How Analytics Can Help Tourism Operators Reduce Their Carbon Footprint


Photo by Alesia Kazantceva

Tourism is responsible for almost ten percent of the world’s total emissions, so how can the tourism industry exist in a way that allows for sustainable fun?

Analytics may have an answer to this question. By taking a look at the numbers, the hospitality and travel industries can work on cutting down emissions, and ensure that there will be beautiful natural landscapes to visit well into the distant future. 

In this article, we will look at how analytics can be used to help tourism operators reduce their carbon footprint. 

Corporate Responsibility

Why should tourism operators even care about reducing their carbon footprint? Operators in any industry have to focus primarily on profit. It sounds cynical, but is it really?

Corporate responsibility absolutely involves making sound, profit-motivated decisions. However, it’s also true that sustainability satisfies several key business considerations. 

Mitigates legal culpability. If businesses pollute and destroy natural resources, there may be legal consequences down the line. Fines, sanctions, and of course, damage in the public eye. 

Satisfies ethical considerations. Very few people want to pollute and destroy. Sustainable business practices satisfy the basic human ethical impulses that are common to most people. 

Sustainability is….sustainable. Finally, the tourism industry isn’t worth peanuts if there aren’t cool places that people want to go. Pollution and high carbon emissions destroy beautiful things. Sustainable business practices prefer them, helping to ensure that there even is a tourism industry in the future. 

With the right numbers, businesses in the tourism industry can make sensible, often affordable decisions that help to reduce their carbon footprint. 

Analytics Help Identify Waste

One of the easiest applications of analytics in the tourism and hospitality industries is to look at what is being wasted in the first place. 

Scenario. The owner of a mega-resort on a Caribbean island has become aware that her hotel is the primary source of emissions on the island. How did the young girl who used to reuse a water bottle for at least two weeks at a time grow into this?

She does some soul-searching and decides to reduce waste in every way that she can. She does all the standard things. Switches to renewable energy. Takes advantage of smart appliances to further reduce waste. 

What else can she do? 

Well, taking a look at her hotel’s numbers, she finds out that the laundry room is one of the primary sources of energy use in the entire building. Turns out her policy of giving guests a fresh set of towels and sheets every day of their stay isn’t sustainable. 

So, she switches things up. Now guests have to request fresh linens. The result? Laundry room emissions dip by half in the first week. 

Data can be used in just this way across many industries — identifying what is wasting the most energy and allowing travel professionals to find ways to reduce the waste. 

Smart Booking

Data and AI algorithms can also be used to help airlines, and other transportation businesses maximize the impact of each departure. Naturally, planes, trains, and buses contribute significant carbon emissions. A vehicle that uses fossil fuels will never be entirely clean from a sustainability perspective, but the more people who use the vehicle at once, the more bang you get for your emissions buck. 

In other words, nearly empty flights are a big no-no. Through analytics, airlines and other businesses operating in the transportation sector can optimize their schedules to ensure that more vehicles leave the station full of passengers. The result? Less waste for them, and for mother earth. 

How to Use Numbers Effectively

Data analysis at the highest level is handled by professionals. You can certainly find good results with a “do it yourself,” approach, but for the most part, you’re going to want to invest in the services of a professional analyst if the goal is to make a significant impact on your environmental efficiency. 

While there are many types of business analysts, all of them perform fundamentally the same job: evaluating a business’s efficiency relative to their specific goals and helping to make recommendations that help them achieve those goals. 

Do your research to find the right professional for your needs. 

Sea Going Green is a sustainable tourism consultancy that help clients in the tourism industry measure and mitigate their carbon footprint while going one step further with strategies to help manage their environmental impact.

Schedule a call to learn more

 In this article, we look at how analytics can be used to help tourism
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