Eco-Friendly Practices: Creative Innovation

Being eco-friendly is no longer a fad. It is an urgent planetary need and hotels are actively doing their part to reduce their carbon footprint by implementing sustainable, green practices. In addition to the goodwill derived from doing the right thing, hotels are also realizing the benefits to their business. A large percentage of Millennials expect hotels to be eco-friendly and will only patronize those properties that are proudly conforming. Consequently, more hotels are realizing that sustainability is a key element in a successful branding strategy. In addition, going green can lead to a more profitable bottom line, as savings on electricity, water and cleaning materials can add up. Also, there are other advantages that come with being an eco-friendly business, such as government subsidies and tax and loan incentives. As a result, many hotels are finding innovative ways to integrate eco-friendly practices into their business. Geo-thermal energy systems, along with energy-from-waste systems, are being used to heat and cool the property. Passive solar panels, green roofs, natural lighting and natural ventilation strategies also assist in energy conservation. Low-flow water systems and plumbing fixtures make a contribution, as does eco-friendly hardwood flooring, and energy efficient televisions and appliances throughout the property. In addition, some hotels have implemented in-room recycling programs, and only provide all-natural, personal care items. One hotel has actually constructed a bee-keeping operation on their grounds. Not only is this good for the bees but the hotel also produces products from the operation which they sell. This kind of creative innovation also holds enormous appeal to guests. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.



This month's feature articles...

Joe Ogdie

Ideally situated minutes from Park City, The Lodge at Blue Sky, Auberge Resorts Collection, opened June 2019, is a 3,500-acre ranch in the Wasatch Mountain Range that invites travelers to leave the cares of the modern world behind and reconnect with nature through unmatched outdoor experiences offered on property year-round, from fly fishing on miles of private waters and mountain biking to shooting an 18-stand sporting clay course and horseback riding. Embodying a relaxed Western lifestyle – guests won't need to leave the resort to find adventure and learn to connect with the land. READ MORE

Sandy Murphy

At The Beverly Hilton, 2020 brings many reasons to celebrate. This year, the ionic hotel marks its 65th anniversary and remembers its storied past while remaining a sought-after destination that combines the glamour of Hollywood with prestige of Beverly Hills. Continuously re-imagining itself, The Beverly Hilton will also unveil a top-to-bottom $35 million renovation, which includes updates to our guestrooms, common spaces, CIRCA 55 restaurant and our legendary suites. As we embark on this new chapter, we continue to look at creative ways to reduce our environmental footprint, increase our social impact and create a better world to travel for generations to come, in alignment with Hilton's Travel with Purpose 2030 Goals. READ MORE

Glenn Hasek

As national and state governments propose and pass legislation eliminating single-use plastics from the waste stream, the global lodging industry, at the property, company or organization level, is taking its own action. Earlier this year, The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative was formed and within the past year companies as large as Marriott, IHG, Accor and others have established policies around plastics ranging from straws to amenity bottles. What is clear is that consumers, as well as hoteliers, are growing tired of the problems associated with plastic-everything from tarnished reputations to ill health to tinier bottom lines. READ MORE

Federico Pilurzu

Cala Luna Boutique Hotel & Villas strives to protect the environment and educate guests about its importance, all while providing world-class service in a paradisiacal setting. Travelers are getting savvier and are taking into consideration their carbon footprint while booking their vacation and even business trips. They are also thinking about the impact they have on the local community with over tourism becoming an important global issue. Cala Luna is proud to hold the highest Sustainable Tourism certification (level five) from the Costa Rican Tourism Institute. Their sustainability efforts include solar energy, sustainably-farmed produce, bamboo straws, beach cleanups, and more. READ MORE

Theresa van Greunen

The importance of sustainability is an ongoing global conversation, and increasingly, consumers want to do business with companies focused on how to limit their environmental impact. This is especially true for the tourism industry. According to Booking.com's Sustainability Travel Report, travelers have a growing interest in experiencing authentic local experiences and 56 percent of travelers are seeking environmentally-friendly hotels with amenities that can offset their vacation carbon footprints. Now more than ever, it's time for industry experts to make sustainability a focal point and act on this growing consumer need for eco-friendly options by engaging with the community and creating opportunities for guests to make responsible travel decisions. READ MORE

