Sharing the Sustainability Responsibility

L’Auberge Del Mar Inspires Associates, Guests, Vendors and the Local Community to Support Hotel’s Environmental Initiates

By Michael, J. Slosser Vice President & Managing Director, L'Auberge Del Mar, by Destination Hotels & Resorts | May 25, 2014

The hotel industry has been making great strides toward more environmentally sustainable business practices. It is a trend based on sound economic principles as well as the obvious concern for the environment. At the corporate level, hotel management companies like Destination Hotels & Resorts have developed comprehensive sustainability programs that each of its properties can use as guidelines to formulate the specific initiatives that are implemented all the way down to individual hotel rooms, meeting spaces and hotel offices.

But no matter how well-designed and well-intentioned corporate and hotel specific sustainability initiatives are, ultimately most environmental programs come down to the active participation or “buy-in” of individual people and groups on the ground at the hotel and within the local and regional surroundings. Hotel associates, guests, suppliers and local community all have to take an active role, on a daily basis, in performing the tasks necessary to make any green initiative successful. These four different groups in essence form a partnership to consciously, positively impact the way each hotel reduces its environmental footprint.

Hotels must constantly educate and remind partners about the consequences almost every action people and organizations take has on the environment. Throughout the purchase, use and disposal cycle, there are few items people create, buy or consume that don’t in some way impact the Earth.

Identifying ways to lessen environmental impact and educating people about the steps needed to make these policies effective are only part of the equation for success with sustainable practices. Each partner in the process must also be sufficiently motivated to make the extra effort, and sometimes, the extra expenditure, to choose the most earth-friendly course of action.

That’s where hotels like L’Auberge Del Mar, by Destination Hotels & Resorts have a distinct advantage in receiving buy-in from these four sustainability partners. The hotel is located on one of California’s most scenic stretches of Pacific Ocean coastline and people can’t help but be motivated to look after the environment when nature’s astounding beauty is on display each and every day. Dolphins take daily excursions along the coast within eyesight of hotel guests. For six months of the year, whales can be spotted as they travel between Alaska and Mexico. This spectacular ocean stage serves as a constant motivator to work toward cleaning up the planet.

In contrast to the beauty of the beach and ocean, the highly visible negative impact of humans on this idyllic setting also serve as a strong motivator. Trash along the beach adversely impacts people and makes them much more conscious of their waste disposal. The beautiful, sunny, rainless days drive home the fact that water is a precious resource that needs to be conserved and protected. When the rare rainstorm does hit the Del Mar area, storm water runoff can be seen entering the ocean up and down the coastline. Watching the manmade debris that flows along with the rain water pollute the ocean is enough to sadden even the most hardened of humans.

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Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.