Je bent nu op de Engelse pagina. Wil je naar de Nederlandse pagina? Klik dan hier.

For every guest that skips the daily room cleaning Hotels for Trees plants a tree

14 June 2023

Planting a tree has never been this easy. Are you sleeping in a hotel that is affiliated with our partner Hotels for Trees? Then all you have to do is skip the intermediate room cleaning. In exchange, the hotel donates a tree, that we plant. How did founder Floris Licht come up with this idea? And how many hotels have joined so far?

“At home, do you lift your toothbrush every day to clean the surface underneath it?”, asks Floris Licht. “No, right? Hardly anyone thoroughly cleans their bathroom or bedroom every day. Then why would you expect this in a hotel? If all is well, your room has been cleaned completely before your arrival. In that case, you can probably skip the intermediate room cleaning. Especially when you’re making a sustainable choice by doing so.

More than 290.000 trees

Floris is not the only one who thinks so. Since July 2021, 198 hotels in 20 countries have joined Hotels for Trees. Since then, they have already planted more than 290.000 trees together. And this number is continuously increasing. On the website of Hotels for Trees, you can see exactly which hotels are participating, how many trees they have planted thus far and what they donated just yesterday.

Here’s how it works: for multi-day stays, guests hang a door hanger on the handle if they want to skip the interim cleaning. Housekeeping knows: we don’t have to clean here. For every room that hasn’t been cleaned that day, the hotel donates a tree to be planted in one of Trees for All’s projects.

Hotel guests can hang this hanger on their door to communicate that they want to skip the room cleaning.

Chief Tree Planting Officer

Floris jokingly calls himself the organization’s ‘Chief Tree Planting Officer’. He is also the General Manager of the DoubleTree by Hilton Amsterdam Centraal. Floris has been working in the (international) hotel industry since 2003, a sector “with a very large footprint”. “With each overnight stay”, he explains, “hotel guests produce an average of 47 kilos of CO2. Mainly because of the (air) travel that’s involved, but also because of air conditioning, lightning and water consumption, for example.

For the Executive Master of Business Administration he did in 2020, Floris wrote a business plan for Hotels for Trees. He got a nice grade for it, but the plan ended up on the shelf. It wasn’t until a sustainability event that the idea came up again. One of the assignments during this event was: share your astonishment about something that could easily be more sustainable. Floris had been thinking about the unnecessary cleaning in hotels for some time. After enthusiastic responses from the rest of the attendees at the event, Floris knew for sure: Hotels for Trees had to happen.

“To be honest, I was kind of surprised something as simple as this idea didn’t exist yet”, he says. “You already had hotels that gave guests a ‘green choice’ and encouraged them to skip the cleaning but often they line their own pockets with the savings, which I find highly questionable.”

Reliable party

Hotels for Trees is a foundation with a Dutch ANBI status (a special charity trademark). The cooperation with Trees for All has existed since day one. Floris wanted to team up with a reliable and professional party. “Trees for All stays involved in projects for at least ten years and plants trees for the long term. I also like that they keep us informed about the growth of the trees with annual reports.”

Meanwhile, there have already been several tree planting days with hotel partners, where they could plant some of the donated trees themselves. “We get very enthusiastic responses to that. Everyone finds it special to see that more forest can be created by something as simple as skipping the daily cleaning service.”

Urgent choices

Hotels for Trees has many benefits, Floris believes. First of all, less cleaning staff is needed. That comes in useful, in times of major staff shortages. Moreover, hotels save costs, and water, electricity, chemicals, linen and soaps. Hotel guests and employees like the idea of doing something sustainable, and last but definitely not least, it creates a win for the planet.

For Floris firmly believes the time is now to do something to keep the earth livable. And the hotel industry can make a big difference, in his opinion, with the millions of guests that hotels welcome every year.


Dream green

Floris did not expect his foundation to grow so fast. “The world after covid does help a lot”, he says. “People want to travel sustainably.” The hotel manager is full of future plans. His ambition: plant at least 1 million trees a year, starting in 2025. What else can be said, but: dream big. And as it turns out, you can now do so with peace of mind in a comfy hotel bed.

Plant a tree with us

Do you want to plant trees with your organisation to create a green and healthy world? Plant a tree with us.

For businesses