Five Important Benefits of Green Certification

By Michelle Millar Assistant Professor Hospitality Management, University of San Francisco | January 29, 2012

Green Certification?

Green certification helps consumers identify green hotels, and the practices they incorporate. A certification program also provides hoteliers the opportunity to have their hotel rated and labeled based on predetermined environmental practices and policies. Ratings will vary depending on the organization selected to certify the hotel. In some instances, the hotel self-reports which environmental practices they participate in and in other instances the certifying organization inspects the hotel. Standards that most certification programs use incorporate those areas of the hotel that relate to energy management, waste management, water use reduction, and education. Although the number of companies that certify appears to be growing, a few of the more well known organizations are Green Seal, Green Globe, Green Key, and the United States Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Program.

When traveling today, consumers are presented with a wide range of hotels from which to choose. There are mega-resorts, bed and breakfasts, economy and mid-scale hotels that offer more and more amenities as those of full service hotels, and the increasingly popular lifestyle and boutique hotels of all sizes. The growing supply of so many different types of hotels makes it all the more important for hoteliers to create a product that will stand out and be different from its competitors. Green certification is a tool that hoteliers may use to distinguish themselves from others, and it can be applied to all of the previously mentioned hotel types. It can also be used to increase profits, enhance image, expand marketing opportunities, and provide clarity.

Why seek any sort of green certification?

There are five primary reasons why a lodging company might consider green certification.

1. Increased Profitability

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Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.