Travelodge CEO: the secrets of a sustainable stay

When you think about the role of sustainability in transforming industries, your mind likely jumps to the energy sector, to farming or maybe to construction.

It probably doesn’t arrive immediately at hospitality – but maybe it should.

Travelodge CEO Jo Boydell explains the valuable role hospitality can play in helping the UK reach its net zero targets and outlines how Travelodge is establishing long-term success across its own eco goals.

The hospitality sector accounts for approximately 15% of the UK’s total greenhouse gases and generates 920,000 tonnes of food waste each year.

It’s also the third largest employer, with huge social and community impacts – providing flexible employment for local communities and affordable, quality experiences for customers.

At Travelodge, we know that sustainability and ethical consumption are front of mind for guests, too.

A 2023 report found that 76% of global travellers plan to embrace sustainable travel plans during 2024, and Travelodge’s own 2024 Travel Trends Report found that over half of adults surveyed prefer responsible travel options.

As a sector we have a responsibility, but also an opportunity, to evolve and help create long-term change through our environmental and social impact. This shift is also important to help meet and anticipate the changing needs of our customers.

The hospitality sector has made considerable progress. Collectively we have cut carbon emissions by an average of 12% last year alone and strengthened social impact through initiatives that increase diversity and support staff safety, health and wellbeing.

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Building on this important progress and creating long-term change will take active planning, careful implementation and sector-wide collaboration.

Travelodge eco-priorities

Alongside the opportunity, the hospitality sector faces its own unique challenges as it works to address its environmental impact. Tackling many of these challenges requires concentrated, long-term action to create a brighter collective future. For our sector, these priorities broadly centre around:

Resource efficiency

Energy and water efficiency measures are key to reducing impact. For example, installing efficient water systems in hotels can reduce energy used for heating water by up to 60% as well as reducing water consumption by up to 50%.

Behavioural change at a customer level and encouraging guests to be more mindful of what they use is important, too.

Reducing waste

As a sector, we generate a significant amount of food and plastic waste. While re-evaluating traditional waste management practices is essential to tackling this, it’s also vital to think about how we can enable circular behaviours across hotels – from the products we supply and customers use, through to disposal and recycling.

This involves managing complex supply chains with a wide range of suppliers – from food to bedding and toiletries – all of whom must be engaged in our effort to minimise waste and enable circularity.

Sustainable buildings

Across our industry, facilities have a long lifespan – approximately 80% of the buildings that we will be using in 2050 already exist. Refurbishing these buildings to improve energy and heat efficiency is also crucial, as is ensuring that the waste from doing so is managed responsibly.

Working with our suppliers, Travelodge has managed to divert 97% of waste from landfill from our 2023 hotel refurbishments.

We’ve also ensured our new Travelodge hotels yet to be built have sustainable building specifications embedded at the design phase to address sustainability at the outset – including choosing building materials with a lower environmental impact.

The future of hospitality

When we think about what we want the future of hospitality to look like, we must consider the people that will power it: our employees and our customers. Dedication to our teams and our diverse customer base is what enables hospitality businesses to foster social mobility, creating jobs and driving change in the communities we’re part of.

This starts with ensuring our businesses are inclusive places to work, building the right teams and equipping our people to drive change at a hotel level. Development programmes are key to this – empowering our people throughout their careers to take positive action.

Ultimately, we believe that sustainability – both environmental and social – is key to long-term success and should be at the heart of everything we do as a sector.

At Travelodge we recently launched our third annual sustainability report, outlining our progress since launching our Better Future plan in 2022. We have made strong progress across our three core pillars of being inclusive, caring and conscious — but we recognise that this is only the beginning of our journey.

There is much more work to do – both for us as a business and for the broader sector. By working closely with and learning from industry bodies, policymakers and other hospitality operators, we can share learnings and develop initiatives that deliver impact across the sector.

Together, our collective action and drive will help to ensure a sustainable stay for hospitality and Travelodge – both today and tomorrow.


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