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Sustainable transition in the hotel industry


Sustainable transition in the hotel industry

Sustainability builds new relationships between hotels and their guests

We use our expertise in the interplay between people and energy technology to help the hotel industry develop a greener profile.

There is a huge untapped potential for energy and resource savings in the hotel industry as more and more guests search for hotels with a green profile. According to the association for the hotel, restaurant and tourism industry in Denmark (HORESTA), hotels can both unlock new business potential and save costs by introducing energy-saving, sustainable measures – not only while the guests are staying at the hotel but also afterwards.

With this project, HORESTA seeks answers to these questions:

  • How can hotels engage their guests in technology-based measures to save energy?
  • How can hotels use a green agenda to build lasting relationships with their guests?

The Alexandra Institute is primary knowledge partner in the project and is responsible for driving the project in collaboration with our partners. The project findings will be used to develop and test prototypes.

We know from previous studies (for example in the PROAK project) that substantial energy savings can be achieved by combining energy technology with measures that target consumer behaviour. This includes measures that require no overt action on the part of the user, as well as measures that seek to encourage users to actively change energy behaviour to achieve energy and resource savings. 

We investigate how this mechanism can be used by the hotel industry to create growth and new customer segments.

The project includes these phases:

  • Initial workshop with project partners
  • Anthropological studies of hotels and guests
  • Concept and prototype development
  • Test of prototypes
  • Preparation of visual report with recommendations and tools
  • Final workshop with partners
  • Communication and knowledge dissemination

The Alexandra Institute is a leading expert in research-based energy anthropology. We develop methods and generate knowledge that benefit our project partners and industry in general.

In this project we conduct anthropological fieldwork (observations and qualitative interviews) in collaboration with the hotels involved. The observations will be done at the hotels, and the qualitiative interviews will be carried out with the hotel management, staff and guests.

Then we develop a set of digital and/or analog prototypes that aim to nudge the guests to actively embrace and participate in sustainability initiatives while they are staying at the hotel. Another set of prototypes aim to help the guests stick to their sustainable practices after their stay. This enables us to determine what measures are the most effective in a specific user context – and why, and we gain valuable knowledge that can be disseminated to and used by other hotels.

Finally, we present the results of our analysis in a report that also provides guidance to the hotels on how to involve their guests in energy- and resource-saving measures and build lasting relationships with their guests – even after their stay.

The purpose of the project is to provide knowledge and recommendations that enable HORESTA to advise hotels on how to involve their guests (in the right way) in energy efficiency and sustainability initiatives. 

Strong focus on energy-efficient operation is one of the methods available to hotels to achieve a sucessful sustainable transition. It is our experience from the project Green Business Development that energy-efficient operation is an important first step in the sustainable transition process, which later spreads to other business processes and corporate strategies. 

In this project we collaborate with two environmentally friendly hotels that already have energy and resource savings on the agenda:

Green Solution House on Bornholm and Guldsmeden Hotels in Copenhagen and Aarhus.

Other project partners include:

Innovation network Smart Energy (Inno-SE)
Aarhus University – Herning, Department of Business Development and Technology

The project is funded by Inno-SE with DKK 300,000, of which DKK 220,000 is allocated to the Alexandra Institute. Private co-funding is another source of funding.

Knowledge about people’s energy behaviour is crucial for reducing energy consumption. 
Contact us to learn more.

Manager – Intelligent Sustainability
People, Technology and Business Lab
+45 30 23 66 22
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