Sustainable Practices of Major Hotel Companies

By Lawrence Adams Principal, ForrestPerkins | May 15, 2016

Major hotel companies realize the enormous benefits that come with environmental and socially sustainable practices. In addition to increasing profits from energy and water conservation, hotels are boosting profits due to an expanding segment of environmentally-concerned travelers and corporations, who make lodging choices based on hotels’ green credentials. As they embrace environmental and social sustainability, many of the major hotel companies have mission statements expounding on their environmental stewardship. In this article, we will look at five major hospitality companies and their approaches, practices and policies in achieving sustainable goals for their hotels and resorts.

Marriott International

Marriott International has long been a strong leader among hotel companies in endorsing and practicing ecologically-sound principles for the hospitality industry. In 2001, The Marriott Inn & Conference Center at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland, became the first hotel to apply for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design ( LEED ) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council ( USGBC ) and was the first hotel to be LEED certified in 2005.

Through partnerships with global non-profit organizations dedicated to saving our planet, Marriott International has been in the forefront in advancing a wide range of environmentally-sustainable goals for the hospitality industry. The World Environment Center ( WEC ), whose members include IBM, Starbucks, Disney, Dow, General Motors, Coca-Cola, Boeing and Marriott as the sole hospitality member, formed the Innovations in Environmental Sustainability Council to find solutions to major global sustainability challenges. Marriott leads the council’s efforts in developing innovative technical and operational solutions to environmental issues affecting and affected by the hospitality industry.

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Designed by HKS Hill Glazier Studio and ForrestPerkins the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill
Country Resort & Spa, earned LEED Certification under the USGBC for New Construction
Photography by Barbara Kraft

As an active councilmember, Marriott supports and endorses The World Travel & Tourism Council’s ( WTTC ) Action Agenda with detailed policies for addressing the council’s 10 action items for advancing efforts to address climate change. Marriott has had a strong role in many of the WTTC’s environmental initiatives including the development of The Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative ( HCMI ), which together with the International Tourism Partnership and 22 other international hotel companies, was developed as a uniform methodology to measure, compare and report carbon emissions of hotels and resorts.

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Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.