Provide a brief background/overview on your business.
INNHotels is a Canadian family-owned business. Ten unique properties all situated within hours of the Rocky Mountains that focus on value and above all great service. The company was built from the ground up and remains dedicated too giving back to communities and sharing a passion for hospitality. The INNHotels family is influenced by the strength of character and pioneer spirit of its founder and is involved in many new economic and community development initiatives.
Why was committing to improving sustainability an important decision for your business?
For those of us in the hospitality industry, appreciation and care are in high regard and to succeed you must have a love of service. We truly appreciate the incredible beauty that is woven into the character of our locations, and we truly care for our staff and guests. All of the INNHotel locations and the people that live, work at play in them depend on us to find more sustainable ways of business. In order for our businesses to thrive we must remain aware of our footprint and stay creative in the face of global changes.
How many of your hotels have been GreenStep Certified?
All ten hotels have been certified through GreenStep, and the hard work of each green team member representing that property. Eight of our locations are at a Silver designation, with the other two currently certified Bronze.
What benefits do see from sharing your sustainability story, including your Certification designation, with your guests and staff?
The benefit of sharing our story would definitely be letting people know we care about sustainability, and hopefully inspiring others to not give up on making small changes to make the world a better place. It can be overwhelming to consider all of the systems that may need to change in the future, and sharing our steps helps keep us on track.
What sustainability measures do you currently implement within one or more of your properties?
All of our properties participate in Soap for Hope. We collect all used amenities and donate the left-over soap and lotion. The incredible volunteers at Soap for Hope build care packages that support over 250 Canadian community facilities. They diverted 136 110 pounds from the landfill in 2022 and supplied over 2 million hygiene products to those in need!
Our toiletries are 100% enviro-friendly products with biodegradable packaging so even after Soap for Hope is done with the containers, they are not a burden on the environment. For the same reason we switched to biodegradable garbage bags at all of our locations.
What positive impacts, or benefits, have you noticed since beginning your sustainability journey?
One of the benefits of being on this journey is having teams of people help us become more sustainable. Once you start down the sustainability path you can find multitudes of networks, not for profits, programs and free information if you are willing, and able, to put in the time. This kind of work ‘takes a village’ and great friendships are created in the process.
What are some goals and/or actions you are currently working on, or plan to work on?
We are currently working on a project to divert waste from the landfill by collecting food scraps and composting on site at each of our locations. We could benefit from lowering our waste removal bill and our landscaping will definitely benefit if we are successful in distributing that compost once complete.
What is one piece of advice you’d offer other business owners looking to improve their sustainability?
Look for other groups or businesses that align with your sustainable vision and that inspire you. Don’t let the task of becoming sustainable become daunting, but take small steps with the help of others that have already built frameworks. For instance, we recently discovered Veritree, a company working to plant trees and restore ecosystems, and loved their ‘boots on the ground’ approach. Their modern technology and commitment to transparency inspired us and now we are part of their efforts to restore the Williams Lake area after being devastated by wildfire.
Where, or how, do you recommend a business get started on their path to operating more sustainably?
Take the Sustainable Tourism 2030 Pledge and start work on your assessment to become GreenStep Certified! The assessment is a great tool to build your action plan from, and to guide staff through the many facets of becoming a sustainable business. The team at GreenStep are supportive professionals that are always available to answer questions and provide direction.
To learn more about INNHotels, visit: www.innhotels.com