Why 'I think' hotels should be environmentally aware (from personal experiences)
Updated: Mar 26
Let me first introduce myself,
My name is Mew, I am one of the management team member of POR Thapae Gate hotel
I graduated from INDA Chulalongkorn University, a design school in Thailand.
By chance I have an opportunity to work in hospitality industry starting from waiting tables in a restaurant, cocktail bars to opening my own hostel. My hostel name was HOSTEL by BED and now successfully sold to a new owner. I have grown my passion towards the industry over time. I love traveling to begin with especially meeting new people from all walks of the world is always exciting. Now I have the opportunity to manage this small hotel POR Thapae Gate in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
In this blog, I will be sharing to you about my experience working 5 years in the hotel industry here and how much waste I have been seeing! Also, how hotel operation can do better.
Since Thailand is one of the top travel destinations there are no doubt there are overwhelming amount of waste produce from this industry. Thailand has so many hotels to compromise with its demands. With so many hotels available, business owners try to attract guest by providing the best deal. While having to cut cost for best price and still having to meet expectations Thailand’s hotel industry contributes a lot to the landfill by using cheap cheap plastic amenities and all the single use item hotel provide to guests.
The beginning of awareness
Good for the wallet but bad for the planet. Cheap price comes with a cause. Like every business owner, hotel owners want to make the profit out of their business, therefore they have to fill up the room occupancy.
What are the criteria, what do guest look at before booking a room?
Photos are tastes, locations are given, on the other hand, price and review has to be made.
As competition rise hotel provides more facilities and amenities, television, towel, slippers, WIFI, hot shower, shampoo, soap, breakfast, water, tea, coffee, etc. are now fundamental in every hotel. These amenities are often given in small single use bottles. Like everyone who is on vacation, we tend to over consume over use and also take what is given to use inside the room because we know that
“We paid for it”. Like Ross here,
That “We are taking it because we paid for it” mindset is absolutely correct, but as a hotel manager it is also our responsibility to think ahead and ask ourselves, “Where does these empty mini plastic goes after its empty?” Of course, we cannot rely on people hoping everyone will recycle so I think it is best to not give out any plastic at all.
What can we do to make it better.
At POR Thapae Gate we broke away from that vicious cycle of giving out plastic amenities but still catering all of the fundamentals a hotel should have. I was very skeptical of how our guests will react but our reviews turn out amazing!
This is what we are doing,
1. Recycled paper for our amenities packaging.
2. Refill soap and shampoo bottle minimize single use plastic bottle waste.
3. Bamboo toothbrush instead of single use plastic toothbrushes.
4. Glass water bottles instead of plastic water bottles.
5. Water refill station on every floor for guest who have their own Tumblr to refill when going outside. No plastic wastes.
6. Coffee machine and tea brewer available at our lobby 24hours, 1 machine for hotel with fresh grounded coffee, reduce carbon emission and waste from instant brewing. Also, our coffee beans are from a local store 😊
The eco packaging/ eco amenities are costly than the regulars but I feel that it is the least we can do to contribute less to the landfill. To be honest, I would like to even provide a plant base shampoo and soap for our guest but we cannot afford those with the price we are forced to have. (I hope we will get there someday though, after we have a strong customer base, so please support us.)
What about waste brought into the hotel?
We try our best to educate are team about this especially our housekeeping to separate trash in our hotel. At first, we put out the separated trash where the municipal usually collects, little did I know that it goes to the same landfill and none of our recycled waste arrived the recycling facilities. We contacted many places and found a solution. Now we are working with Chiang Mai municipal’s organization called, GEPP, to ensure the waste are all sent to the correct recycling facilities.
Little by little we start our sustainable routine. I believe that these little changes today will have a huge impact in the future. As someone who loves traveling and enjoys working in hospitality industry, I would like to see Thailand as beautiful as today as it will be in many years after. I will write more about the changes we will make as we go. I hope my little passion with sustainability will inspire someone to do better for our planet as well.
Last but not least, thank you in advance if you are thinking to book us as your accommodation, thank you for your support in our journey to becoming an eco-friendly hotel 😊
Here is a 4 minute video for you guys