Hotels welcome visitors from all corners of the world and many hotel guests are becoming increasingly concerned about the sustainability of the businesses they visit. In fact, in a survey of 72,000 Hilton guests, one-third said they prefer hotels with environmental and social programs. For guests younger than 25, that number increased to 44%.
Guests also share an expectation that they should leave a hotel as healthy as they were when they arrived. However, some guests are sensitive to ingredients found in conventional cleaning products. This is, of course, an issue for housekeeping staff as well since they are in constant contact with cleaning products. In fact, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) lists respiratory illnesses from cleaning products as one of the major hazards of hotel cleaning.
There is good news: By carefully selecting cleaning products, hotels can support guest and employee well-being and minimize their environmental footprint in the process.
Customers can play a role in encouraging hotels to practice sustainable procedures. Hotel management can make positive changes by taking customer suggestions seriously: one survey found that for 44% of hoteliers, guest comments led to a change related to sustainability.
In general, when it comes to limiting a hotel’s carbon footprint, properties should consider the two “W’s”: waste and water. When selecting cleaning products, keep the following in mind:
- Generate solutions on site. Consider a system that converts soft water, salt and electricity into highly effective but safe cleaning chemicals on-site. This allows hotels to replace single-use packaging with refillable bottles, which reduces landfill waste. It also eliminates the shipping required for traditionally packaged chemicals and reduces carbon emissions.
- Find products that reduce rinsing. Surfaces cleaners that leave behind no chemical residue are ideal because they don’t require rinsing. This helps limit water use.
- Check credentials. Find cleaners and disinfectants that meet Green Seal™ standards and are recognized by LEED as a part of an effective green cleaning program. The endorsement of a trusted third-party organization lends credibility to the effectiveness and sustainability of the solutions.
Healthy, Happy Guests
According to NIOSH and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), “many factors influence whether a cleaning chemical will cause health problems.” Some aspects to consider include the ingredients, the application, ventilation in the area of use and whether it comes in contact with skin. Chemicals in some cleaning products can irritate the skin and cause rashes or even burns.
To avoid these issues, consider ready-to-use solutions with no irritants, additives or fragrances. Hotels should also implement a cleaning program that doesn’t require employees to mix or dilute chemicals. This eliminates the risk of someone accidentally creating a toxic mixture of chemicals that has the potential to be fatal. Safe and sustainable chemicals are not only better for housekeeping teams to use, they eliminate the risk of allergic reactions for guests.
Check into Green Cleaning
For safe, environmentally-friendly cleaning, find a system that generates cleaning and disinfecting solutions on-site. This approach can help your hotel reduce water and waste and improve the safety of your guests and staff. In addition to being the smart way to clean, it can offer your hotel a powerful competitive advantage when marketing your property.