Around 1.3 million business trips are taken per year, according to the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). Although this average has declined from 2020 to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people around the world are now eager to connect and return to in-person events and business travel. Indeed, nearly two-thirds of meetings and events professionals have increased their budgets for 2022, and more than a third of travel managers plan to hold 40% or more of their internal meetings at a hotel throughout the year. year. However, organizations and travel planners must recognize that road warriors – and the companies they work for – return to travel changed.
First, being aware of corporate budgets, travelers are planning fewer trips but maximizing time spent on the road, with an increased length of stay of 1.5 days. Additionally, travel planners are investigating how they can reduce the environmental footprint of their travel programs and are seeking environmental, social and governance (ESG) data and reporting tools from partners to quantify the impact that travel their company’s business have, collectively, on the environment and the surrounding community. Finally, travelers not only want to travel responsibly, but they also seek to engage in seamless innovations that reduce friction points around the travel experience.
Last week at the IMEX America conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, Global Business Consulting, the consulting arm of American Express Global Business Travel, presented its new report, “Stay Green: The central role of the hotel in sustainable business travel, meetings and events“, developed in collaboration with Hilton on hotel sustainability practices. The report features research conducted with travel and procurement management professionals in 50 organizations around the world, revealing that while nearly 90% say sustainability is a priority for their business, many are willing to allocate a budget for more sustainable meetings and events, 86% have little to zero. raising awareness of the sustainable development programs of hotel chains. And since most of the organizations surveyed (57%) are at the very beginning of their sustainability journey, many are looking for advice on how to reduce the environmental footprint of their travel programs. The good news is that Hilton has a tool for that.
Innovative approaches for monitoring environmental impact
With an urgent call to act and mitigate climate change risksthe travel industry recognizes that meeting the demand for sustainable hotel innovations is not just a good thing to have, but a need have. Consequently, more and more business travel planners are looking for ESG data and reporting tools to quantify the impact of their company’s business travel on the environment.
An answer to this is LightStay, a proprietary, award-winning tool that tracks, analyzes and reports environmental and social impact across Hilton’s global portfolio of more than 7,000 hotels. Since its launch in 2009, LightStay has helped Hilton achieve a 49% reduction in carbon emissions intensity, a 39% reduction in water use and a 70% reduction in waste to landfill. LightStay also offers a meeting impact calculator, which communicates metrics such as energy consumption, water consumption, and waste diversion to meeting attendees. As one of many industry-leading initiatives Hilton has to offer, LightStay makes it easier for corporate travel planners to measure their organization’s environmental footprint and gives them confidence that they will leave the destination a best place to have been.
As one of the world’s largest hospitality companies, Hilton recognizes its responsibility to protect the planet and the communities it serves around the world. That’s why Hilton launched its 2030 goals four years ago as part of its ambitious ESG strategy. “Travel with a purpose.” Among these goals is Hilton’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint, making it easier for guests to travel in a sustainable and responsible way, and ensuring that the destinations where it operates will remain vibrant and resilient for generations of travelers to come.
As climate science continues to evolve, so does Hilton. After a strategic review of its 2030 strategy, Hilton recently announced enhanced environmental targets, which include reducing the emissions intensity of Hilton-managed hotels by 75% and Hilton franchised hotels by 56%, by 2030. This reduction target is aligned with a trajectory to maintain the increase global temperature at 1.5°C above industrial levels, validated in June 2022 by the Science Based Targets Initiative. Hilton’s franchise properties will also follow closely, having committed to a carbon reduction target of less than 2°C.
These innovative approaches and environmental commitments build on Hilton’s long history as a leader in the hospitality industry by setting specific, measurable environmental goals that promote sustainable operations, minimize carbon emissions and create business efficiencies.
Create a homogeneous and sustainable stay
Recognizing the important role hotels play in the overall travel experience, especially for today’s business traveler, Hilton is committed to providing reliable, friendly service in every hotel, for every guest, every time. And ensuring that the experience meets the individual needs of customers.
Even before the pandemic, travelers had varying levels of comfort with the level of interaction expected from hotel staff. While some seek frequent engagement and hands-on attention, others prefer limited personal interaction. To accommodate those seeking smoother travel, Hilton has explored expanding contactless features in the Hilton Honors app, including the digital key, another aspect of making the guest’s stay friendly, reliable and now also seamless. The digital key allows guests to access the property and their room via their smartphone, which has not only given guests greater flexibility, but has also helped divert over 125 tonnes of plastic waste from landfills since its launch in 2015.
Hilton is constantly innovating to provide guests with as many options as possible for a seamless stay. For example, Hilton offers guests the ability to easily and instantly confirm two or more adjoining rooms at the time of booking, a first in the hospitality industry. Over the past year, Hilton also announced an enhancement to its popular Hilton Honors benefit: early confirmation (up to 72 hours in advance) of free room upgrades, if available, for Gold and Diamond members. Eligible members receive an email and push notification from the Hilton Honors app notifying them of their free upgraded room. And for properties offering digital check-in, the member can easily choose their upgraded room location via the Hilton Honors app 36 hours prior to arrival.
At Hilton, wellness is another key aspect of providing a friendly and reliable stay. As the wellness industry continues to grow, customers want to find balance in their travel routines and are looking for hotels that offer holistic wellness, whether through design elements, fitness offerings, spas or healthier food and drink offers for you. This means the days of business travelers worrying about disruptions to their daily wellness routine are long gone, adding to a relaxing and enjoyable stay.
Hilton is committed to improving the traveler experience and innovating to meet the changing and diverse needs of guests with the right products, services and offers. A testament to this success, the number of Hilton Honors members has increased by 17% since 2019, reaching 139 million members.
Clients and guests have many choices available to them when choosing where to meet and stay, and they now view business travel more holistically to encourage a great, yet responsible visit. Focusing on customer needs that include a seamless, but also sustainable experience will continue to be a driving force for the travel industry as business travel continues to make its long-awaited comeback.
Hilton (NYSE: HLT) is a global hospitality leader with a wallet of 18 world-class brands comprising more than 6,800 properties and more than 1 million rooms, in 122 countries and territories. Dedicated to fulfilling its founding vision of filling the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality, Hilton has welcomed more than 3 billion guests in its more than 100-year history, earned a prominent place on the 2021 World’s Best Workplaces list and has been recognized as a Global Leader on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes for five consecutive years. In 2021, in addition to opening more than one hotel per day, Hilton introduced several industry-leading technology enhancements to enhance the guest experience, including digital key sharing, automated complimentary room upgrades and the ability to book connecting rooms confirmed. Through the award-winning Hilton Honors loyalty program, the more than 128 million members who book directly with Hilton can earn points for hotel stays and experiences that money can’t buy. With the free Hilton Honors App, customers can book their stay, select their room, check in, unlock their door with a digital key and pay for their purchases, all from their smartphone. Visit newsroom.hilton.com for more information, and contact Hilton at Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, instagram and Youtube.