How to Carry out the Transition towards a More Circular Tourist Activity in the Hotel Sector. The Role of Innovation
2. Literature Review
2.1. Circular Economy: New Rules of the Game
2.2. Benefits of the Transition from a Linear Business Model to a Circular Business Model
2.3. What Factors Facilitate or Difficult This Transition Process towards a Circular Business Model
- At the macro level, global political agreements to reduce climate change, the globalization of economies and the development of new consumer cultures based on new social networks, promote and allow innovations in companies and industrial and technological networks (micro level)
- At the meso level, policies to promote innovation at the micro level and economic incentives aimed at companies and individual markets (support for renewable energies, recycling in construction, …)
3. The Transition towards a Circular Model in the Hotel Sector
3.1. Opportunities and Benefits of the Transition towards Circular Business Models in the Hotel Industry
- Reuse of textiles: Reuse broken sheets, towels, aprons, tablecloths to make laundry bags, aprons, children’s bedding, small covers, etc. Replace single-use items such as napkins, tablecloths and hand towels for reusable items.
- Reuse of containers: Implementation of reusable container systems to reduce freight costs, etc.
- Reuse of bottles and glasses: Bulk drinks or bottles for reuse (Legrand et al. 2016).
3.2. Some Examples of Circular Strategies in the Hotel
- Waste management business models relevant to the hotel sector. They consist of adopting business models of waste management as part of their product line. Hotels can sell used textiles and bedding, hotel restaurants can sell food waste, grease from their sewage sludge and other cooking resources, while spas can sell gray water with specific qualities and chemicals.
- Ecodesign business models. Ecodesign as a business model can be applied to all furniture and products and devices related to energy. The ecological design in the renovation of hotels and in new constructions is treated in more detail when we analyze the potentials of CE in the hotel services.
- Leases of products. The tourism industry already offers that type of leasing services for tourists, who leave everything that cannot fit in a suitcase/car at home and rely on provision frames in their place of accommodation or destination. This can be a thriving opportunity for the hotel industry to take a step forward.
- Remanufacturing, although it is more advantageous for large companies; however, the tourist SMEs can conceptualize themselves as an important group of consumers.
- Collaborative commerce in tourism. Use of online platforms for loans of goods that tourists decide not to take with them to the destination such as: Bicycles, canoes, hair dryers, etc. with the local population. An example of this is the Dutch platform Thuisafgehaald (Shareyourmeal) that allows to share homemade food, reducing food waste and strengthening social relationships between foreigners and locals. Another activity is to establish a system through which tourists are invited to the homes of local residents, thus fostering cultural exchange.
- Other relevant circular business models. Hotels can be important consumers of remanufactured products, which helps create demand for those products. They may consider renting laundry or kitchen equipment, and thus obtain the most advanced technology and save on the related maintenance costs (water, electricity, etc.). The reuse of equipment, furniture, cutlery, etc., can be taken into account in the redesign of a hotel or restaurant.
4. A Three-Axis Model for a Circular Destination: The Case of the Balearic Islands
- To design incentives to promote the implementation of CE measures in the tourism sector (i.e., Tax deductions for investment in CE measures/technologies).
- To design laws and regulations that reduce the obstacles to the application of CE measures in tourism businesses.
- To involve the tour operators in the design of a program of awareness and changes in tourist habits.
- To design a branding strategy that enhances the social and environmental benefits of circular practices in the hotel establishment. This will lead to an increase in the reputational value of hotels.
- To raise awareness, train and involve hotel human resources in the design of a circular strategy for the hotel business.
- To involve the resident population in the change towards a CE of the tourist destination.
- To promote social awareness about social and environmental benefits.
- To design a system of incentives/penalties to increase awareness and change in the consumption habits of the resident population towards a CE model.
- New Llei de Residus i Sòls Contaminants of the Balearic Islands (New Waste Law).
- Aid programs for the implementation of environmental quality certifications:
- Awarding of prizes to encourage the creation of ideas and innovative projects that can contribute to the achievement of the circular economy objectives
- Many multinational hotel companies of Balearic origin have designed and implemented CE measures within the corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies.
- In the agri-tourism sector, due to environmental awareness sustainable and CE measures (reuse, waste minimization, use of local products, …) have been developed and implemented, that leads to an increase in reputational value.
