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AHLA Launches Member Sustainability Initiative

The American Hotel & Lodging Association has launched an initiative for members that aims to make operations, meetings and amenities in U.S.-based hotels more environmentally responsible, the association announced Monday.  

The initiative, dubbed Responsible Stay, targets four key focus areas: energy efficiency through innovative technology and improving operations, waste reduction through recycling and other alternatives, water conservation by adopting more efficient practices across laundry, landscaping and food and beverage departments, and responsible sourcing by prioritizing sustainable partners and practices throughout the supply chain. 

According to the association, Responsible Stay builds on AHLA’s existing sustainability practices and will help members shift their operations using various resources, including AHLA’s sustainability committee and new GreenView research initiative, which offers insights and best practices based on sustainability progress tracked across the U.S. hotel industry. The Responsible Stay program also is backed by AHLA’s partnerships with the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, World Wildlife Fund and Department of Energy Better Buildings Initiative. 

The new program follows a steady rise in demand for socially and environmentally responsible corporate sourcing processes. According to BTN’s 2022 Hotel Survey, 41.5 percent of travel manage respondents surveyed in September and October claimed it was “somewhat important” for their organization to source sustainable hotel partners, while 28.6 percent said it was “very important” and 23.8 percent said it was “important.” Only 3.4 percent of respondents said it was “not important.” 

While sustainability practices are clearly of some importance to buyers, it may not necessarily be a decision maker yet, as only 2.7 percent of BTN’s respondents claimed it was “critical” to source sustainable hotel partners and that they would not partner with properties that fail to meet their sustainability criteria. 

“The launch of Responsible Stay is the next step of our industry’s sustainability journey,” AHLA president and CEO Chip Rogers said in a statement, and “we are uniting as an industry to provide a responsible stay for our employees, guests, communities and our planet.”

Some joining that united front include Aimbridge Hospitality, which in a statement said the initiative aligned with its three-year environmental, social and governance strategy and sustainability goals.

Other major hotel brands aligning with the new program include Apple Hospitality REIT, Atrium Hospitality, Choice Hotels International, Crestline Hotels & Resorts, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Hilton Hotels, Hyatt, IHG Hotels & Resorts, Marriott International, Red Roof, Ryman Hospitality Properties, Sonesta International Hotels and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts.

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