h2hotel's Eco-Friendly View is All About You

By Circe Sher Co-Founder, Piazza Hospitality | May 28, 2017

When Piazza Hospitality first started developing its h2hotel concept and design in Healdsburg in the mid 2000s, “green” properties were hardly as well-known as they are today. Architects tended to simply follow Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design ( LEED ) guidelines, and most consumers weren’t really clear on what “eco-friendly” meant.

The idea of being earth-friendly seemed like something everyone could and should embrace, but bringing that vision into a reality consumers actually wanted could be challenging. As our Piazza team toured a variety of LEED properties including offices and hospitality spaces, we found that many of the properties felt austere, cold and impersonal. Strictly following LEED requirements seemed to dictate modest comfort level, with luxury compromised by a rigid experience.

Working with our architects, David Baker and Partners in San Francisco, we decided to take a different approach. We would be earth-friendly, but above all, we would be guest-friendly. Our Mission Statement: “an eco-friendly view that’s all about you.”

These days, guests are increasingly environmentally minded. An April 2013 survey of 1, 300 U.S. travelers by TripAdvisor.com reported that 62 percent “often or always” consider the environment when choosing hotels. And they want the eco-information, as the same report found that 64 percent of respondents said “they rarely or never” feel informed about whether hotels are truly eco-friendly.

At the same time, a March 2015 Cornell University School of Hotel Administration survey of 120, 000 hotel customers found that while guests are generally willing to participate in sustainability programs, green operations still do not factor above price, convenience and quality when selecting a hotel.

Finding Balance

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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.