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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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.