World Panel
Viewpoint27 May 2020

Hygiene and Sustainability: How to make both work?

Sustainability in Hospitality

— 17 experts shared their view

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Hygiene and Sustainability: How to make both work?
This viewpoint was created by
Franziska Altenrath, Co-Founder at TUTAKA
Franziska Altenrath
Co-Founder at TUTAKA

Hygiene seems to me a bit like an iceberg. Only a small part of the package is visible to the eye. These days we see hospitality brands: 1). Overdoing it on the visible elements of hygiene. Busy cleaning personnel, signs, and cardboards to increase the experience of hygiene for the guest. 2). Competing for their guests' trust and confidence to be onto the invisible elements of hygiene as well. Marriott reminding guests of their long history of hygiene perfection, IHG issuing a “Clean Promise”, Accor developing their own hygiene label.

Now, overstretching on the “hygienic experience” is just the same as confidence-eroding greenwashing. However, confidence is becoming the ultimate currency for guests to return to hotels. The path to confidence-building ultimately requires careful consideration of different factors, including sustainability. Panic moves to re-introduce single-use items will do nothing good and erode trust. Hygiene, as an Austrian expert told me, is all about crystal-clear standards and processes as well as well-trained personnel.

From a procurement perspective there are many options to combine hygiene and sustainability. Examples are zero waste solid soap dispensers, chemical-free cleaning devices, eatable single-use gastronomic items, and many more. Reliable, loyal, and happy personnel will be more important than ever. It is thus time to move away from seeing humans as resources to acknowledging their potentials. Communication-wise now would be a good moment to switch from classical “veiling” campaigning to “revealing” communication. Guests are ready to go beyond shiny hotel lobbies. 

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