Tech Watch: Smart strategies in sustainability, technology

Sustainability. The word is everywhere. It infiltrates our social feeds, news feeds, podcast episodes, education programs and water cooler conversations as we contemplate how to build better, greener, more responsible businesses. It is a concept that has floated around for many years while steadily gaining traction in the hospitality industry. But there is plenty of sound reason for the persistent drumming of this catchword into our conscience. Adopting sustainable practices is critical, especially in the hotel industry—one widely known for its generous consumption of energy and resources.

Most recently, for myself, sustainability was the topic of a panel I took part in at the 2023 Americas Lodging Investment Summit alongside Michael Chang, VP energy and sustainability at Host Hotels & Resorts; Lauren Sandler, director ESG at Greenview; Robert Mandelbaum, director of research information services at CBRE Hotels’ Americas Research; and Ralph Miller, president at Inntegrated Hospitality Management.

The session examined the importance of environment, social and governance investing in the lodging industry—how many of today’s guests consider ESG a top priority when making their travel plans and how hospitality companies seek ways to reduce their carbon footprint at the behest of investors. Calls for social responsibility and climate risk management have become too great for the industry to ignore.

As an educational association in the realm of hospitality technology, HFTP regularly explores the latest industry trends and hot topics through the commission of original research, as well as initiatives like the HFTP/MS Global Hospitality Business Graduate Student Blog Competition and Entrepreneur 20X, our hospitality technology startup pitch competition. So, from whom have we seen a great deal of interest in smart sustainability strategies during recent years? The answer is students, scholars and startups.

Students and startups represent the future, and the future is what we leave to them. They have such incredibly high stakes in the advancement and betterment of the hospitality industry. We only stand to learn from their enthusiasm, passion and perspective when it comes to solving the industry’s biggest problems, including energy use and carbon reduction, and developing sustainable, socially responsible business practices.
Read promising student research on HFTP Connect. Learn about emerging hospitality technology startups on the E20X website.

Frank Wolfe is the CEO of Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals.