Is Sustainability a Challenge, a Problem or an Opportunity?

What is sustainability? A challenge, problem, or opportunity? With Ziva, we embark on this journey to decode the essence of the hospitality industry.

When leaders of the 193 United Nations (UN) member states agreed to a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for achieving sustainable economic growth, environmental protection, an end to poverty and inequalities, and improved health and education, it represented an urgent, global call to action for all countries and the firms and consumers functioning within them.

However, for bosses and hoteliers, this requires a radical shift in mindset, a departure from conventional models towards uncharted territories. The challenge lies not just in implementing sustainable practices but in embracing the uncertainty that accompanies change. In this article, Ziva will shed light on whether sustainability is a challenge, a problem or an opportunity for players in the hospitality industry.

Getting hard-to-sell-sustainability-strategies through the door

Sustainability-related ideas rarely get big budgets. This is due to the fact that they seldom generate direct sales. When it comes to the realm of hospitality, sustainability encompasses all aspects of businesses, including environmental, social, and economic considerations. This entails that hoteliers must adopt a forward-thinking approach and allocate sufficient resources to execute a thorough and impactful strategy. Businesses have to find a way to balance short-term profits with their long-term health. Within Vietnam’s budding sustainability landscape, a tiny seedling of a green campaign may raise concerns. Are we prepared to weather a temporary financial dip for the greater ecological good? In the usual business climate, such a notion might face a swift gust of rejection

In the field of corporate sustainability, such win-win ideas are few and far between

A decision about a marketing campaign or strategy that is clearly known for its contribution to profit is pretty simple. However, as previously mentioned, sustainability may present itself as a concern with implications for the not-too-distant future. The impact of sustainability, like other branding considerations, can only be accurately assessed once it has been put into practice. It remains uncertain whether its implementation will result in sales growth, cost reduction, or enhanced brand value. But sometimes, hoteliers, managers and investors have to make decisions even if the win-win ideas of sustainability are few and far between. While sustainability may not be the primary focus of the hospitality industry, its absence would leave hotels, restaurants, and resorts lagging behind in the race and undervalued by today’s discerning consumers.

An opportunity for increase in customer’s perception and loyalty in long-term

According to a research article from Journal of Environmental Management in 2023, an important truth comes to light: sustainability truly evokes potential improvements to customer–organization relationships, not just only a way of marketing. A symphony of empirical evidence comes together to show a clear, melodic resonance: an improvement in organizational image, an orchestra of building trust, and a crescendo of user-organization identification. All of these things work together in harmony to create a grand finale of more loyal users. Therefore, it could be an opportunity for operators in Vietnam to boldly pursue sustainability strategies and create experiences that are both sustainable and attractive for customers.

According to Ziva’s expert opinion, “Delivering excellent services and addressing sustainability-related issues for customers can genuinely become a driving force for building a strong customer connection and earning their loyalty.” Environmentally conscious choices do not diminish users’ positive experiences. In fact, they often enhance these experiences. Therefore, investing in environmentally friendly technologies, services, and products is essential. Moreover, attracting employees and suppliers to your mission of providing customers and travelers with the sustainable experiences they seek is crucial.

In the grand tapestry of commerce and consciousness, sustainability dances as a challenge, a problem, and an opportunity. It dares us to confront convention, to embrace uncertainty, and to craft solutions that harmonize with our planet’s heartbeat. The question isn’t whether sustainability is a challenge, a problem, or an opportunity—it’s how we choose to perceive and shape it on our journey towards a more harmonious and prosperous world.