Hospitality & Tourism Management


Over the past many years, sustainability and ‘going green’ movements have gained critical attention. The sustainability policies have also become an essential attention point for hospitality and tourism managers all around the world (Glion, 2012). Today every hospitality company in this sector is attempting to comply with sustainable activities to improve environmental resources and communities (Cynthia, 2013).

Multiple factors have contributed toward sustainability in hospitality sector for managers. First of all, owners and operators always seek reducing operational costs. Second, investors today show very different attitude toward the environment, due to an increasing awareness of corporate social responsibility programs in surrounding; and last, an increased attention is made on facility operations and development by a general shifting in ‘sustainability’ paradigm, which makes its quite important to understand and apply sustainable activities in hospitality and tourism (Barber, et al, 2011).

It has been signified by several researchers and authors that managers at large face some key issues while managing sustainable operations in an organisation. Some of these include facility and operation management, training programs to teams, accessing to finance, investment issues and creation of positive corporate culture, for improved sustainable operations.

Key research issue

Sustainability has been quite a challenging paradigm and also intrinsically difficult to quantify, where other aspects of hospitality are quite convenient to measure and interpret; like occupancy percentages, capitalisation rates, RevPAR, etc. In such a scenario, it is quite challenging for hospitality and tourism managers to align sustainability in company, by considering social, environmental, and financial and many other aspects in view (Deal & Barber, 2012).

Another challenge for the managers is to ensure realisation of sustainable hospitality operations, whereby best use of core organisational resources is very important, for improving organisational efficiency while reducing environmental hazards is important, which requires creative sustainable solutions (Deal et al¸ 2009).

In short, the whole discussion of this research report will yield possible solutions on two key issues, which hospitality and tourism managers face, in the run of sustainability in hospitality companies:

1. Managing changing travel needs of Green consumers.

2. Making best use of core organisational resources while performing sustainable operations.

Research methodology

To address the above key issues, the project is divided into two sections:

1. Examining the current available literature on existing topic.

2. Examining the brief case studies of four season’s hotels and resorts, Marriot, and Starwood Hotels and Resorts Inc. to see that how they have managed the needs of green consumers and used organisational resources in a best way to perform sustainable operations.

3. Analysing the data collected from case studies and available literature to extract key issues that managers face in managing sustainable operations in the organisation.

Case Studies

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

There are several sustainability and environmental friendly programs that Four Season Hotels is incorporating currently. All these programs are served to protect environment, serve local communities and also enable managers to face the challenge of sustainability appropriately (Four Seasons Hotels, 2013). Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts faces water consumption, waste management, and operational level training issues; however, it manages these issues properly. One of the big challenges for the organisation is to increase shareholder value and convince customers and investors on significance of these issues related to sustainability. Some of the initiatives that the hotel chain has taken in this regard are as under:

• Managers design programs like planting millions of trees around the world – to preserve and protect the environment

• Supporting cancer research programs, Olympic Games, and donating in apprenticeship programs

• Protecting sea turtles in Nevis and elephants in Thailand

• Local communities meeting and events – to communicate with local communicates directly, and getting a chance to leave a lasting impression on attendees.

Marriot International

Marriot International is a leading name, which has also been significantly known for its contributions toward environmental protection programs. The company has plans to reduce energy and water consumption up to 20% by 2020, building green hotels and encouraging partners toward green hotel development, implement conservation and preservation programs and address environmental challenges through innovative initiatives (Marriot, 2013).

Marriot has been contributing on organisational level to give technical training to its relevant workforce regarding sustainable operations. In order to implement these programs, Marriot has also been facing the challenge of using core organisational resources in best way and spread awareness regarding going green moments. The company for this purpose has been educating its guests and inspiring the associates on constant basis, regarding environmental conversation, rainforest protection and water conservation, encouraging using recyclable products and participating in such programs (Marriot, 2013).

Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc.

Starwood Hotels has been contributing in the legacy of consume care, corporate social responsibility and global citizenship (Starwood Hotels, 2013). For this, the management has been using organisational resources by ensuring the following aspects:

Policies and reporting – policies are formulated, which all the employees have to abide by and implement, to do right things for all stakeholders.

Environmental protection programs – this specifically addresses the issues like, reducing energy and water consumption (30% by 2020), reducing waste emission, enhancing indoor environmental quality and supply chain.

Foundation and relief funds – with a strategic focus, the purpose is to help communities, specifically those in disastrous situation, or suffering from large scale act displacement.

