Sustainability Showcase: Dream Hotels and Resorts

In partnership with fanute hospitality solutions we bring you the fifth in a series of articles that highlight sustainable practices in the hospitality sector around the globe.

In the 5th in our series on sustainable properties, we take a closer look at Dream Hotels and Resorts, a collection of 22 properties in South Africa and Mozambique. In 2013, the group introduced an ECO grading system across its portfolio, which includes Blue Marlin Hotel in Scottsburgh, Finfoot Lake Reserve in the Pilanesberg, Le Franschhoek Hotel & Spa in Franschhoek and The Peninsula All-Suite Hotel in Cape Town. “Recognising that our resorts are located in eco-sensitive areas, a strategic decision was made back then to ensure we keep our impact on the environment to a minimum,” says Nick Dickson, Dream Hotels & Resorts (DHR) Director.

Dream Hotels and Resorts appointed environmental expert consultants, Energy Resource Optimisers (ERO), to develop its Sustainable Environmental Management Programme (SEMP). ERO has extensive experience in the hospitality industry. “We created our very own individualised Eco-Grading Status which is linked to the Key Performance Indicators for each resort. This was based on ERO’s SEMP scores which is audited bi-annually. Awards and weighted bonus structures are applied based on scores. ERO is DHRs appointed environmental expert consultants (Energy Resource Optimisers).”

Case Study: Mjejane Bush Camp

One of the properties in the Dream Hotels and Resorts portfolio that ably demonstrates some of the sustainable interventions that have been made throughout the group is Mjejane Bush Camp, which has an Eco Excellent Status. The sustainable initiatives that have been implemented at the property include the following in each category:

Energy Saver Status

  • Staff awareness programs and guest awareness
  • Signage around the resort to make everybody aware
  • Switching off the electricity in chalets when not in use
  • Running our in-house laundry at the correct times of the day as well as ensuring we are running the machines with full loads and not half empty loads
  • Purchasing only energy efficient equipment and using energy efficient globes around the entire resort
  • Having pathway lights and pool pumps on timers instead of having them on at inappropriate times
  • Participating in Earth Hour every year

Water Saver Status

  • Staff awareness programs and signage around the resort
  • Guest awareness
  • Running in-house laundry with full loads and not half empty loads
  • Installed filters onto outlets to ensure no wastage
  • Monitor daily usage by means of a water meter and investigate any high usage
  • Installed water saving shower heads in all chalets
  • Irrigate gardens at appropriate times of the day
  • Using dishwashers only when necessary and on the correct settings
  • When washing vehicles, using a bucket filled with water and not a hose continuously running

Waste Efficiency Status

  • Separation recycle bins in all chalets, separating all glass from tin, plastic, and wet waste
  • Glass water bottles in chalets for coffee machines instead of plastic
  • Back of house recycle centre for sorting and separating of all recyclable materials. These get collected or taken to the appropriate places.

Carbon Footprint Status

  • Environmentally friendly retractable pens in all our chalets
  • Firewood sold in shop is rotationally sourced
  • With every chalet opened for occupancy they try to plant at least 30 trees around the chalet without removing or damaging too many during the building phase
  • Always participate in Arbour day / Spring day by planting numerous trees

“We definitely had financial savings in mind, electricity, water and waste. We saw it as a revenue generator (filling beds by being eco-friendly), but overall, it was the right thing to do, regardless of leveraging off the positive environmental message,” says Dream Hotels and Resorts Director Brent Dickson when asked why it was decided to make sustainability a facet of their operations. “We saw it as an opportunity to be an industry leader instead of late adopters. With sustainable travel at an all-time high, it’s imperative that industry players not only follow suit, but rather drive this initiative.  We did our extensive research, saw it was a need.”

finfoot-segwway-safari

To illustrate the need for sustainable properties, Brent shared some statistics from Booking.com:

  • 68% confirm they are more likely to consider choosing accommodation knowing that it was eco-friendly
  • 36% would choose eco-friendly accommodation because it provides a more locally relevant experience
  • 75% are happy to have linen and towel changes less frequently due to the environmental impact
  • 64% are happy to accept a higher price for accommodation at an eco-friendly hotel

