Hotel Sustainability: Measuring What You Value, Valuing What You Measure

By Rebecca Hawkins Managing Director, Responsible Hospitality Partnership | May 17, 2015

For many hotel businesses, measurement of energy, waste and water is a hit and miss affair. Those businesses that have developed effective procedures to 'hit' the resource measurement button have found that they can use their knowledge of resource consumption patterns to drive impressive cost and environmental savings. Those that have 'missed' have found their organizations mired in targets that cannot be met, staff who are not motivated and customers who are unconvinced by claims of sustainable practice.

There are a growing number of reasons that measurement really matters in the hyper competitive hotel environment. These inevitably include the need to continually review and reduce resource consumption, but they also extend way beyond the short term cost savings and into something that is far more significant to all businesses.

As Edelman demonstrate, measurement and management of environmental impacts can be fundamental to building trust in any brand (and we're not just talking about trust among those who are seeking green businesses but all consumers/stakeholders).

It is also increasingly being associated with great quality and authenticity in hotel environments (those who keep an eye on current trends will be all too well aware that authenticity is the Holy Grail for those hotels who are seeking to stand out from the crowd).

Within the 16 attributes that Edelman define as essential to building trust in a brand, they list 8 that have a broadly 'ethical or sustainable' dimension:

• Treats employees well
• Places customers ahead of profits
• Has ethical business practices
• Has transparent and open business practices (including reporting of results)
• Works to protect and improve the environment
• Addresses society's needs in its everyday business
• Creates programs that positively impact the local community
• Partners with NGOs, Governments and 3rd Parties to address societal needs
Source: Edelman Trust Barometer www.edelman.com

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Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.