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Meet Bernd Singendonk, a Travelife Approved Auditor
Each month we feature an interview with a Travelife Approved Auditor. We have around 60 independently contracted auditors based around the world that must undergo an intensive training programme before they can audit with us. To continue carrying out audits for Travelife they must complete annual refresher training and a yearly performance review. Click here to find out more about our requirements for auditors.
Cairo, Egypt and Bremen, Germany
Total auditing experience
German (native speaker), English (fluent), French (fluent)
Sustainability, quality assurance, hotel operations improvement
In 1992, Bernd worked as the Assistant General Manager for Iberotel Sarigerme Park in Ortaça, Turkey where he took on the delivery of a number of sustainability initiatives well before sustainability had become such an important topic in the tourism industry.
He implemented a range of waste recycling and reduction initiatives before there was a recycling infrastructure available in the location. This included collecting newspapers and other paper waste that was sent to a local paper factory for recycling. He also collected batteries used by guests that were given to flight attendants that took them to Germany where they could be safely handled. The hotel implemented a food waste composting plant with the compost being used in the hotel’s garden. As a result of these initiatives, the hotel received TUI Groups first ever environmental protection award.
Years later, Bernd was the responsible project manager for an initiative between TUI, Club Méditeranné, Kuoni and GIZ: the German Agency for International Cooperation in Morocco. This involved the certification of hotels and tourism destinations, seeking to enhance sustainable tourism offers and practices. In a pilot project, he helped develop or he developed training materials for sustainable for hotel management and operational staff with the aim for the hotels in the project to become certified with a GSTC-recognised standard. That led to Bernd being trained as Travelife Auditor and he continues to audit for us today.
Bernd says that the best part about auditing for Travelife is being able to visit the different departments of a hotel. He finds it very interesting to see how the architecture and operations differ by country in terms of interior design, different sizes of kitchens, storage facilities and technical rooms as well as the landscape of the hotel’s gardens, guest rooms and, of course, how the hotels engage in different environmental and sustainable activities.
In terms of innovation, Bernd recalls one hotel in Bavaria, Germany that offered their guests an incentive so they would rethink the need for having their linens changed daily. In return for opting for less frequent changes, guests could choose either a free drink at the bar, a soup at the restaurant or a free rental of the hotel’s bicycles.
For accommodation providers and businesses looking to implement more sustainable practices, Bernd recommends the following:
Bernd also suggests that in regions where there is no available recycling system in place, several properties should join forces and set up an initiative to help manage waste separation and disposal. Also, properties should offer guests smaller plates for buffet services to try and avoid excessive food waste.
Bernd's top tips for sustainable living
Buy items in reusable packaging. Try to avoid using plastic bags and bring your own multi-use bags when shopping.
Change eating habits. Livestock causes tremendous amounts of greenhouse gas emissions and so eating less meat is very beneficial.
Reduce the need for single-use plastic and use better alternatives such as a large reusable water bottle instead of lots of small plastic ones.