How Green is Your Hotel's Marketing?
By Bonnie Knutson Professor, The School of Hospitality Business/MSU | September 11, 2011
I've always been fascinated about how the meaning of a word can change over time. For instance, do you remember when the word gay meant you were about to don some apparel in that old Christmas carol? Do you remember when the name Paris was followed by the name France, not Hilton? Do you remember when swift defined being fast, not getting out a mop to start swiffering your kitchen floor? And do you remember when green was a just a color in your box of Crayola crayons that was nestled somewhere between yellow and blue? (Okay…so Green is really –and always will be -- the first half of the rousing Michigan State University cheer, Go Green! Go White!
Well, to paraphrase an old advertising tagline, green has come a long way, baby.
Today, green --- and all its derivatives – has come to symbolize a movement. A movement of sustainability, of being eco-friendly, and of being environmentally aware. A movement that has grown out of our emergent realization that we have to take better care of Mother Earth if she is going to take care of us. A movement that, at its core, represents the capacity to endure. And a movement that impacts every hotel and every guest they serve.
Greening efforts generally fall into one of the 3R categories – reduce, reuse, and recycle. But as the greening movement has strengthened and as organizations increasingly integrate sustainability into their strategies, we need to add a fourth R-category – reputation – to the movement. Reputation of your hotel's brand and, indirectly, of your guests.
First, your hotel brand.
In addition to the long-term ROI of going green, being a green corporate citizen is a positioning tool for your property. Research by the American Marketing Association indicates that an important reason for any business to go green is to generate good will; the second reason is to reach specific target markets. Both of these motives readily apply to each and every lodging enterprise.
The impetus to go green comes from three sources:
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