Analysis and discussion

It is evident from case studies and literature review that all organisational management faces certain issues related to sustainability at one level or other in their businesses. Sustainability is one of the critical issues today, which cannot be overlooked, due to growing environmental and health concerns. Sustainability has become a key component in corporate world, where it has gained significant attention and therefore, in hospitality sector as well, it has gained momentum. From the entire literature review and case studies given above, following key issues can be identified that managers face in hospitality sector pertaining to sustainability.

Optimising operational efficiency

In order to ensure sustainability in hotels, managers at first confront with the issue of operational efficiency and the resultant expanse control majorly in three areas: that is, energy, water and waste. Timothy (2007) also argues that in hotels, the energy consumption is largely in form of HVAC operations, cooking, fuel, lightening facilities, and several other requirements. Water consumption and waste management are some other major issues.

Core organisational resources and Cost Saving

Another key issue is to bring sustainable procurement with a clean indoor environment quality and training programs; however, all this involves certain cost, which is another issue for the managers to consider. As examined above, several hotel chains have been considering cost saving issues in implementing sustainable operations. It is quite evident that the world is consuming more energy sources than necessary for their living. According to Philip et al (2013) given the competitive nature of all sectors, sustainability has become a challenge now to manage properly.

Compliance with CSR policies and regulations

In existing environment, regulations are related to hazardous material management, managing environmental health and safety, storm water management and many others. In policy instruments, the concept of Life Cycle Assessment of products has gained attention (Joseph, 2012). Some other sustainable factors to manage are to increase guest experience and an investment in environmental technology can leave a positive impact on customers.

Sustainable operations and creation of positive corporate culture

Today attracting and retaining competent workforce is also dependent of positive corporate culture. For example, a survey conducted in 2007 reported that 80% of U.S young professionals are more inclined toward jobs with sustainable operations and 92% consider environmental friendly jobs as their major priority (Philip et al¸2013). All big names in hospitality sectors consider corporate culture and brand image as necessary tools and therefore, they have been investing more in sustainable operations and their management.

Sustainable performance and investor requirements

Public or private sectors today consider quantifiable indicators of sustainable performance, and sustainability today is an investable concept. In hospitality sector as well sustainability leaders achieve long-term shareholder value by implementing strategies and plans which focus more on sustainable operations (Irene, 2006).

Access to financing

Energy efficient opportunities are often avoided by managers due to lack of finance. In order to implement sustainable operations in hotel, financing issue is often faced by the managers.

Operational training

Even if the financing issue is resolved, efficient designs for energy efficient processes require proficient operational procedures (Irene, 2006). It involves creating a harmony and communication between facility operators and design teams, if new build or renovation perspectives are involved. This certainly increases the need for technical training of workforce, to make process as required.


Sustainability issues are faced nearly in all stages and aspects by the managers. They face sustainability issues at managerial development as well as operational levels. Managers are also concerned to receive positive financial performance driven by sustainability factors to strengthen their organisation. In this paradigm, some major issues identified in this research assignment are managing operational efficiency at times of environmental sustainability in the organisation, cost saving, compliance with CSR policies and regulations, reflecting positive corporate culture, considering investment requirements, access to financing and operational trainings.


Based on all the discussion, literature, analysis and findings, following recommendations can be helpful to managers, while managing sustainable operations in their organisations:

To achieve desired results, the managers should focus on reducing energy intensity by acquiring help from engineering, technical and related commissioning approaches. For instance, light retrofits, reduction of plug loads, and building envelope sealing are included in these initiatives. Likewise, some other measures can be equipment development, proper sensor standardisation, removal of immediate heating and cooling issues, and maintenance of proper building ventilation. Renewable energy resources are another recent technological advancement, which may help here. For water conservation, plumbing system improvements and recycling of water or rain water are a good option. To manage waste, several strategies can be used; like, acquiring vendors who provide ‘waste-to-energy’ processing services, which can reduce costs.

Opting desired performance of equipment and personnel can resolve cost issue to achieve sustainability. Reduction of operational costs and improvement of operational procedures can also reduce cost and help hoteliers to invest in environmental technologies.

For easier access to financing, alternative financing mechanisms can also help; like, energy saving agreements, encouraging financially strengthened parties to participate in environmental improvement projects at global level.

Staff should be given technical training and consistent guidelines on environmental performance and elimination of resource consumption. All these recommendations can be further improved and used in a better way to focus issues that manager face during sustainable operations in hospitality sector.


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Irene, M. H. (2006) Cases in sustainable tourism: an experiential approach to making decisions,Haworth Press, Incorporated

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Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc. (2013) Global Citizenship, Retrieved on: 1st May, 2013: from:

Timothy, L. (2007) The International Hotel Industry: Sustainable Management, Routledge

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