Dalata is Ireland’s largest hotel operator, managing a suite of owned, leased and managed hotels including the Clayton Hotel Belfast and Maldron Belfast City. While Maldron Belfast City was built in 2018 to the highest sustainability specification at that time, the 23-year-old Clayton Hotel Belfast has invested in building and operational upgrades as part of its sustainability journey. Both hotels have integrated the Dalata Living Green Initiative into their business operations, and both have achieved the Gold Sustainability Award from Green Tourism.
A Tale of two Hotels
Centrally, the Dalata Group has prioritised sustainability within the operations of all 52 hotels in the portfolio, initially setting the target in 2018 for all hotels to achieve Green Tourism Gold standard within 2 years. The responsibility was then with each General Manager and the local hotel team to devise and implement their own sustainability action plan.
Proactive New Build – Maldron Belfast City
Sustainability and energy efficiency were key priorities when constructing the Maldron Belfast City in 2018. Actions included:
- Careful selection of materials used during construction
- Highest sustainability specifications for water pumps and boilers
- Installation of LED lighting only
- A centrally-controlled air conditioning system
- Installation of sensor lighting and water-efficient toilets and washing equipment
The rooftop space has been creatively used for a garden and bee-keeping project. The hotel collaborates with local beekeepers and the honey is served as part of the breakfast buffet.
Retrospective Adaptions – Clayton Hotel Belfast
Originally built in 1998, the Clayton Hotel Belfast had a complete refurbishment in 2018. At that time, a Green Team was set up, supported with training and empowered to identify key areas for improvement. Notable actions include:
- £450,000 investment in Combined Heat and Power Boiler. This eliminated the use of 4 original boilers in the hotel and the investment was returned within 18 months.
- £150,000 investment in LED light replacement in 2022 with a high-speed return on investment of 9 months.
- £35,000 investment in a pool cover in 2023 with an expected return on investment of 18 months.
Key Business Benefits
Staff Recruitment & Retention
Potential employees frequently enquire about the hotel’s sustainability policy and practices during the recruitment stage. New employees have brought fresh perspectives and new ideas for sustainability projects and how to resource them. The teams are encouraged to get involved in community projects and other initiatives such as litter-picking and beach clean-ups. During Earth Week 2023, staff enjoyed morning walks, morning meetings took place in locations such as the Botanic Gardens and City Hall and an awareness campaign to remind on the reasons for our sustainability endeavours took place. Maldron Belfast City installed a 14th floor sedum living roof top. This supports beehives which provide single origin honey to the breakfast buffet as well as a herb garden which provides organic produce to the kitchen. In both the Clayton and Maldron Hotels, coffee grinds are reused to fertilise plants on-site.
“Often, sustainability is discussed only in the context of energy. Energy sustainability is essential - but sustainability has a much broader meaning. It means long-term thinking about how we manage our hotel, in the way we deal with stakeholders, invest in social spending and plan for the future. This requires vision, leadership, and a desire to carry out business limiting our impact on the environment and others. At Maldron Belfast we believe this is everyone’s responsibility and we have total team engagement.”
Mike Gatt, General Manager, Maldron Hotel Belfast City
“The biggest thing is that you’re pulling all the departments together and they’re all working towards a common goal. It is something that people are more passionate about even in their day to day lives. Being able to carry that through into the culture of the hotel has a positive impact on all the staff as well. Taking a lead on sustainability has built collaboration between departments and has led to a more attractive workplace overall.”
Jonathan Topping, General Manager, Clayton Hotel Belfast
As well as realising significant cost savings through greater efficiencies, the hotels have seen how solid sustainability action positively impacts their ability to win corporate business. Clients such as airlines and media companies, with whom the hotels have ongoing contracts, are heavily invested in ensuring the providers they work with can provide solid evidence of good sustainability practices. To win corporate tenders, transparent sustainability credentials are increasingly essential.
“From a corporate perspective, “what is your company doing for the environment?” Is something that we’re being questioned about on a regular basis. Having achieved a Gold Green Tourism Award, gives our corporate clients confidence in our hotels and provides clear sustainability credentials.“
Naomi Wilson, Cluster Director of Sales & Marketing, Clayton Hotel Belfast & Maldron Hotel Belfast City