Does Anyone Really Care?
I recently read some disturbing comments made by Sudima Hotels director Les Morgan. These were published in the tourism trade newsletter, Inside Tourism.
He had been asked if his company had addressed sustainability issues. His reply was that first, the business had to be sustainable economically. He then went on to say that “We have a strong commitment to social change. So much so we look at every aspect of sponsorship or charity work and weigh them against what we think we should be doing.” He added that employees find it rewarding that Sudima Hotels has these sorts of initiatives in place.
All straight forward to that point.
However, his next comments are the ones that surprised me.
What Do Sudima Customers Value?
The hotel group wanted to find out what value their customers placed on these initiatives. Shock, horror, they found out that their customers simply didn’t care.
Les Morgan’s final comment was, “The sad fact is, unfortunately, many people want to pay less for their hotel, for it to be in a good location (or) for a free breakfast. The fact you are trying to save the world is very nice of you but, unfortunately, doesn’t make a great difference to the large proportion (of guests).”
Meanwhile at River Valley
One of our housekeepers came to me a couple of days ago and said that there might be a complaint about her. Intrigued, I asked why. It was in the customer kitchen and this housekeeper had been attempting to clean it. First, she put her gloves on to sort the rubbish. Even though there are several different clearly labelled bins for different types of waste, (and information about why it needs to be split), common practice amongst many guests is simply to dump whatever into the nearest one.
If you know where River Valley Lodge is, then you will realise that dealing with human generated waste is a massive challenge. There are no commercial waste collection contractors out here!
While physically sorting out the mixed-up waste from each bin, a youngish guest came in and asked where the general rubbish was. The guest was informed that we do not have general waste, and that all rubbish must be split. The rubbish that this particular guest had was a plastic bag containing food scraps and other bits and pieces. This guest took offence that they had to do this and could not simply dump the bag. Our housekeeper was firm that this was what they had to do, or else when they left, they could take their rubbish with them. The guest reluctantly split the bag into its various forms of waste.
These two stories, as outlined above, concern me greatly.
Sitting on the Edge of Catastrophe
Here we are sitting on the edge of a number of environmental catastrophes, and major social problems, and yet, there seems to be an almost overwhelming reluctance for us as human beings to take any action over them. This is from the political and business establishment on down. Talk about heads in the sand.
Simple acts like splitting your rubbish or supporting social or environmental programs take little effort on any individuals part. Or is it that collectively we have given up. Do we think it is too late, or that as individuals we cannot make a difference? Or is it that we simply don’t care? Has the culture of instant gratification and me, me really brain washed us that much?
I don’t know the answer, but what I do know as a human being, a father, a grandfather and a business owner is that we must try. We must try to make sure our children and those who follow inherit a healthy functioning planet.
By the way, if you can’t be bothered to split your rubbish so we can deal with it as best we can, then River Valley is not the place for you to visit.
Appreciate hearing any readers thoughts about this blog, especially do we care less when travelling? Please post any comments on Facebook.
Sorting The Recycling In The Boiler Room
The Pigs Enjoying The Lodge Food Scraps