Amanda Hurley

Fortunately for the planet, the argument on whether or not hotels should "go green" is over. Now more than ever are hotels embracing environment conservation strategies. Aside from the typical linen reuse programs and energy efficient building features, hotels should look to embrace consumer trends in terms of food and beverage offerings that have a lower environmental impact. In this article, Amanda Hurley CHDM, Corporate Director of Marketing for broughtonHOTELS, explores the idea of hotel restaurants and F&B outlets offering plant-based menus and menu options in order to reduce their environmental impact, increase revenue, and improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. READ MORE

Marci Zaroff

Our responsibility in retail and hospitality is to extend the wellness lifestyle experience to guests in their home away from home. Offering a comfortable sanctuary to a variety of individuals with different expectations is no easy feat. There is, however, one key ingredient that is universal: a GOOD sleep. As hospitality providers, we have evaluated the appearance of everything that might impact a deep night's rest: blackout curtains, soundproof doors and plush bedding. Now, it's time to go beyond the surface to offer a truly healthy, holistic and restorative sleep experience-that's GOOD on every level. READ MORE

Steve Bowie

Technology affects every component of our daily lives, even as the executive of a hotel. From the front of house to the depths of the basement, there are opportunities to use technology to make improvements to your business, including one of the most overlooked areas: your hotel's laundry room and operations. There are three main ways the laundry game has changed: the invention of spray rinsing technology, optimum dryness level monitoring and cloud-based machine oversight. These features are changing the way hoteliers spend their time, manage their staff and generate increased revenue, both directly and indirectly. READ MORE

Matthew Lobach

According to a joint report published by the UN Environment Programme and the International Energy Agency, buildings and construction account for 39% of global energy-related emissions. Operationally, due to their setup of one day leases, hotels invite millions of people through their doors on an annual basis, and therefore have the opportunity to not only cater to guest needs in a sustainable way, but also align themselves with global strategies to engage and educate guests on how collective actions can pave the way for a sustainable, connected, and inclusive future. READ MORE

Jan Peter Bergkvist

We all know and feel deep down that living in harmony with nature is a better option than today's linear way of take – make – dispose in combination with our over consumption of yesterday's energy. Let's face it, the main barriers stopping us from going 100% sustainable are in our minds rather than in society as such. Steve Howard, former chief sustainability officer at IKEA said once that "100 percent sustainable is an easier goal than 80 percent or 50 percent, because once you set your mind to an ambitious goal, everyone gets on board and does what needs to be done." READ MORE

Nancy Loman Scanlon, Ph.D.

When I began this article on climate change resiliency practices it was not with the expectation of finishing it under a "stay in place" order with hotels and restaurants closed, parks and beaches cordoned off and overnight curfews. Today as I look out over a view of Miami Beach, all hotels are closed. In the downtown and airport areas of Miami some hotels are open, classed as essential. Tourism attractions are closed and six very large cruise ships are tied up to the docks in the Port of Miami. Whether land bound or floating, Miami's hotel and cruise industry has come to a halt with a huge question mark about when they may again open their doors and set sail. READ MORE

Vicente Ferreyra Acosta

Thinking about the direct link between travel and environmental awareness can sometimes be a complex issue, given that there is little understanding of the impact of travel and the opportunities for tourists to leave a positive impact on destinations, although these opportunities are on the rise, they are minimal. This article explains a concrete and applicable example from the perspective of hospitality and how to travel sustainably, while generating environmental and social benefits. READ MORE

Taryn Tuss

Hotels that set ambitious sustainability goals must address unique infrastructure, operations, and purchasing challenges, often without a road map. Those that succeed find the effort is worthwhile, enjoying water, energy and cost savings, increases in corporate bookings, and higher staff morale. But to get there, staff report the need for technical training, access to local networks, and support systems for solving problems. Where to begin? In an interview with eco-certifier Green Seal, the Fairmont Chicago's Colleen Sweitzer offers a firsthand account from a property that has reaped significant business benefits from its sustainability achievements. READ MORE

