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Climate Change Impact on Hospitality Management by City Tech Blogger Dennis Guzman

The effects of climate change are seen daily that can range from abnormal temperatures than usual to the ice caps melting in Antarctica. However, what isn’t discussed on a mainstream level too often is that climate change can, directly and indirectly, impact several industries in more ways than one. This can range from agriculture, airlines, and construction. The hospitality industry is one such industry that can be impacted by climate change from time to time, affecting the overall business within the hospitality industry. Those climate change effects can be in either the inside or outside of the hospitality establishments, or sometimes both. As the effects brought forth by climate change worsens over time, the worse the effects will be for those who work in the above-listed industries.

In the hospitality industry, climate change is an external issue that the owners/managers of these hospitality businesses should keep in mind. There will be a period when a hurricane is expected to hit the city or area where the hospitality business is located, especially if the business is in Florida. (Tan, 2006) Southwest Florida is one of the most hurricane vulnerable areas across the United States, where residents are expected to receive a hurricane warning once every two and one-half years. Unfortunately for business owners, there is nothing that can be done to prevent a hurricane from happening at all. Contrary to what one may expect, the aftermath of hurricanes results in increased demand for lodging services, not lower. Owners should be more focused on ways to minimize physical wear in the hotel, to adapt for a period of inflated occupancy. Hotel rooms will be filled by demand by both evacuees and relief workers. People who are displaced from their primary residence and individuals involved in the recovery effort after the hurricane will be the driving force in the higher demand for hotel rooms. However, the owners/employees will have to work with a lower number of supplies to work with as the existing hotel room inventory is either damaged or destroyed by the hurricane. Rooms can be put out of service temporarily, but sometimes the damage may be major enough that the room will have to be completely out of service indefinitely. As more frequent hurricanes are a result of climate change, hotel owners/employees will have to expect a combination of higher room demand by both evacuees and relief workers and any potential damage to the rooms and supply of the hotel establishment.

As for the restaurant business, climate change can also leave a negative impact on the restaurant business in the same vein as hotels. Besides hurricanes and floods causing damage on the inside or outside of the establishments, climate change can indirectly affect a restaurant business over time, and it will eventually be noticeable. (Harrington, 2016) Within the past three decades, there has been a decrease in colder climates annually, which spawns various types of pests and pathogens. These can affect the nation’s forests, farmer’s crops, and other various sources of restaurant ingredients. Warm winters and short cold weathers mean that farmers are to expect heavier pest and disease pressure. What this means for restaurants that are focused on “farm to table” may have to be more aware of what is going on in the world when designing the menu, as some of the fresh ingredients are subject to change based on the state of climate change, in which a farmer cannot do much to combat it.

In addition, as global warming continues, it will result in more droughts and heatwaves altogether. NASA warns that climate change that goes unchecked will likely cause 3-decades’ worth of “megadroughts” across the United States by the end of this century. As California is a state that supplies most of the produce to the entire United States, frequent droughts can affect the entire food system, which then affects a restaurant’s food supply in general. If production goals aren’t met due to the frequent droughts, a restaurant owner should ask the following: Is another US state going to take control of production? Do the ingredients have to be outsourced (price and taste likely affected)? How can the drought be combated? And most importantly, are smaller farms in local areas are the only alternative to supply for the region? In general, heatwaves, shorter winters, and droughts will take a hit in the overall food supply that restaurants rely on, which then results in lower quality food or overall shortages of a specific food item in the restaurant business.

In conclusion, climate change is an ongoing global issue that affects our daily lives from more heatwaves, frequent hurricanes, and shorter winter seasons. However, what isn’t discussed enough is that climate change does negatively impact  several industries directly and indirectly over time. The Hospitality industry is one of the several industries where climate change can both, directly and indirectly, affect the overall business. The frequent hurricanes/floods that can cause damage to the inside of the restaurant/hotels, towards droughts/shorter winters that can result in difficulties in maintaining proper food supplies are major examples of the effects of climate change in the hospitality industry. As an owner of a hospitality business, it is important to keep in mind how climate change can affect the business, what to do and, to share it along with the rest of the staff.

 

References:

  • HVS International, & Tan, A. T. (2006). The Impact of Hurricanes on Supply and Demand. HospitalityNet. https://www.hospitalitynet.org/file/152002742.pdf

Harrington, H. (2016, June 26). Why Climate Change Affects Your Restaurant. Restaurant Insider. https://upserve.com/restaurant-insider/climate-change-affects-restaurant

 

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