In recent years, “going green” has become a hot topic that both hoteliers and tourists find interesting. So what is an overview of the “going green” situation in hotels in Vietnam?
Sustainable tourism is becoming increasingly popular as 70% of international travelers said that they would be more likely to book an accommodation knowing it was eco-friendly, whether they were looking for a sustainable stay or not (Booking.com, 2019). The number of sustainable travelers is on the rise, so the eco-friendly element becomes a prerequisite for hotels in the world as well as Vietnam.
Practice “going green” among hotels in Vietnam is not a new topic, however, each hotel segment has a different application based on their facilities and operation.
The driving force of “going green” among hotels in Vietnam
Currently, “going green” is no longer the trend hotels use to advertise or polish their names. In addition to travelers shifting towards more environmentally responsible, hotel owners and hotel managers have also begun to change their perceptions and become more responsible for protecting the environment in a sustainable way. Therefore, hotels are getting increasingly creative as they keep searching for new and different approaches to protect the environment.
Hotels in Vietnam adopt green practices not only because they want to be environmentally responsible but also to support the local community. In addition to applying green practices, these hotels also organize public campaigns to raise the awareness of people in order to help the local environment to be greener and better for future generations.
The current stage of going green among hotels in Vietnam
Green practices both in Vietnam and around the world are not just encapsulated in common and familiar actions anymore. By changing awareness and becoming more environmentally responsible, hotels in Vietnam are also becoming more proactive in adopting green practices in a variety of approaches accordingly to different stages: from the idea of constructing a hotel with green buildings to using environmentally friendly materials during operation.
In addition, hotel managers in Vietnam also understand that without their employees partaking in green practices, the hotel will not be able to “go green”. They argue that the importance of adopting green practices to protect the environment lies in the people who implement them, which means it is crucial for all employees in all departments to practice “going green” together. Therefore, they create a green culture in their hotel to raise the awareness of all employees about environmental protection, helping employees create the habit of applying green practices in all daily activities.
Barriers hotels face when going green
Although hotels in Vietnam are changing their awareness and are more proactive in protecting the environment, there are still some barriers and difficulties in applying green practices thoroughly due to insufficient capital investment, unfavorable hotel location, lack of official green labels proposed by the authority, dependence on guest satisfaction and employees turnover.
The cost of construction ideas and investment in facilities to build a “green” hotel will be much higher than a normal hotel. Therefore, investors will have to wait longer before they receive any return of investment.
The location is also a barrier that makes it difficult for hotels in urban areas to construct green buildings. In Vietnam, there is yet no official green guideline, making it impossible for hotels to build and apply green practices in a systematic and efficient manner. Besides, guests choosing 3-5 star hotels will have certain expectations corresponding to the amount of money they have spent and these expectations are often the opposite of green practices. The final barrier is employees turnover: personnel changes in hotels usually make it difficult to train new employees the awareness as well as the habits of being environmentally responsible.
After COVID-19, in the near future, hotels are facing a big problem of tightening their spending to reduce operating costs to maintain their business. This will be quite a challenge for hotel managers because it is an arduous task to choose which feature to cutdown. In particular, hotels that are adopting green practices should continue to implement these measures because this is a long-term trend that tourists will increasingly be interested in and can become a vital factor affecting the decision of traveler. Besides, applying green practices in the long term also helps the hotel save operating costs such as electricity, water, detergent, etc.
“Going green” has become a global trend in many countries and economic sectors are changing perceptions about the application of green practices, especially the hotel industry. The hotel industry in Vietnam, as well as the whole country, is also not out of this development trend. Therefore, the focus on developing a going-green hotel in the future is very important as this decision can leave a huge impact on the sustainable development of the hotel in the future.
*Conclusions and information in the article are from the report Stage of Going Green Movement among hotels in Vietnam (Outbox Consulting & Informa Markets (Vietnam), June 2020)