As part of Virtuoso’s ongoing commitment to sustainable travel, we’re profiling the experts, trendsetters, and industry leaders making a difference in sustainable tourism today. Here, a conversation with Michelle Devlin, the general manager of London’s Egerton House hotel and the sustainability leader for Red Carnation Hotels.

Michelle Devlin

 

Sustainability is becoming the new normal. It’s clearly of increasing importance to our hotel guests. For example, the idea of not changing bed sheets and towels daily is no longer inconsistent with five-star service – it’s something our guests expect. Red Carnation Hotels was one of the earliest hotel groups to offer this option to conserve water and reduce use of detergents. Any financial savings we reap from laundering less, we donate to local charities.

Guest behaviors are changing in other ways too. Increasingly, they arrive with their own reusable water bottles and ask us to fill them, and they’re glad to hear that we’re not only reducing single-use plastics, but that we’ll remove them entirely from our hotel collection by 2022. We’re now asked questions on issues such as food miles and recycling, and I can only envisage that travelers will challenge the hospitality industry to do even more in the future.

The future of sustainable hotels. Part of our mission is to make a positive impact in local communities, to protect wildlife and marine life, and to care for the planet we all call home. There needs to be a change in the travel industry’s notion of sustainability as an add-on to it being a standard part of operations. I actually think sustainability and exceptional guest service are inseparable.
Interviewed by Costas Christ

Top Photo: Red Carnation Hotels

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