Your Environmental Policy, An Untapped Asset (Part I)

By Tyler Tatum Marketing Strategy Consultant, | August 25, 2010

You may not realize that a number of the initiatives you have started in your hotel in order to cut costs and survive during the last four tough years can actually be turned into marketing and sales tools. I am referring to everything you have pursued in order to reduce your waste, energy usage, and water usage. Many guests are currently looking for reasons to visit your property over the property next door. An increasing number of guests are looking for properties where they can feel their stay is in harmony with the environment. Just imagine if you could add 5% more loyal guests by publicizing your environmental efforts.

It is important to take a minute to remember the recommendations put forth in Part 1 (Identifying and formulating your environmental policy). First, you need to form an environmental team in order to capitalize and expand upon your current environmental efforts. The team should include a minimum of one key decision maker within your organization.

Second, use tools available to you to help identify and increase your sustainable initiatives. The Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies, or CERES, has a checklist called "The Best Practice Survey." The Educational Institute of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) has a number of great tools listed on their site. The Energy Star program promoted through the EPA has a host of great tools and tips. Most states have an organization dedicated to reducing waste.

Third, use the many tools listed above and in Part 1 to identify ten or twenty initiatives you plan to pursue. Assign your team the task of finding which of these initiatives you are currently doing, and investigate which new ones make the most sense for your facility(ies) over the coming year. Next, analyze the savings and create a document demonstrating your return on investment, which will allow you not only to negotiate a budget for future projects, but also to illustrate the success of your efforts to your CFO or General Manager. Finally, once you have some initiatives implemented, write them down in a statement you can present to your guests with your environmental policy.

Now that you have your environmental policy written down, this article will guide you through ways in which you can increase the number of guests at your property(ies). First, let's take a moment to understand the current market for environmentally friendly products.

A Gallup poll conducted in March 2004 found that 55% of Americans expressed concern that the United States government is doing too little to protect the environment. Fifty-eight percent said they felt the environment was getting worse. Sixty-one percent qualified themselves as "Active participants" or "Sympathetic, but not active" towards environmental initiatives, and only five percent are "Unsympathetic" (http://www.gallup.com/poll/content/default.aspx?ci=5848).

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Coming up in June 2019...

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.