Are you annoyed by all the talk about sustainability?

Are you sick and tired of doomsday messages and all the things you are not supposed to do anymore in the name of “sustainability”?  Or maybe you just don’t want to be bothered?  You are not alone.  According to the Ecole Hotelier de Lausanne Study, more than 46% of consumers find nothing attractive in sustainability.  And many more are indifferent. 

We are aware that there may be some individuals or groups who are resistant to sustainability due to various reasons such as lack of awareness, misunderstanding of the concept, or misconceptions about the impact it may have on their lives or businesses.

Dr. Margarita Cruz, Assistant Professor, Hospitality Industry Outlook, EHL, 2023

Juliet Kinsman, Sustainability Editor at Condé Nast Traveler, often talks about “sustainability fatigue” in her articles or presentations.  She refers to being consistently confronted with bad news about climate change and the environment where consumers and travelers start to just shut down or give up. 

So, if you are suffering from sustainability fatigue or are indifferent to sustainability topics, let’s have a conversation. 

Sustainability is not about preaching.  It is not about telling our guests what to do or not to do.  Our approach is more educational and inspirational and with a strong focus on connecting with people and storytelling. 

At the Cayuga Collection, we do not use sustainability in our sales efforts.  We know it does not work.  Location, online reviews, and value for the price paid are much higher on the priority list when making a hotel choice.  However, we do share some of our sustainability stories on our websites, social media, and in guest mailings.  And the response is usually overwhelmingly positive. 

Our Woodshop: Sustainable Philosophy at Isla Palenque

For us, sustainability is always about inspiration.  Never about telling our guests what they can or cannot do.   We love for guests to join us on our back of the house sustainability tours where we explain what it means to be sustainable in a simple and fun way. 

Back of the House Tour: Sustainable Philosophy at Senda

We often have conversations with our guests about conservation and best practices in our wildlife or culture presentation.  Or we invite you to just leisurely read our sustainability journal. No, it is not a sustainability report.  It is a collection of stories about our conservation efforts, staff members and where we see the future of sustainable travel.   Check it out here. 

The Cayuga Collection Sustainability Journal

Sustainability can be Sexy.  Cayuga Collection’s Kura Hotel in Uvita is a great example of this.  Locally owned and operated this hotel complies with all the sustainability features of Cayuga, but at the same time is considered one of Central America’s most romantic getaways. 

Kura and other Cayuga Collection Hotels were featured in this article earlier this year called: Clean Conscience – Great Hotels for Guilt-Free Sex.

And of course, at Cayuga, sustainability is about walking the talk.  We did not start sustainable practices when it became a trend or marketing consultants recommended it.  For years, we have been plastic-free.  And our main focus has always been on people.  Without the local communities where we operate, sustainability is not possible. 

We believe in hiring only local staff and offering year around employment as well as career path opportunities to them. For us, this is a fundamental part of being sustainable.

All our staff is local. That includes managers. Meet Allan, who started at Arenas del Mar as a night auditor and has since held management positions at three different Cayuga Collection Hotels in Costa Rica.

We believe that a big part of providing extraordinary service is understanding the experience that our guests live through during their stays.  This is why once a year, all of our staff members have the chance to stay with their families at our hotels as guests (all meals and services included). 

According to Skift Magazine research, guests of Generation Z do not want to be told about sustainability.  They are seeing it and can tell if it is for real.  They do care.  If what they see is not congruent with what they expect, they get upset. 

We find that to be good news. It seems like the next generations of guests are more annoyed by greenwashing than sustainability itself. 

That is good news and a great motivation for us to carry on. 

At the Cayuga Collection, we try to find the perfect symbiosis of sustainability and luxury.  We are very passionate about sustainability and have been involved in projects to protect the environment and improve local communities since the mid-1990s.  We have received several awards for our sustainability efforts from organizations like National Geographic, WTTC, Conde Nast, and Travel & Leisure.

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Hans Pfister

Co-owner & President