Google - My New BFF

By Holly Zoba Senior VP of Sales - Hospitality, Signature Worldwide | October 14, 2012

Google is everywhere you want to be. Like a good neighbor, Google is there. Have you hugged your Google today?

Google's reach is so expansive, it seems like you can replace the business name with Google in any corporate marketing tagline and it will make sense. Google may have its critics suggesting that it cannot succeed in the social space, that Google+ has not been a success, but the reality is, Google matters to hotels and so does Google+. Google is a focused organization, returning best search results via the most convenient channel and delivery systems available. Make sure you are maximizing your presence through a few, simple steps.

The original title of this article was supposed to be, "The Google Monster", but after touring the Google offices last week, I might want a job there sometime so it seems unwise to call my potential future employer names. I assume they conduct Google searches, and what would come up – The Google Monster by Holly Zoba. Then, what chance would I have of ever seeing breakfast, lunch and dinner prepared for me, for free, by world class chefs worried about my health and brain development? Yes, a perk of working for Google – never having to cook again. In my case, it means never having to reheat takeout pizza again!

Therefore, I thought a more positive title would help ensure at least a first interview and possibly a free guava mango smoothie while I waited. Yes, they also get free smoothies – another perk – hence, the BFF reference.

There is another reason for the title that was also impacted by my tour of the offices. I realized that Google is one of the most focused organizations in the digital world. At first glance, it may seem they are exploring a number of spaces – phones, cars, social, etc. but in reality, they are one of the few companies who stay true to what they do well – return the best search results. Microsoft was once that focused, until the lawsuit with the government distracted them, but so far, Google has been able to maintain their focus, and based on the culture of the company, that is unlikely to change anytime soon.

All of the perks given to their employees are to drive productivity. They want to create an environment that attracts and retains the best and the brightest, and ensures they are the most productive they can be. I have never seen a more focused culture.

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.