Going Green - Five Hot Trends in the Meetings Industry

By Andy Dolce Founder, Chairman & Managing Partner, Dolce International | October 28, 2008

Business travel is big business with millions of individual and group trips being tracked in each year. Among overnight trips, 85% of business travelers stayed in a hotel or motel. While this is good news for airlines, rental car companies and hoteliers, business travel exacts a heavy toll on the environment.

Travel is the main culprit of climate change accounting for one-third of climate damaging emissions. As such, the travel industry has become increasingly concerned about saving the environment for future generations of travelers. Industry groups such as the International Association of Conference Centers have compiled lists of "Green Best Practices" for hoteliers taking steps to cost-effectively go green with their operations and the hospitality industry has already made strides in its concern for the environment.

As leaders in global hospitality, today's hoteliers have a responsibility to address their commitment to minimizing the impact that their hotels have on the environment. Policies need to focus on awareness and education to promote and reinforce a culture of environmental consciousness through all facets of global operations. We all need to be committed to protecting our natural environment, to the comfort and well being of our guests and to respecting the communities in which we operate.

Most major hotel companies have implemented some steps toward "going green." From incentives for employees who carpool, corporate procurement policies for everything from office paper to materials used in manufacturing, eco-friendly kitchens, recycling programs for guests and employees and offering carbon offsets for individual and group travel, today's travel leaders have many positive initiatives in place for preserving the environment.

Responsible environmental stewardship is not only an integral part of doing business at Dolce International; it is the core of who we are as a company. Read on to learn about five hot trends in the meetings industry I recommend for going green.

1) Giving Back to The Environment - Carbon Offsets

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Coming up in May 2018...

Eco-Friendly Practices: The Greening of Your Bottom Line

There are strong moral and ethical reasons why a hotel should incorporate eco-friendly practices into their business but it is also becoming abundantly clear that “going green” can dramatically improve a hotel's bottom line. When energy-saving measures are introduced - fluorescent bulbs, ceiling fans, linen cards, lights out cards, motion sensors for all public spaces, and energy management systems - energy bills are substantially reduced. When water-saving equipment is introduced - low-flow showerheads, low-flow toilets, waterless urinals, and serving water only on request in restaurants - water bills are also considerably reduced. Waste hauling is another major expense which can be lowered through recycling efforts and by avoiding wastefully-packaged products. Vendors can be asked to deliver products in minimal wrapping, and to deliver products one day, and pick up the packaging materials the next day - generating substantial savings. In addition, renewable sources of energy (solar, geothermal, wind, etc.) have substantially improved the economics of using alternative energies at the property level. There are other compelling reasons to initiate sustainability practices in their operation. Being green means guests and staff are healthier, which can lead to an increase in staff retention, as well as increased business from health conscious guests. Also, sooner or later, all properties will be sold, and green hotels will command a higher price due to its energy efficiencies. Finally, some hotels qualify for tax credits, subsidies and rebates from local, regional and federal governments for the eco-friendly investments they've made in their hotels. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document how some hotels are integrating sustainable practices into their operations and how their hotels are benefiting from them.