Marketing Your Property's Green Certification

By Arthur Weissman President and CEO, Green Seal, Inc. | September 02, 2010

After becoming certified, there are many creative ways for a green property to market its special status. This article will explore some of these techniques and the benefits that may accrue from them.

Now that being green is a part of your brand, you have opened the door to a variety of ways that you can re-position your property or chain with existing customers as well as within new markets. You now have a wealth of information you can use concerning how waste minimization, energy efficiency, fresh and waste water management, and environmentally and socially sensitive purchasing affect your bottom line and improve the quality of the products and services that you provide at your facility. The first and most practical means of marketing your green operations is within your local community and supply chains.

Leading the Greening of Your Community

With the increasing interest and appreciation by tourists to participate in the sustainable growth of local communities, a number of American cities have begun promoting their communities as green recreational and business hubs. For example, Travel Portland's website now includes a page that specifically lists "Green Resources" within the city and includes a brief description as to why and how the companies listed promote an environmentally responsible Portland economy. Other examples of green community branding initiated by the tourism and hospitality industry include Madison: A Green Destination and Boston Green Tourism. A significant catalyst in each of these examples was how both lodging service providers and providers of local entertainment and visitor information were able to piece together a larger detailed picture of how a tourist's decision to visit the city will positively impact the local economy, society, and environment.

Component-focused marketing is another approach that you can use to get the word out about your new green-certified management policies. Hosting a Slow Food event or working to develop a program with your city similar to the Santa Barbara Hotel & Visitor Recycling Program are marketing efforts that present to visitors and local community members opportunities to actively engage in environmentally responsible hospitality management programs that have a direct impact in the local community. Yet each of them highlights a particular supply chain that is only a component of the service provided by any property.

Other examples of component green marketing include the efforts by all the US Sofitel Hotels purchasing wind energy and the Hyatts of Dallas purchasing Green-E certified energy credits. Another approach to marketing green locally is to provide green alternatives for traditional holiday meals and events. The Convention Industry Council's Green Meeting Report provides a comprehensive listing of Best Practices for green events, travel, and destination marketing that can be used as a guide when planning your own green community event or activity.

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Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.