Thursday, 8 December 2011

How hotel chains can learn from Scandic

When most of us think of Eco-Tourism we think of the small lodge in the jungle which is solar-powered, and recycles all the human waste etc etc.  But the reality is that it's not just a field for small independent operators any more.  Many of the chains are starting to make serious commitments to both the environment and their local communities.

I'm not going to do a deep case study of the Scandic Hotel Chain, although I think it's probably worth doing at some stage so, perhaps keep an eye out for that.  Basically put, Scandic is a mid range hotel chain from Sweden, with both a strong offering for business travellers and families, the Scandic chain is spread through out the Scandinavian countries, and is gradually expanding into other countries in Northern Europe.  But what marks out Scandic from most of the other hotel chains in Europe is that their Sustainability Programme reads like a "how to guide" to Sustainable Hospitality.

They started developing their programme back in 1993, hats off there, certainly well ahead of the curve, and they have been refining it and improving it ever since and quite frankly it really shows.  I imagine one of the hardest things to do if you start an environmental policy from scratch is knowing where to start.  In looking through their comprehensive programme, you can see that they worked and worked on it.  

I can't deny a degree of self-interest because we list a number of their hotels.  But the main reason is because our whole ethos at is to take the word "Eco" or "Sustainable" or "Ethical" and not have these terms that just mean something to special interest groups but to put in into the mainstream of travel.  And by focusing on Scandic, perhaps we can push some the other hotel chains to thinking about how they can improve and actually bring a degree of competition to eco policies within the larger hotel groups, to have the most developed eco offering for their customers.  

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