300,000 Rooms Complete, 15,700,000 To Go

Clean the World is an easy way for your hotel to give back

By Larry Mogelonsky President & Founder, LMA Communications | June 24, 2012

Clean the World is a three-year-old sustainability initiative to help improve hygiene and sanitation in third-world countries by partnering with North American hotels to recycle leftover soap bars in exchange for eco-friendly PR exposure. Because soap saves lives.

It would be a rare GM or owner that would shun their responsibilities to our environment. Guests are known to appreciate the work done by a property to achieve LEED or Energy Star certification. These programs offer operational savings, but more often than not, the capital costs rarely pay off in the short-term.

However, sustainability should be looked at not only within the property, but also in a broader sense; the world community. Forward-thinking operators are always looking for ways to contribute, especially when the benefits are measurable and the costs of execution are negligible.

Clean the World is an Orlando, Florida-based not-for-profit organization. Yet, in the three years since it commenced operations, properties representing a total of more than 300,000 guest rooms have come onboard. Their program is simple: take the used bars of soap left by guests in their rooms and refurbish them for distribution to the less fortunate. Since its founding in Feb. 2009 Clean the World has collected, recycled, and distributed more than 10 million bars of soap to children and families in communities around the globe.

This organization is working with some of the top names in the hospitality industry to collect, recycle, and distribute soaps and bottled amenities. Corporate partners include The Walt Disney World Resorts, InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG), Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Best Western International, Caesars Entertainment, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Mandarin Oriental, Joie de Vivre Hotels, Lakeview Hotels & Resorts, Canalta Hotels, Bellstar Hotels & Resorts, and many more.

I had an opportunity to talk to Shawn Seipler, co-founder and CEO, about his successes with Clean the World. Here is an interesting overview of this operation. And if you are not participating, after reading this, you might want to consider.

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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.