- Implementation of the international Cradle to Cradle certification in many hotel establishments (and when they have internationalized in other destinations) that contemplates measures on both water, energy and on the raw materials used in the construction and conservation of hotel establishments whether they are conveniently recycled when the property goes into obsolescence.
- Demand segment via tour operators (TOs): TOs increasingly contemplate that those hotels that do not implement environmental measures do not enter into their offer catalog and those hotels that have more radical sustainable measures can be distributed at higher prices.
- Growing online demand segment: There is a growing importance of the hotel image in environmental terms that may allow price differentiation to be applied by the Revenue Management Department of hotel companies.
- ESADE study 20183 indicates that more and more tourists are not willing to choose a hotel that does not have a distinctive environmental quality, and even those hotels with CE certifications have rates 20% higher than the competition.
- The regional government started a citizen participatory process on the new Waste Law to promote resident awareness on the need to transit to a circular economy.
- The tourism sector offers many opportunities to use vacations as experiments in circularity since normally a tourism trip invites to spend more and to use the services contracted as one desires.
- There is a large field in which to develop circular practices that help to raise awareness among tourists and in the company itself, not only with the sole objective of being more sustainable, but also with a greater awareness that leads to the design of tourism products and services based on the objectives of circularity.
- Hence, tourism acts as a living laboratory, where tourists and company staff experience new habits and more sustainable forms of organization, which will have not only a great social impact but also on the market (companies, operators and tourist destination management organizations) in terms of greater profitability and competitiveness.
- Design awareness programs for tourists about their consumption of resources and environmental impacts of their consumption. For example, informing tourists about the amount of resources consumed and the need of infrastructure to provide the services they purchased,
- Design programs for customers encouraging a change of attitude in aspects such as the generation of waste and possible recycling or reuse thereof.
Conflicts of Interest
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ESADE: Business School. Barcelona. Spain.
|From linear to circular||New vision of the value chain; behaving like nature “from cradle to cradle (McDonough and Braungart 2002)|
|From vertical to horizontal; new business vision||New vision of business. Go beyond the limits of our own company and our sector. Include intermediate segments as suppliers and customers|
|From growing to growing differently||Be able to create more with less. Motivation to innovate|
|From plans to models; move from business plans to business models||Agile, evolutionary models open to change|
|From partial thinking to overall global vision||Change mentalities, be creative. CE is regenerative by design (Ellen MacArthur Foundation 2012). Rupture with programmed obsolescence; avoid waste and the generation of waste|
|Reduce||Overcome rebound effect of eco-efficiency and eco-sufficiency strategies|
|Reuse||Maximum reusability of materials; repair, remanufacture|
|Recycle||Make another product with the waste; business opportunities turning garbage into money.|
|REGENERATE||Regenerate the change to renewable energy and materials; reclaim, retain and regenerate the health of ecosystems; and return recovered biological resources to the biosphere.|
|SHARE||Share. Shared resources (for example, cars, rooms, appliances); reuse or use second-hand; prolong life through maintenance, design for durability, upgrade capacity, etc.|
|OPTIMISE||Optimize. Increase product performance/efficiency; eliminate waste in the production and supply chain; take advantage of big data, automation, remote sensing and management.|
|LOOP||Reuse products or components in loops; recycle materials; digest anaerobically; extract biochemicals from organic waste|
|VIRTUALIZE||Virtualize books, music, travel, online shopping, autonomous vehicles etc.|
|EXCHANGE||Change. Replace the old made with advanced non-renewable materials; apply new technologies (for example, 3D printing); choose new product/service (for example, multimodal transport|
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Florido, C.; Jacob, M.; Payeras, M. How to Carry out the Transition towards a More Circular Tourist Activity in the Hotel Sector. The Role of Innovation. Adm. Sci. 2019, 9, 47. https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci9020047
Florido C, Jacob M, Payeras M. How to Carry out the Transition towards a More Circular Tourist Activity in the Hotel Sector. The Role of Innovation. Administrative Sciences. 2019; 9(2):47. https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci9020047Chicago/Turabian Style
Florido, Carmen, Marta Jacob, and Margarita Payeras. 2019. "How to Carry out the Transition towards a More Circular Tourist Activity in the Hotel Sector. The Role of Innovation" Administrative Sciences 9, no. 2: 47. https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci9020047