Ranjit Gunewardane

The most effective decisions regarding sustainability in a building facility are made in the early design and pre-construction stages. Traditional Computer Aided Design (CAD) planning environments, do not support the possibility of such early decisions. Energy and performance analysis are typically conducted, if at all, after the architectural design and construction documents have been produced. This lack of integration into the design process leads to an inefficient process of retroactively modifying the design to achieve a set of performance criteria. In order to assess building performance in the early design and pre-construction phases realistically, access to a comprehensive set of information regarding a building's form, materials, context, and technical systems is required. READ MORE

Dan Bornholdt

Sustainability is more than a buzz word; it is one of the most important issues currently facing our world. For hotels, it's doubly important because of its significant impact on the business' reputation and bottom line. This is why savvy hoteliers have turned their focus on making improvements to conserve energy and water. Sadly, towel & linen reuse programs have become so ubiquitous in hospitality that it has lost its meaning –or worse, it has gained a bad rap among clients don't understand them, see them as a marketing ploy or aren't informed enough about its underlying environmental cause. Do these programs really make a difference? Can they be done better? READ MORE

Federico Pilurzu

Cala Luna Boutique Hotel & Villas strives to protect the environment and educate guests about its importance, all while providing world-class service in a paradisiacal setting. Travelers are getting savvier and are taking into consideration their carbon footprint while booking their vacation and even business trips. They are also thinking about the impact they have on the local community with over tourism becoming an important global issue. Cala Luna is proud to hold the highest Sustainable Tourism certification (level five) from the Costa Rican Tourism Institute. Their sustainability efforts include solar energy, sustainably-farmed produce, bamboo straws, beach cleanups, and more. READ MORE

Library Archives

 

Last month's feature articles...

Evan Snively

If you take a moment to look around and reflect on your own life, you might recognize a strange thing happening – at a moment when we are physically apart, our families, neighborhoods, and cities seem to be growing closer than ever. Your brand has the opportunity to do the same with its customers. And there is no better weapon in your company's pandemic response arsenal than its loyalty program. However usual strategies will need to be adjusted, and decision makers who hold an understanding of the human condition, informed by behavioral science, will have a massive advantage when navigating the critical decisions to come. This article is a cheat-sheet for those decision makers. READ MORE

William J. Sander

Between the global pandemic and the teetering economy, the hotel industry is in the midst of interesting times. As these issues play out, it is important for hotel management to remember that, at heart, success still revolves around the culture of guest service. William J. Sander, CEO of Seagate Hospitality Group in Delray Beach, Florida, reflects on that culture with perspective gained from three decades in the industry and two recessions along the way. READ MORE

Probal Lala

Keeping pace with trends and innovations in technology is imperative for most businesses today. This is especially critical for hotels in their quest to personalize and elevate guest experience, increase operational efficiency and reduce costs. Hotels are turning to evolving technologies like voice assistants to make it easy for guests to do everything from adjusting lighting to ordering room service, and equipping rooms with mobile app digital key access technology to deliver faster, more convenient guest access. On the operations side, robotic technology can handle repetitive tasks, improve guest interaction and provide predictive maintenance technology to ensure guest room systems and devices are optimally maintained. READ MORE

Scott Hale

Text *MORE* if you'd like to keep reading! Just kidding. Please don't text me. When text messaging became a popular way for folks to look really busy pounding a Morse code into their flip phones and Blackberry devices, I opted-out. I introduced a simple rule: if you send me more than one text in five minutes, I'm calling you. I still live by that rule. That's the exception; messaging rules the world. Short message services and messaging platforms continue their worldwide proliferation, affording your guests an impressive communicative artillery. They've got lots of options to attack, so, while defense could win championships, proactive messaging will win you off-the-charts guest experiences. Text *STOP* now if you'd rather not learn more about engaging guest communications. READ MORE

Megan Pope

It's no secret that technology is critical to creating a hospitality experience that guests will want to return to again and again. Not only does technology improve the guest experience and help hotels stand out amongst their competition, but it can also open opportunities for additional revenue streams by allowing properties to capture detailed data on guest preferences. Two recent technologies in particular, the Internet of Things (IoT) and voice-controlled tech, should be in every hotelier's toolkit as they look to make future tech investments. This article discusses the application of these innovations, and how first impressions matter when it comes to creating a personalized in-room experience. READ MORE

