Responsible TourismSustainable properties are not just a growing asset for owners and operators but a growing choice among Asian travellers too.

What's the buzz about green hotels?

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Consumers in Asian markets are more conscious about making green choices when they travel, including their accommodation.
Consumers in Asian markets are more conscious about making green choices when they travel, including their accommodation. Photo Credit: Gettyimages/Petmal

Sustainability is no longer a “good to have” option but a necessity for hotel brands that want to maintain their competitive edge. For hotel operators, it creates a brand USP that resonates with the eco-conscious travellers of today. For hotel owners, it increases the valuation of the asset when energy costs are reduced.

“Consumers in Asian markets too are more vocal about making green choices when they travel. There is also more of a push on the policy side from governments that are advocating environmentally friendly initiatives,” said Sabine Schaffer, managing partner & co-founder of Pro-invest Group, speaking at the recent Alternate Ownership Conference Hotels & Resorts (AOCAP) – Asia Pacific webinar organised by The BHN Group.

The onus, added Schaffer, is on asset owners to ensure that real estate asset types within a portfolio should incorporate green features and be energy-efficient.

A green philosophy should be ingrained in the hotel design, said Blink Design Group founder & creative partner, Clint Nagata, who champions the use of local materials and giving back to the community among his hospitality clients.

The sustainability vision may begin with hotel operators and designers, but its commitment begins with asset owners. The panel speakers at AOCAP concurred there is a need to further educate Asia’s hotel owners on the importance of long-term commitment in order to fully reap the benefits and investment value of this asset class.

As Asia Pacific sees a continued boom in new hotels, the need for sustainable goals grows even more urgent.

“Eighty percent of the buildings that will be ready by 2050 are already standing now, so the important question to address is how to make these old buildings environmentally friendly. No doubt, it much easier to build efficient green energy systems into new builds,” said Schaffer.

Together with building conversion projects, the practice of upcycling materials and furniture in renovations make a difference in creating sustainable hotels of the future.

For Arnfinn Oines, Social & Environmental Conscience at Soneva, repurposing furniture and upcycling materials are key approaches in its properties in Maldives.

“We have an in-house carpentry team that builds new furniture and fixes old ones. Also, we have a glass studio that is used to create artistic and functional pieces from glass waste collected from our properties. It also allows our guests to enjoy the experience of glass blowing lessons at the studio,” said Oines.

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