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7 Common Objections to Sustainable Practices in the Hotel Industry and Why They Are Wrong

In the world of hospitality, sustainability is more than just a trend—it's a necessity. But as hoteliers embark on their journey towards a greener future, they often encounter skepticism and resistance. Let's explore seven common objections to sustainable practices in the hotel industry and discover why there are good reasons to embrace change.

best practices in hospitality for sustainability

1. "Sustainability is too expensive."

It's a common misconception that going green will break the bank. But sustainable practices often lead to cost savings in the long run. Take the case of the Marriott Marquis in Washington, D.C., which implemented energy-efficient lighting and saved $1.5 million in energy costs over three years. The initial investment in sustainability pays off, and the savings can be passed on to guests in the form of lower rates.

2. "Sustainability is just a trend."

Some may argue that sustainability is just a passing phase, but the truth is that it's here to stay. The hospitality industry is responsible for a significant portion of global carbon emissions and waste, and addressing these issues is not only good for the planet but also good for business. Hotels like the Proximity Hotel in North Carolina have embraced sustainability and received accolades and certifications for their efforts, proving that going green is a long-term commitment that yields lasting benefits.

Proximity Hotel green
A guest walkway at the Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, NC

3. "Sustainability is too complicated."

While implementing sustainable practices may seem daunting, it doesn't have to be. Hoteliers can start small, like the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, which began by reducing water usage and waste. Over time, they expanded their efforts to include energy conservation, sustainable sourcing, and community engagement. The key is to take it one step at a time and build on successes.

4. "Sustainability will compromise guest comfort."

Some may worry that sustainable practices will mean sacrificing guest comfort, but that couldn't be further from the truth. The 1 Hotel Central Park in New York City proves that luxury and sustainability can go hand in hand. With reclaimed wood furnishings, organic linens, and a commitment to reducing waste, the hotel offers an eco-conscious experience without compromising on comfort.

The lobby of 1 Hotel Central Park
The lobby of 1 Hotel Central Park

5. "Sustainability is not a priority for guests."

While it's true that not all guests prioritize sustainability, a growing number of travelers are seeking out eco-friendly accommodations. The Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman has tapped into this trend by offering guests the opportunity to participate in beach cleanups, turtle conservation, and organic gardening. By engaging guests in sustainable practices, hotels can create memorable experiences that resonate with eco-conscious travelers.

6. "Sustainability is not our responsibility."

Some hoteliers may feel that sustainability is not their responsibility, but the reality is that every business has a role to play in protecting the planet. The Lapa Rios Eco Lodge in Costa Rica understands this and has made sustainability a core part of their mission. By preserving rainforest land, supporting local communities, and educating guests about conservation, the lodge is making a positive impact on the environment and setting an example for others to follow.

7. "Sustainability won't make a difference."

It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the scale of environmental challenges, but every effort counts. The Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa has shown that even small changes can make a big difference. By implementing water conservation measures, reducing waste, and supporting local conservation efforts, the hotel is contributing to a healthier ecosystem and inspiring others to do the same.

Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa
Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa -- green and glorious!

The objections to sustainable practices in the hotel industry are many, but they're also opportunities for change. By addressing these concerns and embracing sustainability, hoteliers can create a better future for their guests, their communities, and the planet. So, let's challenge the misconceptions, embrace the good reasons, and embark on a journey towards a greener, more sustainable hospitality industry.

Anton Safonov and Michelle Jensen Session
Anton Safonov and Michelle Jensen Session

Anton Safonov and Michelle Jensen Session, co-founders of Aquarius Hospitality Solutions, bring a combined 34 years of experience in the hospitality industry to their new consultancy business. Their mission is to leverage their expertise to help other businesses grow and thrive using proven methods and strategies to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. With Aquarius, customer-centricity isn't just a tactic, it's the heart of our approach. Learn more at


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