As World Wildlife Day has come and past, it’s a good time to reflect upon what environmental efforts your hotel is planning to undertake as well as those already in full swing. With climate change intensifying with each passing season, large corporations are becoming all the more vital through their collective resources in the movement to champion wildlife preservation.
I don’t mean to get preachy but between rampant deforestation, pollution, invasive species and a slew of other manmade problems, nearly every ecosystem has been thrown out of whack, which will inevitably come back to bite us all in the behind in the form of billions of dollars in damages from adverse weather conditions or, as I dread, lives lost. Those flora and fauna already at risk – and those which are imperative to biological equilibrium – will be even further destabilized in the coming years and any support will undoubtedly help.
Furthermore, as community leaders, it’s important for hotels to be particularly active in this regard. Even if it doesn’t involve the preservation of a specific local animal, the broader banner of corporate social responsibility and giving back in general has a synergistic effect that’s good for the community at large as well as the overall quality of your team.
The first question for you to answer is why would you devote a portion of your scrupulously tight budget and human capital to overseeing a project that has no direct tangible benefits for your property? While the advantages may not be immediately clear per se, there is indeed a straightforward chain between environmental advocacy and increased profits, albeit one with many steps.
We already all know that corporate social responsibility is good for public relations which in turn will cast your hotel in a positive light. But the altruistic initiatives you shepherd are more than just a means of attracting benevolent customers who vote with their wallets for companies with strong value systems. Rather, the first group of stakeholders you want to inspire are your associates and managers.
While guests come and go, it’s your team that lives and breathes your property every day, and at present there is an increasing number of people – especially amongst the millennials and the iGens who will soon come to dominate the labor pool – who actively choose to work for organizations that care. So by not adopting a cause, by not instituting a thorough recycling program, by not participating in that annual food drive, you are shooting yourself in the foot. You won’t attract the most engaged, young hospitality stars and those who do come under your employ won’t be as motivated as if they were at another organization that takes these matters seriously.
On the flip side, by actually creating a local wildlife conservation program – as but one example of how you can give back to the community – it will demonstrate to every member of your team that they are working at a place that is making a difference. As an result, every associate and manager will be subtly motivated to put in that extra effort, to service guests better and to bring forward the next great idea that will improve operations. Ultimately, more back-end efficiency combined with more front office smile will always amount to greater guest satisfaction and profits.
Interestingly, this effect is also an unintended outcome of the locavore movement that numerous hotels have embraced in the past decade. To elaborate, the notion of supporting local producers is primarily designed to make the guest experience more authentic and unique to a particular geographic region. Yes, there are also other advantages to consider like reduced food miles (for your restaurants) and more natural ingredients that are less harmful to the environment (such as for your spa treatments). However, these efforts also mean that employees will witness other neighborhood vendors thrive and the community benefitting as a whole. Thus, these same individuals will then come to view those hotels that partner with local suppliers as great organizations to work for, and they will more motivated to help said companies with their business goals.
So even if it’s a simple conservation donation program or one designed to raise awareness by educating guest on one specific local animal that’s threatened, actions on your part will be mutualistically beneficial to all involved. Do the community and your hotel a favor by investigating what’s possible!