Neil Jacobs - Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas


Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas is recognized as the luxury hospitality industry’s pioneer of sustainable practices, according to you, what was the company’s recipe for success in doing this?

Sustainability is written into our brand values in a way that everyone understands. “Responsible and Caring” means we care for employees and local communities and commit to preserving the environment and sustainable operations. We track this commitment by measuring our sustainability impacts outside the hotel (creating local jobs, sourcing locally to boost socio-economic development, community outreach projects, or protecting species and habitats) and inside the hotel (renewable electricity, bottles of Six Senses water, or organic produce, for example). In the past year, our properties were very supportive of local efforts to relieve the effects of the pandemic, for example by donating food and supplies and volunteering their time. That is the recipe. What makes it successful is the belief and brilliance of everyone to bring it to life.


How do you think your education in French Civilization, Italian Culture and Art, and Hotel Management has helped you throughout your career?

I have always loved language and literature, particularly the Existentialism period in France. I also lived and studied in Florence, which in itself is an art gallery. This led me to develop a natural appreciation of the immense cultural and artistic beauty that exists in Italy. Armed with this knowledge and languages, I knew I wanted to travel and live the culture elsewhere, so a career in international hospitality seemed like an obvious path forward. My studies gave me an appreciation of globalism and engagement in worlds outside of my own. To me it’s a big part of the joy of our industry.


What’s one piece of advice you would give to rising hoteliers that want to help make the hospitality industry more sustainable and eco-friendly?


When I was at hotel school, there was no mention of sustainability. Fortunately, this has changed and we are in a period of time when, finally, it can no longer be ignored. The progress is noticeable. This may sound cheesy but to all young hoteliers, sustainability in hospitality is in your hands. The industry needs to think differently and act accordingly. You can help by genuinely staying informed as to advances in sustainable practices, by speaking up, by asking potential employers about their approach and commitment to sustainability before taking a job, by educating your colleagues and direct reports, and generally being proactive and engaged. There is no going backwards and you must become part of the solution.


Please share your final words for YHS. What was your key takeaway from the summit?


Congratulations to the summit organizers, speakers and participants for putting on such a great event. It was extremely well organized, with relevant and interesting content. Well done, and thanks for having me on the panel.

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