A boutique hotel where you can enjoy unique spirits from its terrace overlooking the city while, why not, saving water during your showers.
A concept so simple, yet groundbreaking. This is the environmental commitment that the managers of the Yurbban Hotels in Barcelona have made in their three establishments in the city centre: Trafalgar, Passatge, and Rambles.
An initiative they launched in April 2023, and which this year, due to the water scarcity we are experiencing, has become a topic of the utmost relevance.
The initiative is called the “4-Minute Challenge,” and, as the name suggests, it challenges customers to try taking their daily shower within this time frame. A significant number, given that every minute we spend showering equals a water expenditure of 20 litres.
If we do the maths, the water savings are enormous. This concept originated from an initial recommendation by the World Health Organisation that started at 20 minutes and was later halved to10 minutes. A change that already meant a saving of 100 litres of water a day.
Yurbban decided to go a step further and proposed the challenge of reducing the time to 4 minutes. That is, they aimed to achieve a saving of 80 litres per shower. A quantity that those responsible for the initiative considered more than sufficient for daily hygiene.
An ingenious idea
To carry it out, they devised a simple and effective strategy. They provided customers with a small hourglass in their hotel rooms. A gesture with a very low cost that had an immediate impact.
The reception from the clientèle has varied wildly. Ranging from “I pay money, and I shower for as long as I want” to individuals for whom this proposal has been a turning point. This variety of reactions demonstrates that there are many different perspectives on environmental protection.
The hotel makes it clear that this diversity is beyond its control. They emphasise that this is a friendly awareness initiative, inviting customers in a non-aggressive way to carry out a small action to promote sustainability.
Awareness that, at the moment, is very necessary, considering that a drought emergency was declared at the end of January 2024.
It is just a first step, a small contribution to addressing this situation. As hoteliers, they feel responsible for the water consumption of their business.
So, not only do they appeal for a commitment from guests but also from their employees. They also involve them in awareness actions, insisting that during their daily activities, whether cleaning or cooking, they try to turn off the tap when water is not absolutely necessary.
It's an example of how the various stakeholders in an establishment can contribute to resolving a situation that affects everyone. It shows that it's possible to continue enjoying leisure activities while also caring for the environment.
The Yurbban managers acknowledge that there is still much to do but they are convinced that with original and attractive initiatives, great things can be achieved.