The Business Simulation Blog

The importance of implementing sustainability in the hospitality sector

Posted by Cesim Team on Wednesday, February 01, 2023 | Reading time: 4 min.

Sustainable hotel operationsSustainability is an integral part of the strategy and operations of many businesses around the world, and the hospitality sector is no exception. Historically, the tourism industry has had a profound impact in the environment due to the volume of consumable goods it uses. Implementing sustainable values in the business strategies of this industry is thus a necessity.

Why sustainability is important for the hospitality industry

Before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism and hospitality was the largest and fastest-growing industry in the world according to the World Tourism Organization, and directly or indirectly employed 1 in 10 people around the world. Moreover, the report of the 2017 World Economic Forum pointed out that the sector revenues accounted for 10% of the global GDP, and had a pace of development that was much faster than the global economic development average. It is no surprise that industry leaders understand how vital sustainability leadership is, especially considering that the hospitality sector has already started to recover from the effects of the pandemic.

Incorporating sustainability into the core business strategy can help reduce costs by implementing energy-efficient systems and renewable energy sources, as well as reducing waste, thus lowering businesses' operational expenses. For example, a hotel can cut 20% of its overall energy expenses by using basic energy efficient measures.

Moreover, a sustainable business strategy can help attract environmentally conscious customers and improve the overall reputation of a business. Many travelers are becoming increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of their travel choices and are looking for hotels and restaurants that prioritize sustainability. In fact, a study by found that after the pandemic, 61% of global travelers are willing to pay more for sustainable accommodation.

An additional benefit of implementing sustainable practices includes conserving resources and protecting the environment, which can improve the standard of living and relationship with the local communities. Furthermore, it can also help create a more socially responsible image for a hotel or restaurant.

How to train current and future hospitality professionals in sustainability

Sustainability is a subject that is already being implemented or at least considered to be included in the curriculum of many business education programs. However, the hospitality sector higher education institutions have had a number of hindrances which have kept the implementation of sustainability in their curriculum to a surface level, such as resistance, lack of support, overcrowded curricula, and a profitability-oriented mindset of the program.

Many times, sustainability is included in the curriculum of hospitality education institutions as a single course, instead of being included across the whole program. In fact, experts consider that it is a necessity for schools to equip students with skills and tools to address a wide range of sustainability issues. Additionally, it is important to challenge them to see themselves as part of a global community where sustainability is part of a lifelong learning process.

Business simulations can be used to teach students how to analyze and solve real-world sustainability problems in the hospitality industry. By assuming the role of hotel or restaurant managers, students have to make decisions that impact not only the economic performance of the hotel, but also its environmental and social footprint. Simulation participants learn how to respond not only to their decisions but also to those of their competitors, and also enjoy an engaging and interactive learning experience that increases their motivation, engagement and knowledge retention.

Regarding the training of professionals already working in hotels and restaurants, business simulations can be used to create scenario-based learning experiences where employees can practice and develop the skills needed to make sustainable decisions in a real-world setting. Business simulations can also be used to showcase how the decisions in a particular department affect the overall organization, allowing employees to understand the consequences of their decisions and the impact it could have on the business and the community. Moreover, business simulations can be used to benchmark the sustainability performance of a hotel or restaurant against industry standards and best practices, which can allow employees to identify areas for improvement and develop action plans for achieving sustainable goals.

For some time now, business simulations have been playing an important role in providing hospitality professionals of today and tomorrow a deeper understanding of the intricacies and nuances of the work life in their industry sector. Moreover, during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, these educational tools have played an even more relevant role in the training of students of the sector around the world. The latest iteration of our hotel and restaurant management simulation, Cesim Hospitality, includes environmental, social, and governance (ESG) decisions and results in addition to those regular to the hospitality business.

Cesim Hospitality offers an engaging and hands-on approach to teaching and putting hospitality concepts in practice such as as revenue management, menu engineering, housekeeping, maintenance, staff management, and procurement, as well as ESG decisions and results. With fully integrated ESG decisions, teams can incorporate sustainable development goals into their strategy and operations while improving financial performance and delivering value for all stakeholders. Teams’ performance along the ESG metrics influence their hotel’s attractiveness to the clients, thus creating a potential competitive advantage.

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Tags: hospitality, hotel, restaurant, sustainability

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