Big Data’s Impact on Sustainability in the Hospitality Sector

How to achieve growth in a more sustainable and responsible way in the hospitality industry has been a priority for some time.

While the industry can act as a positive economic force, it’s also true that the growing number of people travelling each year poses additional challenges including greenhouse gas emissions, resource management, as well as the impact on local communities and cultural assets.

On the other hand, sustainability is also becoming one of the key factors in many travellers’ decision-making process. While travelling, hospitality clients are increasingly seeking to uphold the eco-friendly habits they have implemented in their daily lives. The industry therefore has now to adapt as to reflect its client’s environmental commitments.

In recognition of such long-term challenges, organisations such as the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are working towards advancing tourism’s contribution to the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, with an emphasis on the SDGs most linked to tourism. At commercial level, there are also resources being committed and initiatives launched dedicated to more sustainable practices. Accor, for example, is committed to reducing food waste by at least 30%, alongside plans to make all future owned and leased hotel developments and renovations 100% low carbon by 2020.

Whether it’s reducing food waste and water consumption or lowering carbon emissions, at  Mazars we expect technology to have a key impact on how the hospitality industry works towards more sustainable practices in a number of ways:

Machine Learning

As the hospitality industry uses technology to offer highly customised services, data on guest preferences for food, temperature control, and preferred activities can also be used to manage resources and stocks much more efficiently. Through machine learning and energy-management technologies hotels can, for example, reduce energy consumption by automatically responding to guest room occupancy patterns and adjusting the thermostat to conserve energy for heating and cooling needs when a guest is not in the room.

Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT and big data are increasingly underpinning systems that allow hotels to control and monitor water flow and temperature. For example, Hilton has its own digital platform that can gather data from across its global portfolio, allowing it to analyse how its hotels are managing energy performance and drive improvements.

Big Data Management

On a larger scale, the UNWTO World Conference on Smart Destinations held in June 2018 explored the idea of how the tourism industry, by continuously and accurately measuring, integrating and analysing data for more efficient decision making, prioritising and anticipating challenges, can improve accessibility and inclusivity along the entire tourism cycle: before, during and after the trip. Smart destinations take into account residents as well as tourists, using tools such as remote sensors and big data management systems to help capture and process large volumes of data to gain a greater understanding of the impact of tourism to help predict and manage tourist flows. These smart destinations factor in multilingualism, cultural idiosyncrasies and seasonality into tourism planning in order to manage destinations, products and services more sustainably, as well as eliminating barriers to mobility.

Looking ahead, how enterprises apply such technology will increasingly come under the spotlight from both an organisational and regulatory aspect. Understanding such challenges is key, alongside the expertise required to provide professional advice and support on a global scale. Such understanding is reflected in Mazars’ proven ability to meet the needs of our clients in the hospitality industry, with a clear focus on guiding businesses so they can respond to new developments practically and efficiently to help fulfil the demands of guests who are looking for a more sustainable travel experience.

To learn more, please download our Mazars 2018 Global study on AI in the hospitality industry “Artificial Intelligence: A Game Changer in the Hospitality Industry”