Topic: The Implementation and Barriers of Malaysian Green Hotels
Green building is the practise of increasing the afficiency with which buildings and their sites use energy, water and materials and of reducing impacts on human health and the environment for the entire lifecycle of a building. However, green building also is about creating building that optimize on the local ecology, use of local materials and most importantly built to cut power, water and material requirements. Nowadays, tourism industry had negative impacts on the environment, so that this industry prepare to move towards sustainable tourism (Yusof et al., 2013). Pizam (2009) define the green hotel is alternatively known as “sustainable”, “eco-friendly” or “environmentally friendly” properties. According to Deraman et al., (2017), to increasing the number of establishments with green practices in hotel industry, there are a lot of efforts in creating awareness. Green hotels is refered as hotel that provide quality services that had more environmentally friendly in term of efficiency and minimal usage of energy, water, and materials (Lanjewar, 2015, Deraman et al., 2017). According to Yusof et al. (2014), in 2014, there are twelve green hotels and resorts in Malaysia listed but there are many hotels and resorts practising green approaches in their operation.
1.2 Literature Review
1.2.1 The Implementation of Green Hotel
According to Deraman et al. (2017), there are many benefits that hoteliers can reap from the implementation of green practices such as increase profits, reduce cost and liabilities, create good image towards guest and increase brand value. The world’s first 100% ecologically-friendly hotel was Innovation Hotel made by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) in 2008. The green features of that futuristic hotel included the forwarding of all unused non-perishable food to charities, solar panels on the roof to heat water, a rainwater harvesting system, a roof garden, windpower for electricity, furniture snd fittings from recycled materials and household waste to provide heat and power. Deraman et al. (2017) said that many manager think the chance to preceived a cost-saving with green practices is merely just an assumption and not reality. Based on previous study by Tzschentke et al. (2008), factors that many hotel managers are rreluctant to implement green practices in their hotel are requiring huge amount of capital and it would be a nuisance for the hotel managers especially during an economic downturn. However, Harvard Business Review (2009) stated that green practices becoming environment-friendly business can reduce the operational costs and increase revenues. The consumer support is one of the factor for the implementation of the green hotel. Most consumer did not know about green practices in any building especially in hotel. It is also because of people rarely go to hotel. They will going to hotel whenever having holiday or out station work. From that, they had lack of knowledge about green practices in hotel. Moreover, people nowadays had become more concern about environment and it demanding the lodging industry to be more responsible in taking care of the environment (Deraman et al., 2017). For the green practice in hotel, manager must be able to find the suppliers of green products. Furthermore, the main factor of the green practices is from employee support to give a good product and accommodation to guests. According to Deraman et al., 2017, employees or staff personally must involves in conserving the nature and they should be trained to be eco-friendly staff.
1.2.2 Barriers in Implementing Green Hotel
According to Yusof et al., 2014 stated that natural environment and tourism have very strong relationship. By designing and constructing the green hotel, T.Knowles (1995) and Yusof et al. (2014) mentioned that this greening does not seem to be successful as originally hoped after two decades of efforts. There are some barriers faces by hoteliers in the hotel industry in Malaysia. The study conducted by Yusof et al. (2014) regarding the barriers indentified twelve barriers encountered by hotel operators which are high implementation cost, high maintenance cost, lack of green information and knowledge, lack of green experts, uncertainity of outcome, lack of resources such as man power and equipment, lack of support from owner and management, lack of government regulation and enforcement, difficulty in balancing the quality of service with environmental performance, lack of consumer supports, lack of networking with green suppliers and difficulty in managing and training staffs.
1.3 Research Methodology
To find the factors that involve in implementing the green hotel, lots of articles, journals and previous studies were used to get information about the topic. After that, the similar points factors were identified and studied the most critical point in each of the points. Next, for the identifying the barriers of green hotel in Malaysia, qualitative method was used. A set of the questionnaire was prepared with questions were asked regarding the barriers. The questionnare was answered by the operator of green hotel that involve. Before that, barriers are identified from the literatures using content analysis method. Beside that, interview session also had done with the environmental managers of green hotels.
1.4 Result/ findings
The discussion made by Deraman et al., 2017, resorts considered that green practices had high cost while hotels have no serious problems about operation cost. Besides, majority of the consumers were concered about environmental practice. Different guests have different choose of hotels they want such as guest that looking for cheap hotel have less attracted of the programme. Furthermore, employee support also need to be considered in implementing green practices. Chen (2016) said that the research of employees’ willingness to comply with hotels’ green practices is low than study on guest behaviour. Baker (2009) and Deraman et al. (2017) stated that the management must give a good example to the employees in supporting green practices. As a result regarding to this issues, studies agreed that consumer support was the most influence factor in implementation of green practices (Barnes, 2017, Han et al., 2011, Sloan et al., 2004, Stark, 2009, Deraman et al., 2017)
According to the study by Yusof et al., 2014, the common significant barriers faced by the green operators are lack of green experts and lack of resources in term of manpower, green equipment and difficulty in balancing the quality of service with environmental performance. Besides, there were barriers that operators in Malaysia did not face that challenges which are lack of green information and knowledge, uncertainty of green outcome, lack of support from the owner and management, lack of consumer supports and lack of networking with green suppliers. Green hotels in Malaysia face few barriers in green practices because they have very good support from their parent company and guests.
In general, the implementation of green hotel is not easy. There are many factors that influencing the implementation of green hotel which are the cost, consumer support, and employee support (Deraman et al., 2017). The most factor that influence is the cost. Vernon et al. (2003) and Deraman et al. (2017) had identified the main obstacle is the hospitality operators assume green practices would come at a cost. Throught out the studied by Deraman et al. (2017), they found out that the cost was a less significant factor because it is actually depends on the financial strength of the hotels or resorts. Instead, employees can be started with low cost and simple project that can be implemented.
Based on research by Yusof et al. (2014), they summary up the findings that most of the hotel managers were desagree about the high implemention cost of green practices because hotels are chain affiliated which have strong financial support from their parent company. Next, managers agreed that there are no problems in getting information about green practices, the owner of hotels are very supportive towards green operation, lack of green experts and resources such as manpower, they were aware of the outcome by green practices, green operation does not have high maintenance cost, they were facing difficulties in balancing between guests’ needs and green practices, guests are very supportive towards green operation and green vendors and suppliers had a good networking to them. Furthermore, not all managers agreed about lack of government support and enforcement and not having problems about managing and training staffs.
In conclusion, people nowadays starts to be more aware about environment and they also begin to care about it. From that, it can be influence their purchase behaviour and preferrences in choosing a hotel and they will consider green hotel as an option. This is supported by Laroche (2001) and Deraman et al. (2017) mentioning that the decision in choosing a hotel is based on significant effect of people’s awareness on the environment. The ways of reducing, reusing and recycling nature resources is the key sources of sustainable competitive advantages (Anton et al., 2004, Potoski ; Prakash, 2005, Wang, 2012). People with strong environmental attitudes would be more concern and responsible about environment issues. So, green hotels would be their choice to the positive environment attitudes. The implemmentation of green practices are very good to preserving the environment. It give many postive effects than negatives effects. Furthermore, this topic can give and help hotels operators in Malaysia to understan the barriers that they might be face in the future. It help them to prepare beforehand. It is highly rezommended for hotels managers to take steps to well aware of current issues and challenges before they decided to adopt green practices or not.