Cate Farmer

Cate Farmer, General Manager of Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort delves into the trends that are dominating the discussion around the future of guest service in today's hospitality landscape. With an increasingly competitive atmosphere and online reviews now accessible at travelers' fingertips, the importance of providing the highest level of hospitality, service, and attention to detail is not only of the utmost importance but it is becoming a base expectation for today's travelers. By prioritizing a positive work culture, leveraging guest personalization, and offering engaging experiential activities, resorts and hotels will be able to generate future success in customer demand. READ MORE

Bill Groves

As hoteliers, we tend to strive for the highest guest service score ratings. These measures can help provide us with an ongoing progress report on the "health" of our hotel. Guest scores and comments tend to shed light on the hotel areas that shine and those in need of extra attention. So how can we help each hotel department and team associate feel ownership for guest satisfaction and ultimately improve guest service scores? READ MORE

Shujaat Khan

Vendor selection, training and follow-up are key components to ensuring your guests receive the same level of service from your vendor representatives as they do from your in-house staff. The cost of service failures may be difficult to calculate, but their far reaching effects will negatively impact your bottom line. In their quest to maximize profits, some hoteliers have made the decision to outsource front line staff. "But, as with every other business strategy, outsourcing has its own limitations and 'unintended consequences' that if not addressed, can turn it into a bad business strategy." READ MORE

Geoffrey Ryskamp

Guest experience is the biggest buzzword in the hospitality industry today, and rightfully so. In the experience economy, where every moment matters, those who differentiate, win. No other industry understands this notion more than hospitality. As a result, we have seen it serving up some of the most creative and top-notch experiences ever. But accommodation options have expanded - ala Airbnb - creating a more diverse set of options for guests and making differentiation and personalization even more important in winning consumers' hearts and wallets. So how are hoteliers differentiating to win? How does the pre-arrival guest experience come into play? And what role does technology play in helping hoteliers perfect the pre-arrival experience? READ MORE

Sara-Ann Kasner

Technology is a thing of beauty or the bane of our existence depending on many factors. As a small business owner, I would be lost without computer programs which assist me in so many ways i.e. electronic filing, tracking business, accounting and more. Driving in my car I not only can talk hands free via my cell phone, I can connect to my emails and social media and point my vehicle to my destination thanks to navigational features. All of this is so commonly used it's taken for granted yet I confess to being in awe of the advantages of modern technology. READ MORE

Jack Chang

Technology has permeated every aspect of the hospitality industry, from mobile check-in and key-less entry, to gate-less parking, in-room iPads, and more. Each of these innovations has made great strides in driving convenience and maximizing user experience for guests, but only scratches the surface of what's possible. Over the past 30 years, the hotel industry's explosive growth and advent of alternative competitors like Airbnb have given consumers more hospitality choices than ever. The variety is great for the discerning guest. READ MORE

Rocco Bova

In the age of digitalization, personal interaction has taken a different turn and definitely is perceived in a completely different way by the majority of people. Call me a nostalgic, not old fashioned, but I still believe that human contact and personal interaction is what makes the difference in authentic hospitality. In this article you will learn what makes a difference in a luxury hotel with real examples of what works and what does not as well as measure how far you can go to get up close and personal with guests. READ MORE

Chris Green

This is an exciting time for the hotel industry. In an increasingly digital world hotel owners and operators have access to a vast and constantly expanding array of new tools and new technologies that allow them to operate more efficiently and cost-effectively, optimize their marketing and revenue management efforts, and provide their guests with appealing new services and conveniences. They also now have the mechanism to manage and leverage that data, with AI-driven software solutions that can identify hidden patterns and connections. READ MORE

Susanne Carter

We live in an age where everything technology is here and now. For the hospitality industry, this raises guest expectations to the maximum. With the onset of the 5G Revolution information services will soon become available with a tap and in the blink of an eye. However, none of this compares to the speed of human ability to form First Impressions. First impressions are made in a split second and when negative opinions are created, recovery from a bad First Impression can take a long time. READ MORE

