When Louis Naudi first came to the Royal Sportsman, one of his priorities was to replace outdated equipment with newer, energy- or labour-saving solutions, although he doesn't yet have any formal green policies in place. "None of our policies are formalised but that does not mean to say we ignore it. Small businesses have to balance cost, effort and time spent with the wider impact," he says.
However, the hotel does have a waste reduction policy for food, electricity, gas and water - all of which affect its margins and bottom line. "We have recently undertaken an energy performance review which has identified how we can reduce our electricity costs," Naudi says. He has since fitted all of the gas radiators with thermostat valves, as well as fitting double glazing throughout the building, which has reduced utility costs and draughts. He adds: "Double glazing the whole hotel has meant that it is warmer in winter and I have been able to turn down the boiler thermostat as well and reduce our gas consumption."
Naudi has also managed to keep water costs almost on a par with last year by ensuring his housekeepers wash with full loads - previously, loads would often be small. TVs are also all switched off and no longer kept on standby to reduce wasted electricity. He has also had new electric showers installed which perform better for customers and are more energy-efficient.
He says: "We installed new gas central heating and hot water boilers two years ago to reduce costs and, throughout the hotel, we have started to install new low-energy lighting. However, in an old building dating back to 1862, it is difficult to do some of the things I would like. I have tried to get my staff to be more energy-conscious as well but it doesn't always work. Some of the new low-energy lighting does look duller than a 100W bulb!"
In terms of corporate social responsibility (CSR) - the buzz word that has been bandied around marketing meetings in big corporations for the past five years - Naudi says he has always believed in putting back something into the community. Over the past 10 years, he has been the chairman of the local Chamber of Commerce, a director of North Wales Tourism - the largest trade tourism body in Wales - as well as sitting on other local committees and charities. He has also spent time raising money for and sponsoring abandoned dogs as part of the hotel's commitment to sponsoring an animal sanctuary.
"It has always been important that we move beyond just simple profit maximisation to include wider commitments to the community and improve the local community where we can for the benefit of others," Naudi explains.
The hotel also has a strong local purchasing policy for all of its foodstuffs and has used Fairtrade Colombian Coffee for the past three years. One of its wines - a Pinotage - is also Fairtrade. In terms of recycling, the hotel sees all newspapers, cardboard, bottles and cooking oils are recycled and uses refillable, recycled or reusable bottles where possible. The hotel also has a policy to recycle cardboard from the many boxes it receives as well as glass from the bar.
Mentor Peter Birnie says: "There is no doubt increasing numbers of visitors are interested in this topic. If you do enough green things you can qualify for a green accreditation and it's worth Louis mentioning green aspects of his business on his website, as some consumers value this sufficiently to sway their booking decision. I also think Louis should write a Royal Sportsman "Green Policy Statement" - setting out the relevant achievements and aims. And as important as it is to impress leisure guests, corporate bookers now expect something like this when they make bookings for conferences and events as part of the booking contract. It's also important for Louis to involve his staff and their ideas on these topics."
131 High Street, Porthmadog, Gwynedd LL49 9HB
The month of August was the slowest last-minute booking month of the year so far. However, the hotel has enjoyed its highest turnover month in 11 years, with an increase of 8.7%. Although room bookings were down by 3.5%, food was up 18% and drinks up 16% with wine by the glass flying out of the doors. September bookings for rooms looked better than August.
Naudi says: "Because of the constant rain in August, tourists in the area did not go to the beach or do much else, so Porthmadog was busier than normal. Combined with our new signage and rosette, we ended up with more visitors coming into the hotel to get out of the rain."