Editorial Board   

Ms. Bhattacharyya

Rani Bhattacharyya

Community Economics Extension Educator , University of Minnesota Extension- Center for Community Vitality

Rani Bhattacharyya serves as the Community Economics Educator in northwest Minnesota by supporting communities located in the counties of Beltrami, Clearwater, Kittson, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake, and Roseau in the discovery and implementation of development opportunities. Through her work Ms. Bhattacharyya is also studying how company and community performance benchmarking can be integrated into long-term city, and community development planning processes. Ms. Bhattacharyya has facilitated local business-government partnerships and public consensus building activities concerning sustainable tourism planning and hospitality management in the U.S. and internationally. Past projects have included comparative studies in environmental certification programs for hotels and communities at Green Seal, Inc., a 25 county agri-tourism industry study for Western Illinois, marketing surveys for sustainable tourism destinations in Asia, and facilitation of sustainable destination development in the southern border region of Bulgaria. Ms. Bhattacharyya completed her MS graduate degree in the Peace Corps Fellows Program in Community Development at Western Illinois University, where her studies focused on the integration of sustainable tourism destination management and marketing with local economic development programs.

Ms. Bhattacharyya can be contacted at 218-275-3444 or rani.a.bhattacharyya@gmail.com

Coming up in May 2019...

Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. 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.