Measuring Your Carbon Footprint Across a Global Portfolio

Finding the Right “Toolbox” for the Right Job

By Faith Taylor Senior Vice President Global Corporate Social Responsibility Officer, Wyndham Worldwide | May 26, 2013

With rising energy costs, government regulations, consumer expectations, and requests for proposals asking for environmental metrics, sustainability efforts are an increasingly top priority for hospitality companies around the globe. With countless strategies and tactics aimed at reducing environmental impact, effective measurement can make the difference between assuming you are making progress, and knowing you are making progress. Such distinctions are especially critical at a time when resources are tight, and every dollar counts.

Ranked number one among hotels and restaurants by Newsweek magazine in its annual Greenest Companies in America survey two years in a row, Wyndham Worldwide has included supporting sustainable practices among its top five strategic goals over the past six years, and views sustainability as a fundamental part of how it responsibly does business in communities around the world.

One of the world's largest hospitality companies, Wyndham Worldwide includes Wyndham Hotel Group, the world's largest hotel company based on number of properties; Wyndham Exchange & Rentals, the world's largest member-based vacation exchange network and marketer of serviced vacation rentals; and Wyndham Vacation Ownership, the world's largest vacation ownership business with over 190 resorts throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and the South Pacific.

Since its launch in 2006, Wyndham Worldwide has invested in exploring and adopting innovative sustainable practices through its Wyndham Green program, which focuses on sustainability across the Company. Focused on education and innovation, the program, is a way of living and working based on the Company's vision and core values, enhancing customers' lives by improving the environment, supporting global and local communities, and developing sustainable programs that deliver economic benefits. While the program has implemented numerous initiatives, Wyndham Worldwide recognized that in order to lead the sustainability charge, it had to figure out how to effectively measure the results of these efforts across its diverse global portfolio.

Motivated by a long-term goal to reduce company-wide emissions based on a per square-foot basis by 20 percent by 2020, and a more immediate short-term goal of 12 percent by 2016, establishing a uniform methodology to measure and report carbon emissions at a wide range of hospitality and office locations was no easy task.

Enter the Wyndham Green Toolbox, a proprietary designed, state-of-the-art eco-software program that allows both owned and managed properties, as well as independently owned and operated, franchised properties within the Wyndham Worldwide portfolio, to track and measure environmental impact, and enable the Company to set performance targets. The Toolbox provides users with resources and tools to reduce energy use, and advance the Company's global sustainability efforts.

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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.