Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. van Greunen

Theresa van Greunen

Assistant Vice President of Corporate Communications, Aqua-Aston Hospitality

Theresa van Greunen, assistant vice president of corporate communications, joined Aqua-Aston Hospitality in 2015 as director of public relations and promotions and has been providing strategic direction and implementing successful communications campaigns ever since.

To elevate Aqua-Aston's 70-year legacy, Ms. van Greunen launched #ShareTheAloha, a pay-it-forward campaign providing a platform for Hawaii's community leaders and non-profit organizations who are doing good by sharing Hawaii's unique culture; promoting the principles of tolerance, diversity and equality; and being environmental stewards. #ShareTheAloha is the company's most successful campaign to date and due to unprecedented consumer response, was extended three times.

Additional highlights from Ms. van Greunen's career with Aqua-Aston include developing Aqua-Aston's corporate social responsibility program, "Advocate with Aqua-Aston," and most notably, its #ForOurReef campaign. Credited with influencing the new law that bans reef-damaging sunscreens in Hawaii (Senate Bill 2571), the public awareness initiative and sought to amplify awareness about the issue; increase consumer demand for reef-safe sunscreen; and increase the availability of reef-safe sunscreen for purchase. Since launching the campaign in 2018, Aqua-Aston has distributed more than 100,000 reef-safe sunscreen samples with educational information to hotel guests and the community at more than 50 events throughout Hawaii.

Ms. van Greunen's tremendous success spearheading Advocate with Aqua-Aston and the#ForOurReef campaign led to Aqua-Aston's recognition by the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) as a leader in corporate social responsibility, and her honor as one of the "Top 25 Extraordinary Minds" in 2019.

Ms. van Greunen oversees a growing corporate communications team and under her leadership, Aqua-Aston has refined its online customer service programs, resulting in quicker response times. Following tremendously positive results from integrating LiveChat with social media platforms, Aqua-Aston Hospitality is now one the first global brands to integrate the new Apple Business Chat and Google Business Message features with its online platforms.

Please visit http://www.aquaaston.com for more information.

Ms. van Greunen can be contacted at +1 808-202-5756 or pr@aqua-aston.com

Coming up in May 2020...

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.