short questionnaires in the rooms or at their breakfast tables asking them for ideas on how to reduce your footprint on the environment. Also let them take part in your initiatives.
- Use dishwashers (domestic for smaller establishments and industrial for hotels) to save water while washing dishes.
- Put up notices in the rooms requesting guests to make sure that all taps are closed properly and ask them to leave their towels in the bath when they want them washed. This will prevent housekeeping from washing towels every day, reducing the amount of water utilised for washing.
- Add recycling bins in the kitchen and train your staff on what goes into which bin. There is no use in adding the bins but the staff still throws glass bottles into the paper or the plastic bin. Training forms a very important part of the smooth running of any company, including the hospitality and tourism industries.
Have you started your journey in becoming friendlier to the environment yet? Share your experience and tips with us by commenting TMG’s blog posts.
For more tips and ideas for Earth Day, visit our Pinterest board: Ideas for #EarthDay2014.
Happy Earth Day to all!
Visiting guesthouses and hotels on a regular basis makes you realise how many things we tend to forget when preparing a room for a guest.
Things we tend to forget (Photo taken at The Wardrobe Guesthouse, Pretoria) – http://thewardrobeguesthouse.co.za/
Owning an accommodation establishment does not necessarily make you an expert on what to put in the rooms; in fact, we tend to overlook a few things due to being so used to the establishment’s offerings. As we know by now – no customer is the same and no target market either. A business traveller might need a two point plug next to his bed as well as at his desk in the room. A family room might be more comfortable for leisure travellers when there is bubble bath for the kids or a pack of cards to play with in the room when the weather is not so pleasant. It is about going that extra mile that everyone speaks about.
Here are a few things TMG noticed many establishments tend to forget to add to their guest rooms. Take note and maybe consider adding this to your rooms for the next guests to increase customer satisfaction and to give them a better experience of your establishment. It might be small things, but isn’t it true that it’s the small things that count?
- Two point plugs in the rooms for a hairdryer (if there is none provided in the room), cell phone chargers, laptops, etc.
- Information files in the rooms, providing information on local attractions, restaurants, coffee shops and shopping facilities.
- It is always great to have a minibar in the room – just remember to stock it before the guests arrive and be sure to explain the payment procedures to them. This service is a preferred service by TMG for business travellers, as they are the ones who might work late in the evenings.
- Have a look at the lighting in the rooms. This is a big issue, especially for business travellers, at many South African establishments. Be sure that there is ample lighting at the desk area and next to the bed for working and reading purposes, as well as at the mirror areas where ladies might want to do their make-up.
- Make sure about the correct height for the desk and chair where your guests visiting for business might want to work during the evening. You don’t want to tire them – in fact, you’d like them to feel comfortable and at home, right?
- Also have a look at the position of all electric sockets in the rooms. The places guests would like to have electric sockets are mainly beside the bed and at the desk area, as well as close to a mirror.
- Speaking of mirrors – remember that women (and many men too) need a mirror at a comfortable height for blow drying their hair, checking their outfits and doing their makeup. Should there only be mirrors in the bathroom, be sure that the area is secure for an electric socket for things like hairdryers and shavers. This is not the ideal, though. Rather add another mirror in the room itself.
Any more things you’ve noticed guesthouses or hotels tend to forget? Share your views and tips with Travelling Mystery Guest by leaving a comment.