Environmental Consultants - When,Why, and Who
By Jeff Slye Senior Consultant, Five Winds International | August 10, 2010
In this day in age, why would a hotel or hotel group not embrace and adopt a sincere environmental program? Typical answers include it costs too much money, quality of service will suffer, we don't know where to start, and we have other more pressing priorities. The good news is that all the above responses are misperceptions and there is nothing but bottom line and top line benefits that come from a well thought out and executed environmental program. Furthermore, an environmental program translates into cost savings, new revenue, and happier employees - some of the biggest priorities for any hotel. However, to achieve these outcomes it may be necessary to look outside of the hotel for support and resources. In this article we'll explore how engaging an environmental consultant may be the best option to remain focused on a hotel's core competency while adding business and social value in the process.
You can't start without "go"
As a prerequisite to any environmental effort, hotel management and executives must have a clear understanding of the business value of such a program (see article "Green means Green") and provide the support and sincere interest in undertaking such an effort. Without this backing, it doesn't matter if it is handled in-house or by a consultant, the effort will likely face many challenges and fail. When this support is available, compelling results are produced such as Marriott's ECHO (Environmentally Conscious Hospitality Operation), Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants national environmental program EarthCare, Hilton Vancouver's LEED Certification, Shangri-La's ISO 14001 certification (the international Environmental Management System standard), and Saunders Hotel Group EcoLogical Solutions.
Some of the measurable results that have been seen by one hotel group in less than 12 months include:
When to engage a consultant
The most obvious sign is when there are 100 unread emails in your inbox, a stack of action items on your desk from last week, and your hotel has discussed and talked about getting an environmental program since the invention of the wake-up call. Additionally, for many hotels it is simply not possible to create, manage, and execute an environmental program while addressing everyday challenges such as occupancy, staffing, individual traveler problems, group business issues, sales and revenue figures, and equipment failures. Most hotels recognize the imminent need, from both the planet and business perspectives, to operate an environmentally responsible hotel. However, few have the internal resources to dedicate to this effort and that is when an environmental consultant can help.