When Sustainability meets innovation



Director of The Innovation Hub and Senior Lecturer in Innovation and Sustainability, Les Roches

Pablo has been with Les Roches for almost 15 years, giving students the benefit of his expertise in food & beverage, culinary arts and nutrition.

He earned the status of executive chef at the tender age of just 21, while just a year later he became F&B Director at corporate level.

He began teaching at 24 years of age, earning excellent feedback from his students each semester. He has lived and worked in Spain, Australia, Germany, Brazil and Switzerland.

Hoteliers like to surprise clients with amazing services and facilities. Infinity pools, tropical landscape, Michelin-starred food, large rooms, and immense public spaces to name a few. Just by adding exquisite, detail-oriented services, properties can win over wealthy clients willing to pay extra to stay in five-star hotels.

While the luxury hospitality segment is highly appreciated by many, the statistics show that there is link between that and a higher carbon footprint.

Operating luxury hotel facilities requires a large amount of energy and water. Even empty properties require ~30% of the total used energy just to maintain public spaces and ensure correct temperature, lighting, irrigation, running restaurant equipment and others. Waste in general, and food waste in particular, is not different. Food is perishable so a lack of clients equals food waste.

A 2019 report from Booking.com showed that 55% of travellers want to make more sustainable choices. Now, as a result of the emerging travel trends, many travellers have opted for staycations.

Staycation means a holiday spent in one's home country rather than abroad, or at home and involving day trips to local attractions. This new trend has led to a considerable reduction of carbon footprint due a lower number of miles for transportation.

If consumers have changed their holiday habits to eco-friendlier ones, without compromising their overall satisfaction, hoteliers have the perfect opportunity to maintain their luxury services and facilities without compromising the environment. And innovation, with technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) will play a really important role. It is when sustainability meets innovation.

IoT, with the use of different sensors and the inter-connectivity between them, permits hoteliers to connect, monitor, analyse and control almost every energy-using device within a property. Tracking the effectiveness of energy-management systems in real time is essential to decrease energy consumption and therefore reduce property’s carbon footprint. Occupancy sensors and nowadays visual recognition also allow hoteliers to control spaces by tracing user movements.

AI has the ability to use the data collected by IoT to monitor spaces in order to determine where the room’s envelope (such as insulation, windows, equipment and others) needs to be improved. Another good example is the use of AI and IoT at Winnow.

While for tech people, the application of these technological solutions in the hospitality industry makes sense and is obvious, it can be overwhelming for non-tech people and requires interference from experts in the field to assist with the optimisation.

Les Roches is not just a globally recognized Top-3 hospitality business school; it is a place where innovation, entrepreneurship and sustainability are part of the institution’s core DNA. The newly established Les Roches Innovation Hub provides support to many hospitality organisations, who look to enhance their services and facilities with “green” tech solutions. Les Roches also organises inno-sustainable events, such as ShiftIn’ on 18 to 20 November 2020, allowing the best environmentalists and innovators to co-create future solutions and potential hospitality disruptors to win a full scholarship at the institute as a reward for the best innovative concept

We look forward to welcoming any person/company/institution/organisation to our inno-sustainable ecosystem. Be fearless, be Les Roches.

Natasha Montagu

Les Roches Alumna

Agile Project Manager, Winnow Solutions

Natasha Montagu is a certified Agile Project Manager based in London. After graduating from Les Roches in 2016 with honours and a distinction, she has spent the last 3.5 years helping to fight food waste. Last year she was an opening keynote speaker at Future of Hospitality Summit where she shared the power of artificial intelligence and analytics in hospitality. Natasha will be starting a masters at London School of Economics this autumn in Information Systems and Digital Innovation with the goal to help larger businesses make positive change using technology.

During my time at Les Roches, I interned at top hotels in London and Hong Kong to learn first-hand the business of hotels, a vital step in the process of becoming a hotelier. I was shocked to witness food waste on an industrial scale: justifiable on the pretence that this behaviour was because of service standards and customer expectations. Through my academic work I met many industry-leading start-ups, including Winnow, securing my job after graduation.

Winnow is tackling the growing food waste challenge and believes that technology can transform the way we use food. Using the power of data and analytics clients can make informed and data-driven decisions to cut costs, save up to 20% of food purchased and increase efficiency in the commercial kitchen. Today, the current economic climate has forced many hospitality businesses to examine their operations which has brought the topic of food waste to the forefront for previously profitable brands. Undoubtedly, it is an extremely hard time for hotels however these past few months have allowed for a reflection and recalibration that wouldn’t have been possible at the beginning of the year.

To date I lead a team of 15 domain experts in launching the first Artificial Intelligence (AI) food waste monitoring product in partnerships with IKEA. The AI food waste monitoring system, Winnow Vision, is used by leading luxury hospitality brands such as Shangri-La, Emaar Properties and WYNN Resorts. I am fascinated by the potential of Machine Learning pushing the uses of AI towards helping us solve the greatest problems of our generation, climate change and food security.

Learn more about Les Roches here: https://learn.lesroches.edu/all-programs-ppc-page-en.html? 

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