An annual online survey for hotels and resorts has been set up to help increase the sustainable and green practices of the hospitality industry in the Southeast Asia and the Philippines.
This week, US-based travel and hospitality sustainability consultancy Greenview launched the first ever Green Lodging Survey in the Philippines which measures performance and best practices in the hotel and resort industry.
Greenview founder and CEO Eric Ricaurte, in an interview in Makati City on Friday, said that the survey was developed after the firm saw the opportunity to do consulting work for hotels and resorts across the world.
“We spent last few years developing our online data platform to help any hotel get access to best practices and help spread them. That’s our transition -- from just helping corporate advisory for (some) hotel companies to being able to offer expertise to the industry especially in Southeast Asia and the Philippines,” Ricaurte said.
He said the survey covers several aspects of sustainability such as the efficient use of energy, water, light; waste management; carbon emissions and other green programs, community efforts and charitable giving.
The questions are largely yes or no in nature or asking for a range of implementation within the property and that no data are requested.
“As we find innovation across the world, we can spread it so that all hotels in the Philippines can become aware of that. That’s how we see sustainability, something that becomes innovative then it becomes a best practice then it becomes expected,” he added.
Ricaurte said that survey results are kept confidential, however, a public trends report will be eventually produced. Hotel and resort brands may receive results specifically for their properties under ownership or management.
He, meanwhile, predicted that Philippine and Asian survey results will be in the “middle-ground” meaning half will be performing well while half might not.
El-Nido Resort, Pangulasian Island
“A lot of practices will be in the middle. The most interesting data is we conduct the survey this year then conduct the survey next year and see how much has improved. That’s the best story the Philippines can tell,” he added.
Despite serving as a “report card”, Ricaurte said that the survey results will not be given scores. Instead, the survey results will show how well participating hotels and resorts are positioned.
“That’s how collectively we can increase sustainability of the whole rather than a certification or label. We want to push the whole industry,” he added.
Ricaurte described the current state of the hospitality industry in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia as consisting of mostly small, independent and locally-owned hotels and resorts where there is room for growth in making the hospitality industry green and sustainable.
“In terms of actual practices in the Philippines and overall, there needs to be an increase in sustainability. There is opportunity, there is interest, but we want to see a trend in taking adapting sustainable practices,” he added.
To date, Ricaurte said that there are 1,500 leading hotel and resort brands in Asia that have expressed interest in taking the survey. However, from that number, only 15 are from the Philippines.
The Greenview chief, however, said that the firm will have two months to increase this number which allows small, independent and locally-owned hotels and resorts more time to participate.
“We have so many hotels in the Philippines that are independent and smaller that we have to reach. They’re the real ones that can benefit from this help because previously, they might not have had access to these discussions,” Ricaurte said.
He also stressed that the survey will be open to all types of hotels and resorts regardless of not being accredited by the Department of Tourism (DOT) or the agency’s Star Rating system.
However, he emphasized that although DOT-accreditation is unnecessary, it would still be preferable as it “gives more credibility to the information being provided.
“Any hotel in the Philippines can participate and get a benchmark report back,” Ricaurte said. “We think that having accreditation is a basic start to responsive operation for sustainability but doesn’t necessarily have to be DOT-accredited.”
“As a first step, we think that we need to encourage anybody that wants to take a first step to participate. We don’t want to put up any barriers. In future years, we can start working on partnerships with DOT making sure we only admit DOT-accredited hotels and resorts,” he added.
Interested hotels and resort owners may take the survey at www.greenviewportal.com/surveys/greenlodging/. Submission deadline is August 31 with results to be published in October 2016. (PNA)lgi/Azer N. Parrocha