When it comes to the implementation of environmental technology in hotels, different industry experts have their views. Some experts believe it should be about solar PV systems, heat waste recovery, and occupancy sensors. For some, environmental technology in hotels should encompass renewable energy and continuous performance monitoring in hotel buildings.
In the end, no one is right or wrong about what environmental technologies hotels should implement. From energy-saving chillers to carbon measurement technologies, these innovations work together to enhance the quality of life in the hospitality sector. Of importance, though, are the barriers that impede the implementation of these technologies in the hotel sector.
In this article, we look at the main barriers to the adoption of environmental technology in hotels. Many hotels already apply the internationally recognized ISO 14001 environmental management standards in their premises. The idea is to instill practices and technologies that reduce the impact of their operations on the environment.
Many hotels do not have environmental technologies in place
According to several studies, many hotels have not implemented the necessary environmental technologies. Only a given small percentage of hotels across the world are ISO 14001 certified. Some have no formal environmental management systems in place.
In the meantime, various stakeholders, financial institutions, customers, shareholders, and government regulatory agencies continue to mount pressure on hotel service providers to increase their commitment to improving environmental performance.
According to different industry experts, most hotels experience barriers to environmental technology adoption. Three important common barriers identified are:
- High implementation and maintenance cost
- Lack of knowledge, understanding, and availability of professional advice
- Lack of resources
High implementation and maintenance cost
Industry experts believe that a successful environmental management system requires time, money, and people investments. Implementation costs include training, process modification, documentation, registration fees, and registration maintenance.
It also encompasses legal consequences, hiring expert environmentalist assistance, organizational adoption, computer software, and hiring of new staff among others. According to research studies done in 2000 and 2006, the implementation costs can range from USD69,860 to USD139,720.
With high costs of implementation and maintenance, many hotels are still not ready to integrate environmental management technologies into their premises. This has been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, which significantly affected the economies of hotels across the world.
Lack of professional advice, knowledge, and skills
Many hotel managers are still unaware of environmental management systems standards. Such personnel find it difficult to understand what they should achieve in the initial stages. In the initial stages, they need professional advice from qualified consultants to help them design and implement EMS standards.
According to a survey conducted in 2008, hotel service providers need to understand and interpret the prescribed EMS ISO standards. If not, the concept could be misleading. The ISO 14001 certification also involves a lot of paperwork, which provides an additional workload for hotel managers.
Another reason that hinders the adoption of the ISO standards is the challenge it presents to managers who cannot balance the quality of service with the environmental performance. Many top management officials still lack adequate knowledge regarding the EMS and ISO standards and concepts. Consequently, they develop a low level of commitment.
Additionally, underlying organizational factors can also hinder the adoption and implementation of environmental technologies by hotels. These factors include management style, organizational culture, and commitment and communication among top management.
These organizational cultural issues together with limited knowledge and lack of professional advice are serious hindrances to the implementation of environmental technologies for various hotels.
Lack of adequate resources
Resources that prevent the adoption and implementation of EMS include workforce, money, time, and equipment. Experts agree that the adoption and implementation of environmental management technologies require a commitment of resources to cater to their development and maintenance.
Successful implementation of environmental innovations for hotels depends largely on the availability of the mentioned resources. In this regard, two things can happen. Either the hotels will need to invest in additional resources or they will have to channel their existing resources away from their current use.
Besides, the availability of resources depends on the size of the facility. Hotels need to have in place modern and efficient computer systems and other measuring tools to help them measure their performance. Regarding this, more tangible resources are necessary alongside financial resources.
These resources are needed to conduct the practices according to ISO 14001 standards. Therefore, any hotel that aims to implement environmental management technologies needs to have adequate resources before the implementation part.
The pace of technology growth is increasing faster in nearly all industries. Consumers are becoming more transparent when making purchasing decisions and with all the right information at their disposal at all times, the hospitality industry has no choice but to create a quality consumer experience.
It’s time for the hospitality industry to rise above the mentioned barriers and implement environmental management technologies that will enhance their customer experience.
Alex Mirza, The Founder & CEO of Mogul – Humanizing Travel. Its platform Staymogul.com provides booking, service, and Mogulrecruiter.com provides talent solutions for the hospitality industry.