Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Sustainability Management in the Hotel and Cruise Industry to 2012

There is rising awareness of the importance of corporate sustainability management, even in times of financial crisis. The implementation of sustainability practices throughout the value-added chain, comprehensive product responsibility and a clear commitment to preserving natural resources are high priorities of success.

London – July 12, 2011 – The sustainability management budgets of buyer companies in the hotel and cruise industry are expected to rise by approximately 12% over the next twelve months, with 65% of the total respondents surveyed expecting an increase. ICD Research’s survey indicates that ‘attracting new customers’, ‘positive outcomes for the environment’, and ‘cost savings’ are considered to be the major reasons for such an increase.

Buyers predict reasonable increase in profitability
Approximately 67% of buyer respondents believe that the adoption of sustainability practices will have a positive impact on the profitability of their organizations. The growing sense of optimism surrounding sustainable practice is enhanced by the confidence of hospitality executives that current market conditions will continue to create positive buying opportunities, led by investment activity from private equity and foreign investors. In addition, sustainability will become strategically important for buyer companies during the next two years.

Sustainable practice is focused on the reduction of electricity consumption, water costs and waste generation, and the development of innovative products and services. Global warming and the depletion of petroleum reserves are motivating buyers in the industry to review energy usage and consider alternatives. To reduce the impact on the environment, it has become necessary to control the consumption of fossil fuels, and to turn to clean technologies and renewable energy.

Influencers of supplier selection
The ICD Research Industry Survey 2010 identified that the majority of buyer companies consider waste minimization and the use of recyclable products to be major criteria for supplier selection.

Although buyer companies have established policies to incorporate sustainable procurement, they are yet to include reporting GHG emissions as a specific criterion for selection. Companies that have already implemented, or are the process of implementing, these measures are doing so due to other factors such as cost reduction, waste reduction, corporate reputation and competitiveness.

Buyer investment in green initiatives
In total, buyers across the hotel and cruise industry are planning to invest approximately US$70 million of annual procurement budgets in green initiatives. Investment is likely to focus on the procurement of products and services in areas such as ‘IT, software and services’, ‘housekeeping systems’, and ‘interior design and furnishings’, as these are considered to be the most important sustainable procurement areas for hotel buyers.

Sustainability is more important post-recession
While approximately one-third of hotel and cruise operator respondents consider sustainability to ‘more important’ following the recession, almost a quarter are of the opinion that sustainability is ‘a leading priority’ post-recession. Approximately half of hotel and cruise operators have implemented, or are in the process of implementing, ‘increased staff education on sustainable management’, while the majority have not yet reduced, or are not planning to reduce, staff from sustainability-related teams.

Demand for sustainable products and services
The demand for sustainable products and services is expected to be higher from developed countries. In developing countries, government bodies and regulatory authorities are focused on attracting investment into the economy, which reduces the priority of environmental concerns and sustainability issues. Due to the unwillingness of government bodies and low awareness levels of stakeholders of sustainability issues, the demand for sustainable products and services may be low.

Buyer organizations unwilling to pay more for sustainable products and services
Only one-quarter of hotel and cruise operator respondents predict that the majority of customers would be willing to pay more, or switch products and pay more, for ‘greener products and services with a lower environmental impact’. This indicates that while the demand for sustainable products and services is high, consumers are not necessarily ready to pay a premium price.

Major drivers of adoption of sustainable practice
Buyers rated ‘attracting new customers’ as a key factor in the adoption of sustainable practice within their organization, followed by ‘cost saving’ targets. Rising populations and increasingly scarce resources will provide a challenging business environment, in which sustainability will need to be enforced within all areas of the hospitality industry. Responses also indicate that while mass tourism was largely producer-driven in the past, the industry today is becoming increasingly consumer-driven. In competitive markets, well-informed, responsible consumers are increasingly pressurizing companies for greener products and services.

To purchase the full version of the report, ‘Sustainability Management in the Hotel and Cruise Industry 2010–12: Market Opportunities, Hotel and Cruise Industry Buyer Demand, Post-Recession Dynamics and Business Trends Forecast,’ please click here.

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