Gary Hogan

Digital marketing doesn't just allow big brand hotels to reach guests – on their desktops and smartphones – it too can be incredibly effective for smaller budgets. Small and independent properties with limited marketing resources can make smart investments in their digital strategy and online presence to compete with larger brands. Learn how to harness the power of social media, put your best foot forward with an effective website and customize your approach across different digital platforms to reach your target market, secure more bookings and raise awareness of your hotel's brand. READ MORE

Robert Arigo

Like so many experiences, a glowing first impression can be an accurate predictor of a successful outcome. This certainly applies to a hotel stay. Thanks to immersive websites and persuasive social media, guests can form first impressions of a property before even arriving onsite. But those virtual impressions can't compare with the impact of actual impressions formed by guests after they step through the hotel entrance. Central to the onsite experience is the front desk agent, who in many cases plays a dual role in welcoming the guest and setting the stage for a successful visit. READ MORE

Jana Love

How does your hotel show up online? Since first impressions are made without a guest physically being on property, all aspects of your online communications (website and social media) need to be calculated and perfect. What is seen online is usually a guest's first impression of your hotel. Websites and social media posts need to come across as smart- post differently, have clever delivery, use engaging content, etc. Hotels need to show personality in their messages and on their websites. Show real guests experiences, have some fun and make us fall in love with the images and your hotel. A successful online presence can be hard work, but the benefits are hard to ignore. READ MORE

Jennifer Corwin

The role of pre-stay outreach may be among the most underappreciated -- and misunderstood -- factors that affect the quality of guest experiences. While the industry has coalesced around providing basic confirmation of a booked reservation, few hotel brands have put strategic thought into how this "first contact" with a future guest can be leveraged to lay the foundation for a successful stay. In this article we review the current state of pre-arrival communications explore options and opportunities for optimizing this initial touch. READ MORE

Robert Reitknecht

The next decade will be shaped by the continued rise of speech- and text-based assistants for customer service. Research shows that the global chatbot market is set to peak at $1.25 billion by 2025, with only 11% of customers negatively viewing the technology. In the hospitality industry, we're seeing both leading hotels and online travel agencies (OTAs) leveraging chatbots to deliver more distinct guest experiences while enhancing staff productivity and creating unique new revenue opportunities. So, how can hospitality organizations invest in a way that makes sense for them? Consider this your 2020 guide to chatbots for hospitality. READ MORE

Renie Cavallari

First impressions happen in a nanosecond. They are not singular moments. They tend to build on each other and, once they are formed, they are hard to shift. From the moment a potential guest explores your website, sees a single comment on TripAdvisor, Yelp, Instagram or other social media post, your fingerprints are establishing impressions that tell your story. Today, first impressions are ongoing impressions. They build your brand DNA for better and for worse. Here are a few tips to help make better and lasting first impressions on your guests. READ MORE

Coming up in June 2020...

Sales & Marketing: Technology Rules

It is impossible for any hotel to develop an effective sales and marketing plan that doesn't include a wide-ranging digital strategy. Online platforms have impacted virtually every aspect of their business, due to major changes in how Internet users research, plan, and book their hotel visits. As a result, a successful plan includes generating traffic through the use of a hotel website, social media, email and a myriad of other digital marketing technologies. One such strategy uses data collection and automation technology to create personalized content to individual customers. The goal of personalization marketing is to engage potential customers by communicating with them as individuals - to establish a more personal relationship - as a way of encouraging them to visit a property. Video marketing is also extremely important. Showing someone authentic video from a specific location is immersive and engaging, and video is still the preferred way for customers to interact with a hotel brand. Voice and Visual Search are increasingly in demand, as consumers are moving away from typing queries into a search engine. Instead, they can simply speak their request into their phone, and find and book a hotel without ever typing a word. Similarly, other platforms allow consumers to search visually for almost any image, and find out pricing information, shopping comparisons and how-to-buy - all from the app. The adoption of Artificial Intelligence is also becoming popular. The ability of chatbots to answer simple questions or fulfill requests 24/7 is undeniably appealing. In addition, A.I. seems best positioned to qualify leads that can be later nurtured and closed by a human sales expert - all at a fraction of the cost of a traditional support team. The June Hotel Business Review will examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating these innovative technologies into their operations.