Sustainable Programs Start With Staff

Sustainability trends are not limited to hotels, with guest frequently trying to live their lives in a sustainable manner as well. Because of this, guests can sometimes be receptive to changes in hotel operations that could benefit the environment.

“As a business hotel, the average guest stay is two-and-a-half days,” said Florian Schultz, hotel manager for the Sofitel New York. “The guest usually doesn’t mind having the same linen for that time, but they often want bathroom towels replaced on a daily basis. We place carts in the rooms and inform our guests that if they place the cart on the bed we will change the linens, and if they hang their towels up we will refrain from washing them.”

This small reprieve from the washing machines resulted in a 33% reduction in chemical usage, labor and energy costs for the New York property. What makes this system work best is the training given to hotel staff that assist in the process.

“If the font-desk agent can communicate our laundry policy with the guest to avoid confusion and let them know the program is available, it is best.” Schultz said. “The guest has to be aware, and if they have the same linens at the end of the day. Finding a way to communicate that is a skill.”

Additional training was necessary for housekeepers to redo a bed in a way that is appealing even though it was used the night before. “Associates shouldn’t be afraid to try new things,” said Scott Bastin of the Sheraton Dallas Hotel. “Make sure that your associates have input when trying new things, though. These are the people that handle these duties every day. You want them to be your eyes and ears, and you want to use what they give you.”

Written by: C. Elliott Mest, Associate Editor of Hotel Management

 

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