Sustainability Sets the Stage for Today’s Luxury Guest Experiences

Procurement Service Providers can help luxury operators’ source eco-friendly products that meet travelers’ demands and create authentic, one-of-a-kind experiences

By Annie Davidson 

Environmental responsibility and sustainability are driving hotel guests and restaurant patrons to be hyper-aware of the sourcing behind the meals they are eating, accommodations they are choosing and solutions they use during travel (i.e. water bottles, cutlery). In a recent article titled “The Next 5 Years: Future Hospitality Industry Trends You Need to Know,” Diana Verde Nieto, co-founder and CEO of Positive Luxury,  said, “Millennials – who have officially bypassed Baby Boomers in the workforce – are twice as likely to support hotel brands with strong management of their sustainability and social goals.” For them, sustainability plays an important role and is a differentiator in the future of hotels.

According to the Top Trends in Hospitality 2019 report, “one of the biggest challenges facing luxury brands is becoming and staying relevant for a new generation of clients.” The study predicts that consumers under 35 will account for more than half of the global personal luxury goods purchased in the market by 2025. For the luxury hotel segment to become and remain relevant to this group of reigning travelers who will be instrumental in driving revenues through 2034, operators should consider doing more than just providing lavish hotel accommodations and serving trendy dishes. Delivering authentic experiences not found elsewhere will go a long way towards attracting and retaining new guests. That means filling each stay with localized food and beverage items and one-of-a-kind amenities to elevate the overall experience. But that is just the first step. 

To truly separate one luxury destination from the next in the minds of Millennials, operators can choose to source responsibly from suppliers who enforce humane practices and ensure the highest standards for human rights, labor, the environment, and anti-corruption are being met. Operating more efficiently is possible by reducing food waste (possibly growing food onsite or sourcing food locally), requesting eco-friendly packaging, eliminating plastics, moving to plant-based proteins, and offering healthy food options made from scratch. 

Implementing these practices may be a challenge for hoteliers to go alone, but thankfully, operators of luxury accommodations can turn to their Procurement Services Providers (PSPs) for support, guidance and other value-added services. A PSP will not just help properties save money on core products; they can also assist with sourcing and contracting suppliers offering sustainably sourced food products and sustainable amenities that define the experiences desired.  

Of major importance to this demographic are creative, sustainable, and plant-based cuisines, and the ability to accommodate varying dietary restrictions. Here are a few sustainability trends that luxury hotel and restaurant operators may want to consider in 2020:

  • More and more luxury hotels are committing to sourcing cage-free eggs. IHG, Best  Western, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, Radisson, Wyndham and MGM Resorts recently announced their commitment to sourcing 100 percent of eggs (shell, liquid and egg products) from cage-free sources globally by 2025. Finding farms that raise cage-free chickens for eggs can be difficult, but a PSP can bring a unique perspective on this challenge to assist luxury operators with finding the right farms to meet their sourcing needs.
  • Eco-friendly packaging, plant-based proteins, revamped classic cocktails, specialty burger blends (mushroom-beef burgers, etc.), and unique beef and pork cuts are also on the minds of today’s Millennial travelers. By mixing old with new, and combining classic comfort foods with something radical, travelers will achieve a more sought-after dining experience. Strategic sourcing and purchasing are making this type of experiential transformation possible.
  • Sourcing local is another key opportunity for hoteliers to improve their carbon footprint by working with local distillers, farmers and purveyors who can also help

By Annie Davidson