The hotel industry has had to face important changes in recent years, because the way in which people conceive tourism has also presented considerable variations that directly influence the preference of certain spaces, certain conditions and the organization of plans not only intended to travel. Nowadays, tourism and hotel projects are focusing their attention on one of the biggest problems at a global level: caring for the environment. From this concern is born one of the most interesting trends in the hotel industry: sustainable tourism.
It is common to hear the term “environmental sustainability” frequently applied to different contexts, situations and industries. But, despite the fact that it is part of our daily lives, it is necessary – very necessary – to understand that, in order to reach that point, that objective, a large number of factors and variables must be considered. It is not so easy to talk about a sustainable project and put it into practice so that it achieves optimal results, it is a process that requires research and detailed planning.
Environmental sustainability is then the search for balance between the social, the economic and the environmental areas. With a view to a future where we can continue to work, through the implementation of strategies and projects that respond to the terrain in which the project is developed, in the needs of environmental care and in the business objectives.
What should be taken into account in an environmental sustainability project?
In order for our hotel or project to have a favorable environmental impact and, at the same time, be able to meet the economic requirements for its operation and sustainability over time, we must start with a detailed analysis of consumer behavior.
This means that if customers, in this case, tourists, are interested in ecological tourism, for example, and we have the capability to respond to this need in our business, then our offer must be focused on that. If, for example, we cannot consider our business within “eco-hotels” because we have to meet certain requirements, but if we can offer simple features that lead us to take care of the environment, we must consider it as a starting point for offering our services.
Among some of these characteristics or factors that can begin to be offered within an evolving sustainable hotel project, is the reduction of the ecological footprint, that is, trying to reduce the impact that our activity has on the environment.
Therefore, it is essential to know the environment in which our hotel project will be integrated. It is necessary to know the landscape, the conditions of the terrain and the territorial plans of that same space, with the intention that the national and international regulations (ISO 14001 and EMAS standards) are not contradicted and, on the contrary, it can be fully complied with, offering the best experiences for customers and allowing them to integrate their tourist activity with environmental conditions.
Sustainable hotels: the future in innovation and environmental protection
We could think, not in vain, that sustainability, especially in the hotel sector, can have repercussions for both the customer and the company or hotel. This is because, in a generalized scenario, many more resources and a disproportionately greater effort would be needed than what has been carried out. But this is not entirely true. While it clearly requires extra effort, needs research and adaptable conditions, in the long run the inclusion of sustainable tools will be a truly beneficial factor in reducing costs and increasing comfort and attractiveness for the customer.
Hotels are considered sustainable when they carry out certain actions, with the focus on protecting the environment in parallel with the development of the business, which means that they do everything in their hands to create systems that reduce and save energy consumption, to avoid at all costs water contamination; and implement recycling strategies that increase environmental awareness not only for workers, but that are applied and demanded from tourists.
Many of the types of hotels that we can find today, such as the boat houses offered by The Homeboat Company, were designed from the beginning with an awareness of the environmental impact they could have. In fact, these houseboats seek to limit their impact on the earth’s surface, which is already heavily polluted by the construction of buildings, roads and which suffers from deforestation. But that does not mean that all environmental impacts and damages are now concentrated in the water, because it would be just as catastrophic or worse. The boat-houses are built and designed with low-polluting materials, use water responsibly and also allow the client or tourist to integrate into the landscape in which they find themselves and privilege the enjoyment of nature, always promoting their care.
I am a customer of a sustainable houseboat or hotel, what should I expect?
What we can be sure of, when staying in a sustainable hotel, is that we will live an experience far from the traditional … but in what sense?
Certainly, when we think about booking a room in a “normal” hotel, we also think that we will not stay in it for a long time or that the situations that we will experience will be very similar to those that we have already experienced in any other hotel. Although this is not a problem, the experience we will have in a sustainable hotel will be completely different. It will be much more about enjoying what lies ahead, enjoying the hotel itself and the trip. Where nature surrounds us and we see our needs met as human beings.
On the other hand, and as this concept has been growing within the hotel industry, the hotels themselves have made a great effort so that the client can access all the luxuries and comforts of a traditional hotel, without having to leave aside the concern and fundamental actions for caring for the environment. If at any time you want to visit one of The Homeboat Company’s houseboats, you will find that they have the best facilities, the best finishings and services; you can be sure that you will not need anything else. In addition, you will be surrounded by spectacular landscapes and the greatest tranquility.
This trend has also led to a change in the way customers rate hotels. This does not mean that a hotel that is not classified as sustainable does not have a good rating, but if this becomes an incentive for a change in mentality, the customer will, out of his own curiosity, seek environmental responsibility. Looking to apply it in everyday things, like booking a good hotel that has all these advantages for the environment as a differential. The growing sustainable hotel industry is a useful opportunity to generate awareness, to look for options that in the long term generate solutions for improving the quality of life and the quality of environmental protection strategies.
In conclusion, it should be noted that there should be no confusion between the idea that environmental sustainability is a trend – although it is – and the idea that hotels, in general, can choose between being responsible or not in this regard. Environmental responsibility is something that should be part of any project, not just the hotel industry, and should be considered as a fundamental factor in the process of choosing a place to stay, as a tourist. For the time being, the sustainability label works as an additional factor, with growth potential and attracting increasingly larger groups of tourists.
We invite you to consider The Homeboat Company’s environmental and sustainability seal when choosing a hotel to enjoy a wonderful trip while protecting the world at the same time.