Since its inception in 2013, the Sustainable Environmental Management Programme has seen excellent results. “It was initially implemented at six of the 22 properties, and then extended to the rest once the results were in. We have experienced financial savings on electricity consumption, water usage and waste,” says Brent. “We have not adopted an ‘efficiency at all cost approach’. We sought to introduce efficiency as and when the opportunity arises.”

walking-trails-at-mthimkulu-wilderness

The Programme monitors Water Saver and Energy Saver Status, as well Waste Efficiency Status and Carbon Footprint Status. “Now that we measure our waste and identify high users; we

Case Study: Mjejane Bush Camp

One of the properties in the Dream Hotels and Resorts portfolio that ably demonstrates some of the sustainable interventions that have been made throughout the group is Mjejane Bush Camp, which has an Eco Excellent Status. The sustainable initiatives that have been implemented at the property include the following in each category:

Energy Saver Status

  • Staff awareness programs and guest awareness
  • Signage around the resort to make everybody aware
  • Switching off the electricity in chalets when not in use
  • Running our in-house laundry at the correct times of the day as well as ensuring we are running the machines with full loads and not half empty loads
  • Purchasing only energy efficient equipment and using energy efficient globes around the entire resort
  • Having pathway lights and pool pumps on timers instead of having them on at inappropriate times
  • Participating in Earth Hour every year

Water Saver Status

  • Staff awareness programs and signage around the resort
  • Guest awareness
  • Running in-house laundry with full loads and not half empty loads
  • Installed filters onto outlets to ensure no wastage
  • Monitor daily usage by means of a water meter and investigate any high usage
  • Installed water saving shower heads in all chalets
  • Irrigate gardens at appropriate times of the day
  • Using dishwashers only when necessary and on the correct settings
  • When washing vehicles, using a bucket filled with water and not a hose continuously running

Waste Efficiency Status

  • Separation recycle bins in all chalets, separating all glass from tin, plastic, and wet waste
  • Glass water bottles in chalets for coffee machines instead of plastic
  • Back of house recycle centre for sorting and separating of all recyclable materials. These get collected or taken to the appropriate places.

Carbon Footprint Status

  • Environmentally friendly retractable pens in all our chalets
  • Firewood sold in shop is rotationally sourced
  • With every chalet opened for occupancy they try to plant at least 30 trees around the chalet without removing or damaging too many during the building phase
  • Always participate in Arbour day / Spring day by planting numerous trees

have seen a reduction in our food costs due to limited food waste. Chefs are conscious of food waste as it is now monitored,” says Brent. “All the resorts have energy baselines and are monitoring their consumption against occupancy on a monthly basis. Since most facilities utilise boreholes for water, we have installed water meters to get an understanding of the water consumption and costs. We have set a target of 200 litres per bed night sold by 2020.”

Regarding waste management, Dream Hotels and Resorts is currently assessing the volume and type of waste it produces, aiming to reduce water to landfill by 30 percent by 2020. Six monthly assessments are carried out at each location to an innovative scorecard to monitor progress.

The Water, Energy and Waste Efficiency statuses contribute to an overall Eco Status: “There was a need to provide recognition for the properties’ efforts, and since the SEMP programme provides a score for the progress in each of the three priority areas – energy, water and waste – it was decided to give these scores a ‘face’, which is what we refer to as the ECO Statuses, which was developed and driven by the DHR team.”

While reducing usage of scarce resources is obviously a huge benefit, the Dream Resorts and Hotels team have also seen behavioural changes in staff mindsets in all facets of the business.

How are you embracing sustainability in your establishment? We’d love to hear your stories! Send an email to sarah@augmentcreative.com and tell us more.

More about fanute

fanute is a specialist hospitality solutions company. We believe that by being innovative in our thinking and adventurous in our actions, we can provide valuable services to the market, and in just a small way, help to save our ailing planet.

We are not afraid of being first or in being the only player in a space – because we love starting with a blank piece of paper and designing our own future.

We’re obsessed with sustainability, simply, because we are all stewards of our environment – and for us this includes our beautiful land, our people and culture and our very scarce natural resources.

We help because our linen rental business drives scale in the short-term lettings industry, which means no more washing linen with domestic machines or walk-in laundromats, which consume huge amounts of water and energy.

And our near-waterless industrial laundry systems deliver meaningful savings of those same scarce resources, offering the only real innovation in laundry in over 60 years.

For more information, visit the fanute website.

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