Hospitality and tourism impact everything from the economy of a destination to its cultural treasures and society. As the industry moves toward greater sustainability, it’s important to consider the ripple effect it has on the world. Sustainable travel can have a positive impact not only on the environment, but also businesses’ bottom line and visitors’ experience. For clients, sustainability creates more loyalty, they feel good about their choices and it adds value. The guest experience should always remain at the heart of any offering, all while maintaining eco-friendly practices in the process.
Hotels and resorts can adjust their business and operations approach with small steps taken as part of a long-term, overarching strategy. AMResorts branded properties, for instance, welcome thousands of guests annually and know the power a seemingly simple act can have on protecting the oceans and beaches its resorts call home. Last year, the company eliminated the use of plastic straws across its seven luxury resort brands, replacing them with biodegradable options for guests upon request. Policies like these continue to gain traction among hospitality giants and are backed by consumers.
Responsible travel efforts from hotels take on many forms, from protecting wildlife to developing community initiatives. The majority of AMResorts branded properties are certified by the non-profit Rainforest Alliance for their commitment to going green at various levels, and several are part of Amigos de Sian Ka’an, an organization dedicated to the sustainability and conservation of the Sian Ka’an biosphere throughout Quintana Roo, Mexico.
Dolphins at the family-friendly Dreams® Puerto Aventuras Resort & Spa
Now more than ever, guests expect sustainability efforts to be a standard feature of the property just as they expect excellent service and Wi-Fi. Travelers, especially younger generations, are placing greater emphasis on environmental stewardship, and their preferences signal more companies to engage in green business initiatives. While considerations of price and convenience are still main factors in selecting a hotel, green programs certainly provide a competitive sales advantage for attracting guests.
By tapping into consumers’ hearts and minds, sustainability efforts enhance their experience, and promote brand loyalty and repeat visits. Releasing baby sea turtles back into the ocean is an annual event that has generated repeat business at Now® Jade Riviera Cancun and Now® Sapphire Riviera Cancun, for example. Travelers seek hands-on opportunities to directly make an impact, like participating in local beach clean ups or simply supporting artisan vendors.
Guests also appreciate efforts that mirror how they already practice conservation in their daily lives, such as reducing, reusing and recycling programs. Properties in popular destinations like Jamaica, including Secrets® Wild Orchid Montego Bay, Secrets® St. James Montego Bay and Breathless® Montego Bay Resort & Spa, have installed ecological filtered water dispensers to phase out bottled water. At Dreams® Las Mareas in Costa Rica, water waste goes to a treatment plant where it’s processed through active mud for appropriate reuse. The treated water is used in the property’s hydro system, which waters its 80,000 square meters of green space that guests enjoy.
Tourism has the power to bring about positive change. Socially conscious travel done right can be rewarding for everyone involved, including the resorts and their teams, local communities, travel professionals and agents, and consumers. Every time travelers book accommodations, do activities, interact with locals or sit down for a meal, it can have a social impact. The ROI of sustainability best practices go beyond the environment to bring rich opportunities and benefits to the entire industry.
For more information on AMResorts branded properties’ corporate values, practices, and resources for travel agents, visit AMResorts’ supplier showcase.