World Panel
Viewpoint24 January 2020

How can sustainability be communicated beyond clichés and greenwashing?

Sustainability in Hospitality

— 31 experts shared their view

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This viewpoint was created by
Franziska Altenrath, Co-Founder at TUTAKA
Elena Cavagnaro
Professor of Sustainability in Hospitality and Tourism at Stenden University of Applied Sciences

The last year, together with dr Vanessa de Oliveira Menezes, I have performed a round of interviews with hotel guests in the Netherlands focussing on their preferences about communicating sustainability. Unsurprisingly, their answers diverge greatly on what to communicate, how to do so (for example some guests love a bit of irony while others do not), and through which channel (although most guests seem to think that the room is the best channel).

A red thread in all answers, however, is that hosts should not only tell but also show their commitment to sustainability. For example, if a hotel claims that a donation is made to children's education if a guest chooses not to get the room cleaned, then the hotel should provide proof for its claim. It should for example share with the guest a link to a website where the supported charity is more fully presented, preferably in cooperation with a trusted third party.

In short: telling should go hand in hand with showing.

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