Turtle Bay Resort's Best Practices in Sustainability

By Carl Kish Co-Founder, STOKE Certified | May 10, 2015

Co-authored by Dr. Jess Ponting, Co-Founder, STOKE Certified

As the only hotel on Oahu's Fabled North Shore, Turtle Bay Resort takes its role in preserving and enhancing the North Shore's rich Hawaiian culture, surfing heritage, and fragile ecosystems very seriously. Since 2010, the resort has been transformed under the leadership of Replay Resorts and has significantly raised the bar in terms of sustainability best practices by introducing two conservation easements totalling 1,134 acres, green roof installations, rooftop solar panels, and integrating authentic Hawaiian culture into every facet of the operation.

Turtle Bay Resort completed sustainable design renovations in 2014 that include a 59,000-square-foot native plant and rock garden on all lower rooftops. In addition to stunning views of the coastline and nearby surf breaks, every room in the resort overlooks these elevated gardens. Green roofs significantly reduce the energy used to cool the resort, double the lifespan of the roofing materials, and greatly reduce the amount of stormwater runoff which mitigates erosion. Perhaps most importantly, green roofs act as a natural filter for pollutants in runoff.

Replay Resorts have also opened 847 acres of resort land and 4.5 miles of shoreline to the public for everyone to enjoy and have the opportunity to hang out with professional athletes, celebrities, and artists in "the living room of the North Shore". Guests are able to access the inaccessible through the services of experienced local guides that include former professional surfers, big wave legends, and spearfishing world champions.

If guests want to learn about hiking trails, or when the Humpback Whales migrate past Kuilima Point, then the one stop shop for environmental and cultural interpretation is the Guidepost Experience Center right in the middle of the hotel lobby. Equipped with interactive devices, and staffed by the best guides in the business, the Guidepost is designed to allow guests and visitors access to any information about the Resort and its surrounding community, surf, activities, marine wildlife, and cultural events.

Giving back to North Shore communities is an integral part of Turtle Bay's sustainability management system and the Turtle Bay Foundation was established in 2012 to drive community development initiatives. In 2013, the Foundation gave out $50,000 in grants and scholarships for 36 nonprofit organizations and college-bound students on the North Shore. In addition to providing hundreds of backpacks annually to Operation Backpack; feeding the homeless during a North Shore holiday meal; and providing holiday gifts for local families as part of the Christmas Tree of Hope; the foundation oversees numerous charitable contributions, including the preservation of historic and cultural sites; educational and cultural activities; health care, housing and job-training programs.

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Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.