Home Guest Columns What is the Value of a Hotel Sustainability Assessment?

What is the Value of a Hotel Sustainability Assessment?

KathySue McGuire

When was the last time you took an objective look at your hotel operations? Have you ever drilled down on how much you spend on plastic cups and trash liners? One client spent $47,000 annually on trash liners. They were shocked, and even more surprising was this cost could be reduced by $21,150 annually. How? Recycling better and reducing trash liners, because recycled items tied up in trash liners are not accepted by most recycling facilities, anyway. Choosing the right-sized trash containers and liners reduces cost, because you don’t need a 60-gallon liner for a 30-gallon container. Eliminating desk side trash cans and opting for one communal receptacle in the office, also reduces the labor cost of emptying and replacing liners for multiple containers.

Another client used 1.4 million sheets of copy paper annually. They had no idea how they could have used that much, or what it was for, but they were motivated to find out.

We’re Already Green

It’s been my experience that many hotels think they’re already green, because maybe they have a three-day linen change program or some LED lighting. The basic best practices and low-hanging fruit are no longer enough. Being a future-fit organization in the 21st century requires embedding sustainability into the core business strategy, becoming what every employee does every day, and not a silo initiative that is the first thing to be forgotten, or set aside. Managing risk, such as the rising cost of materials and products, business disruption due to extreme weather events, and investor interest in ESG (environmental, social and governance) is a business imperative to survive.

What If?

  • answering a series of questions might save tens of thousands of dollars each year, without capital expenditure;
  • you received a custom report for your property and a 78-page “how to” guide;
  • learning how to tell your sustainability story would better engage your stakeholders and increase your business;
  • you could improve your brand reputation;
  • you were given a guaranteed cost savings recommendation or your money back?


  • being prepared for the Event Industry Council’s new Sustainable Events Standard for venues and accommodations to be released in early 2019;
  • participating locally in the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals and telling that story;
  • developing a health and wellness program for employees and guests;
  • creating a conscious capitalism program;
  • developing a food waste prevention program that could save you $7 for every $1 spent;
  • creating sustainability KPI’s (key performance indicators) to report to your stakeholders;
  • creating eco-adventures, and mindfulness/mediation programs for guests;
  • training all personnel on human trafficking, diversity and anti-harassment;
  • asking guests to sign an eco-pledge;
  • learning new marketing strategies to attract eco-conscious consumers;
  • evaluating the latest technology and products to enhance the guest experience;
  • receiving a dozen policy templates designed so that everyone knows what is expected;
  • defining a social purpose for your organization’s culture.

Did You know?

  • 95 percent of business travelers believe hotels should have “green initiatives” (Deloitte);
  • 68 percent of travelers are more likely to choose an eco-friendly hotel (Booking.com and Trip Advisor);
  • Health and wellness industry are now at $3.7 trillion annually (Global Wellness Institute);
  • Investors increasingly believe that sustainability performance creates tangible, long-term value and are prepared to divest from companies with a poor sustainability footprint. (MIT/BCG)

A colleague of mine, who is mentoring three college hospitality students, recently asked if I knew of any hotels in his city that weren’t “vanilla”.  He said, “They’re all basically the same. There is nothing remarkable about what they offer or how they are operated.” I didn’t know of one.

Over the course of the past year I worked with the new SCP Hotel brand and their holistic hospitality vision. If you want to know what the future of hospitality looks like check it out at https://www.scphotel.com/colorado-springs/ and the parent company https://www.soulcommunityplanet.com/.

Knowing how sustainably operated your property is and what to do to improve it will assist in future-proofing your organization. An online assessment is an easy and affordable alternative to an on-site visit by a consultant. With a money back guarantee, it’s a win-win!

3 Pillar Solutions, LLC is a sustainability consulting firm offering assessments, and customized recommendations for improvement, for the hospitality, tourism, and meetings/events industry. We will design a program that will align your core business goals with sustainable practices operating as one cohesive unit. KathySue McGuire is located in the West Palm Beach, Fla., area and can be reached at (561) 748-6750 or https://www.3pillarsolutions.com/.