The hospitality industry is in an upswing. In addition to a year-over-year occupancy increase, room rates are going up, with 2015 revenue per room up by 6.6%. As COP21 pushes for a 1.5 degree cap on global warming, now is the perfect time to use capital budgets to target the triple top-line and zero in on operational excellence.

Our reaction to the commitment comes in two parts:

  1. Updates to how we do business
  2. Transparent reporting of our progress

But what if you don’t care about COP21? Here are the most common reasons that our clients in hospitality make sustainability commitments:

  • It is a publicly traded REIT
  • Its investors are private equity with expectations for Sustainable and Responsible Investing (SRI)
  • It is an independent hotelier that wants to communicate what it is doing to its guests

There’s no right or wrong reason to take on sustainability. Inaction is the only way to fail.

Sustainable practices go mainstream and get serious:

By choosing sustainability strategies that enhance the guest experience, improve Net Promotor Scores, and put more heads in beds, properties can benefit from a better market position while also achieving increased employee engagement, decreased employee turnover and overhead, and higher ROI and efficiency of the property. That’s what we call Abundance.

Tracking the impact of your strategies will help you to prioritize, strategize, and create valued impact. Which brings us to reporting.

Give them what they want

The demand for sustainability reporting comes from all sides – customer, investors, and regulators are all increasingly demanding transparency and data from businesses.

There are common characteristics to sustainability reporting, and the good news is that every brand and owner has the flexibility to design a report that works best for their business and investors.

For example, using the COP21 agreement as goals to align with, it’s possible to create annual targets for energy reduction which can be part of capital budget allocation for HVAC and lighting upgrades. New construction gives you a clean slate for sustainable infrastructure, but existing buildings can benefit from big moves too. It all adds up.

Just as there is no single way to deploy sustainability initiatives, there’s no single way to report on that effort or its results. Some clients need to disclose their sustainability performance for specific projects, others report on their portfolio, and others report on the company as a whole.

You want the report to inform and guide your business and it’s an added benefit to improve the perceptions of employees, investors, and customers along the way. There are essential elements to cover in most every sustainability report. They include:

  • Goals for waste, water, energy and GHG emissions that are time bound with specific reduction targets.
  • Defendable and transparent monitoring methods such as how you measure and verify performance against goals.
  • Stakeholder sustainability engagement program that includes your supply chain, design team, employees, and customers. It should also include a system to measure the engagement program’s success.
  • Alignment with larger global goals like COP21 or the United Nations General Assembly’s new set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals. This gives credibility to your efforts.

As we start to execute our 2016 annual plans, there is no better time to review how we will have a positive impact through our actions.

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