World Panel
Viewpoint16 December 2019

Hotel Sustainability: Top 3 Technologies to Implement in 2020

Sustainability in Hospitality

— 21 experts shared their view

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There seem to be two schools of thought in regards to achieving greater sustainability. One is based on a behavioural change to tackle societal and environmental challenges. More precisely in managing resources with moderation, restraint, and constraint (e.g. Reduce-Reuse-Recycle mantra). The other approach focuses on developing and implementing technologies to drive change. Here, the premise is that greater sustainability can be achieved if green technology is developed and deployed rapidly. With this in mind and considering the various sustainability challenges as hotels enter this new decade, what are the three (3) technologies to implement in 2020?"

This viewpoint was created by
Willy Legrand , Professor of Hospitality Management at the IUBH International University
Sam Laakkonen
Contingent Managing Director - Sustainability at Techstars

There is of course a wide spectrum of technologies that the hospitality industry can deploy to achieve greater sustainability. I will therefore limit my answer to digital technologies and the three I would suggest to start implementing in 2020 are:

  1. Internet of Things (IoT) - Connecting the physical infrastructure to the web. This allows for hotels to collect data on everything from air-conditioning units and room thermostats to lifts and kitchen appliances.
  2. Big Data Analytics - Collecting vast amounts of data is of course not enough. It is even more important to make sense of the data collected. This is how you turn the data into a valuable asset which helps making changes that optimise physical infrastructure performance and achieve greater sustainability.
  3. Machine Learning - Programming the IoT network to automatically learn and improve based on past performance, experience and incidents. This for example allows for the system to learn to flag issues before they become problems, based on patterns that have been present previously when elements of the infrastructure have developed a fault.

As mentioned above, there in my opinion is so much that could be done to drive change by implementing technology. I however think that a significant part of the solution is to generate data on the performance of the physical infrastructure, monitor and analyse this data in order to make sense of it and to deploy elements of AI / machine learning to implement automatic and ongoing improvements to achieve greater sustainability.

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