Washington,DC - As many of the world's largest
hotel companies scramble to bake new sustainability initiatives into their
business models, a wave of upstarts has come out of the gate with ecofriendly
activism and social consciousness at the core of their brand propositions.
The latest newcomer to thrust an environmentally
friendly approach front and centre is Accor's Greet brand, unveiled in
mid-September. In a statement, Accor said the new economy flag was designed
first and foremost to meet "new guest expectations in relation to
Greet will be defined by what Accor calls a
"non-standardised" and eco-friendly design approach. Each hotel will
be able to partner with local non-profits, including groups like Emmaus and
Valdelia, which will enable Greet hotels to source second-hand furniture, as
well as new creations and designs made by reusing materials to create recycled
The first Greet outpost, which opened with 52 rooms
in Beaune, France, last April, showcases unique, upcycled design elements like
tin-can flowerpots, a wheelbarrow-turned-coffee table and mismatched second-hand
china. Accor plans to expand Greet to 300 locations throughout Europe by 2030.
The Eaton DC's "radical
library" is stocked with books by "intellectual
Accor's big bet on conscious consumerism follows
the success of several small boutique hotel brands that have already built a
cult following around their uncompromising commitments to sustainability and
Among these is the relatively new Eaton Workshop flag
created by Katherine Lo, the daughter of Hong Kong billionaire and Langham
Hospitality chairman Lo Ka Shui.
According to the brand, Eaton Workshop "sits
at the intersection of culture, content, hospitality, wellness and progressive
social change" and aims to prove that "a socially responsible
business model is sustainable”.
The inaugural Eaton Workshop property opened in
Washington late last year, with a second debuting in Hong Kong shortly after.
With 209 guestrooms, the flagship Eaton DC offers
amenities that include a wellness centre, a private co-working space, a 50-seat
cinema and a "radical library" stocked with "literature from the
world’s most compelling intellectual revolutionaries”.
The hotel regularly hosts artists, community groups
and activists, and the property also takes a serious stance on environmental
progress, with the LEED Gold-certified Eaton DC also in the process of becoming
a certified B Corporation in recognition of its social and environmental
performance. The hotel even uses rainwater collected on its rooftop to flush
toilets in the lobby.
Like Eaton Workshop, the Good Hotel Group has
chosen to build its business around more socially conscious missions.
Seeking to find a way to tackle poverty in popular
tourist areas, Marten Dresen established Good Hotel Group in 2012, with a focus
on "creating a profit for a non-profit business with long-term goals of
creating jobs, offering training to the local unemployed community, supporting
[nongovernmental organizations and setting] a new standard in the local
Good Hotel spokeswoman Maria O'Connor said,
"Good Hotel Group is a thriving social business, which means that we
donate all our profits to social good. We want to always make sure that our hotels,
Good Hotels, serve the community they are in."
Good Hotel Group has two properties: One is housed
within a converted mansion in Antigua, Guatemala, and the other is a
"floating hotel" at the Royal Victoria Dock in East London.
The former focuses on raising funding for Ninos de
Guatemala, a non-profit that aims to provide quality education to impoverished
communities in Guatemala, while the latter has partnered with the local council
to identify unemployed people and provide them with paid job training.
Good Hotel locations are scheduled to open in
Guatemala City and Amsterdam and Rotterdam in the Netherlands by 2021.
The interior of a Greet hotel, which
makes use of upcycled decor and second-hand furniture.
"Consumers, consciously or unconsciously, are
starting to use the power of their purchases to influence positive change, and
businesses are having to respond," Ms O'Connor said, which is "great
to see, but for us, this is not simply a trend we have joined. We began with a
social problem that we wanted to help and built a business around that, not the
other way around."
Also making social philanthropy its selling point
is Kind Traveler, a recently launched online hotel booking platform. Rolled out
in 2016, Kind Traveler is built around what company co-founder and CEO Jessica
Blotter calls "a give and get" booking model.
"Travellers access exclusive hotel rates and
perks when they give a $10 nightly donation to a local charity that impacts the
destination they're travelling to or to any partner charity on the
platform," Ms Blotter said.
She added that 100% of those donations are passed
along to the non-profit. The site, which primarily partners with boutique,
lifestyle and independent hotels, currently works with some 100 properties and
60 charities across 22 countries, with plans to expand to 150 properties by the
end of 2020.
Discounts available via Kind Traveler typically
range from between 10% and 15% off a hotel's best available rate, with Kind
Traveler taking a 10% to 15% commission on each booking. The platform has
debuted a travel advisor programme, enabling agents to contact Kind Traveler
directly to become eligible to receive 90% of Kind Traveler's commission.
"We want to make it easy for everyone to participate
in sustainable travel," Ms Blotter said. "There's a sustainable
revolution happening, and a lot of big brands have shifted their practices.
“Everyone is waking up to the fact that consumers
are becoming smarter and want to vote with their dollars for causes that
Source: Travel Weekly USA