ISO 21401:2018 Tourism and related services — Sustainability management system for accommodation establishments – Requirements: A modern vision for management of Accommodation Establishments

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The global interest for environmental and social themes increases the desire of people to experience more sustainable services and products. The client, the tourist, is becoming more and more conscious and responsible and would like to enjoy tourism sustainable experiences.

ISO 21401 standard that has just been published was developed to meet the demands of sustainable tourism development and can be used by any type, size and geographic location of accommodation establishments.

This standard will promote the sustainability agenda and will therefore address issues such as human rights, health and safety, environmental protection and development of local economy.  Essentially, by managing accommodations establishments sustainably there will be a huge value to society.

ISO 21401 define a sustainability management system, including the main aspects of sustainability that should be managed by the accommodation establishments, such as:

  • environmental dimension: water consumption, energy, waste generation and protection fauna and flora;
  • social dimension: the generation of work and income, the valorization of culture and the development of the local community;
  • economic dimension: the prevention of accidents with customers and employees, customer satisfaction and the economic viability of the enterprise.

An sustainability management system is a modern way of doing business. Its implementation allows the accommodations establishments to make its strategic decisions based on information and data related to the positive and negative impacts of the environmental, social and economic dimensions. The adoption of this form of management strengthens the decisions made, contributes to business objectives, reduces costs, improves supplier and community relationships, maximizes guest experience and satisfaction, and improves the image and reputation of the business. business.

Accommodation establishments that implement of the Sustainability Management System based on ISO 21401 will be able to attest to its guests and to the whole market that they are sustainable enterprises. Besides that it will bring benefits to all stakeholders, such as:

  • Community
    • Minimization of negative environmental and social impacts at destination;
    • Increase work and income for the community
    • Improvement in the relationship with the accommodation establishments;
  • Employees
    • Improvement of professional qualification and recognition;
    • Increase engagement and satisfaction;
    • Improvement of the quality of the work environment;
  • Suppliers
    • Increase partnership
    • Development of local suppliers
    • Strengthening the local economy
  • Guests
    • Maximization of satisfaction
    • Increased quality of services
    • Improvement of the tourist experience
  • Local Government
    • Development of destination
    • Strengthening the image of destination
    • Gain competitiveness for the destination;
  • Accommodation establishments
    • Decrease in operating costs
    • Strengthening Business Management
    • Improvement of operational controls
    • Reduce risk and increase opportunities
    • Improvement of the brand image
    • Certification of the Sustainability Management System

The management of the sustainability of Accommodation establishment is the most adequate solution to face the current challenges and to take advantage of the opportunities of the market. To start applying the ISO 21401 standard, it is recommended:

  1. Get to know your Hotel from the point of view of sustainability

Make a diagnosis of the sustainability practices adopted, the current model of business management and how sustainability is applied.

From this, carry out a mapping of the main activities developed in the enterprise, relating the aspects and impacts related to sustainability involved with these activities, always thinking about the three dimensions involved: environmental, social and economic.

  1. Implement Sustainability Indicators

You should quantify the performance of current sustainable management practices. For this, choose and implement a set of sustainability indicators related to the aspects to assess if the practices are actually reducing the negative impacts. This will increase the quality of management decisions to be made.

  1. Define sustainability goals

After identifying the impacts related to the operation of the Hotel and measuring by means of indicators the results it is time to define sustainability goals. Such as reducing water consumption by 10% or increasing guest satisfaction to 90%.

  1. Implement the Sustainability Management System

Implement the requirements of the Management System (ISO 21401) to connect the business strategy with the identified aspects and impacts, objectives, indicators and sustainability practices.

  1. Improve Hotel Performance.

Based on the results obtained and considering all aspects and impacts of sustainability related to your business, plan and implement new sustainable practices and produce improvements in the management of your business.

Have a sustainable management! Make your Hotel environmentally responsible, socially just and economically viable!

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