The (Green) Recovery Imperative: Hospitality Re-Set Or Bouncing Forward?
— 15 experts shared their view
COVID-19 has exposed many of the weaknesses in our industry in terms of risk and hazard management, contingency, and resiliency plans but also in the way we blindly deal with our environment. Crises, as damaging as they may be, trigger opportunities in product, service, and systems innovations. Investing now in climate resilience is an enormous economic opportunity as governments and the industry are looking into economic recovery. From clean energy to carbon-neutral buildings and from farm to fork strategy, the hospitality industry has the unique opportunity to be at the core of this transition, helping to shape the transformation and leading to a new, sustainable post-COVID-19 normal. So is the industry ready and willing to bounce forward into a green recovery or rather bounce back to the pre-COVID-19 norm? What components and resources are necessary and how do we go about activating a 'green recovery' in hospitality?
Associate Professor at Institut Paul Bocuse
Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on the point of view, a bounce back to the pre-COVID world is unlikely. Leisure travel will eventually recover. However, business travel may never reach the volumes seen earlier, as the crisis could finally prompt the long-predicted conversion to online meetings and permanently shrink this segment. This, of course, is good for the environment but not so for the industry.
Therefore, the road to recovery is unclear. Plenty of research suggests customers prefer and endorse responsible and green practices. The subsequent questions are 1) which of those practices truly matter to the customer, and 2) how hotels can meet this demand for sustainability and convince customers of their genuine good intentions. One possible solution is to convert the sustainability approach from developing separate initiatives to creating responsible and sustainable experiences that are meaningful to the guests. This would require the application of techniques used in experience design to sustainability and transform the field into a new direction for a green recovery.