Industry Update
Opinion Article10 June 2020

The 24 Hour Sustainable Hospitality Hackathon: Highlight Report

“A World of Change in Hospitality” -

By Willy Legrand , Professor of Hospitality Management at the IUBH International University

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The 2020 pandemic has catastrophic consequences on societies but particularly on the travel and hospitality sectors. The ways the industry currently deals with the crisis offer a glimpse into the crisis management endeavours in building a business case for disaster and climate resiliency. Climate emergency is not dissimilar to the coronavirus threat, whereby "both demand early aggressive action to minimize loss" (Cobb, in Sengupta, 2020, para. 3). At this stage, it becomes apparent that we need to take stock of our industry's abilities; figuring out which parts are "already functioning well and don't need changing and which parts are no longer working and do need changing" (Diamond, 2019, p.6).

On Thursday June 4th, 90 hospitality students from two universities (IUBH International University of Applied Science Bad Honnef-Bonn (DE) and Hotel Management School Maastricht (NL)) along with a dozen faculty members and industry experts were called upon to prepare and shape the future of sustainable hospitality. Over a 24-hr timeframe, actionable plans and activities were devised considering the overall opportunity (and responsibility) towards more sustainability in the industry (and not less) in a post COVID-19 world. Those plans were submitted to faculty at IUBH International University of Applied Science Bad Honnef-Bonn (DE) and Hotel Management School Maastricht (NL)) on the UN World Environment Day June 5th and will be distributed to industry partners.

The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development along with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Agreement and the Convention of Biological Diversity (CDB) provides a global framework to tackle the major challenges faced by civilization: end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, biodiversity collapse and climate emergency (Legrand et al., 2020).

22 challenges were established (including all 17 SDGs), from decarbonisation of small independent hotel properties or restaurants to consumer engagement in responsible consumption. 22 student groups brainstormed in virtual breakout rooms with the continuous support from experts and faculty members and provided an extensive list of activities to be undertaken by hotels pertaining to the particular focus given. Those 'activities' were classified in three categories: Easy Wins (CAT1); Adapt Your Plan (CAT2) and Game Changers (CAT3). Additionally, CAT1; CAT2 and CAT3 activities had to be classified into Short- (within 12 months), Medium- (12-60 months), and Long-term (until 2030).

Download the Highlight Report to access all experts' views and recommendations as well as a summary of 66 key activities (in CAT1, CAT2 and CAT3) to be undertaken by hotels across the 22 challenges.

A special thank you to the experts:

  • Leontine van Eerden, Sustainable Development Manager Northern Europe, Accor
  • Dr. Kyriaki Glyptou, Senior Lecturer, Leeds Beckett University
  • Harco J. Leertouwer, Managing Director Benelux, Acre
  • Anna de Visser-Amundson, Research Fellow in Marketing at Hotelschool The Hague (HTH)
  • Ernest van der Voort, Director Business Development & Marketing at Albron
  • Nicolas Dubrocard, Hotel Environmental Auditor, Founder of Solutions Tourism
  • Karina, O'Gorman, Head of Corporate Responsibility, InterContinental Hotels Group
  • Madhu Rajesh, Director for International Tourism Partnership at Business in the Community

A follow up Sustainable Hospitality Hackathon is planned with further cooperation across multiple universities. Interested in participating or contributing? Contact [email protected]

The 24hr Sustainable Hospitality hackathon:

  • Prof. Dr. Willy Legrand, IUBH International University of Applied Sciences (DE)
  • Dr. Ankie Hoefnagels, Hotel Management School Maastricht (NL)
  • Prof. Dr. Gabriel C.M. Laeis, IUBH International University of Applied Sciences (DE)
  • Josje van Dongen, Hotel Management School Maastricht (NL)
  • Silva Abreu e Silva, Hotel Management School Maastricht (NL)
  • Willem Emons, Hotel Management School Maastricht (NL)
  • George Jacobs, Hotel Management School Maastricht (NL)
Related Document

THE 24 HOUR SUSTAINABLE HOSPITALITY HACKATHON: HIGHLIGHT REPORT

The 2020 pandemic has catastrophic consequences on societies but particularly on the travel and hospitality sectors. The ways the industry currently deals with the crisis offer a glimpse into the crisis management endeavours in building a business case for disaster and climate resiliency. Climate emergency is not dissimilar to the coronavirus threat, whereby “both demand early aggressive action to minimize loss” (Cobb, in Sengupta, 2020, para. 3). At this stage, it becomes apparent that we need to take stock of our industry’s abilities; figuring out which parts are “already functioning well and don’t need changing and which parts are no longer working and do need changing” (Diamond, 2019, p.6).
Download document (705 KB)

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