Bringing Hotel Owners Together to Establish Sustainability

By Grace Kang Managing Partner, Greenview | February 12, 2017

It's that time of year when everyone is working hard towards their ambitious new year's resolutions. Here's one more I would like to recommend hotel owners and operators to put on their list. Join the Hotel Owners for Tomorrow (HOT) coalition to help advance sustainability for the hotel community. HOT is a no-cost initiative, bringing hotel owners, hotel brands, management companies, industry bodies, and other supporters in hotel development to build awareness and get the important discussion of sustainability started among the hotel community.

HOT launched at the Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP) in Hong Kong in October 2016. Asia Pacific was selected as the first region to pilot the launch as it has the biggest pipeline of hotels, yet hotel owners in the region are less plugged in to the sustainability conversation. Launch partners included AKARYN Hotel Group, Horwath HTL Asia Pacific, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, ITC Hotels, the International Tourism Partnership, Kokotel, Marriott International, Meritus Hotels & Resorts, Nikoi Island, PATA, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, Swire Properties, TAJ Hotels Resorts and Palaces and Wyndham Worldwide. Since the launch, more continue to join and HOT is expecting to grow significantly in years to come.

The HOT coalition is unique because it addresses sustainability for the hotel owners. As technology advances, owners hold the key to the ultimate long-term environmental performance of the asset. Especially at the early stages of hotel planning and development, hotel owners can incorporate sustainability to avoid future costs of regulation and identify opportunities for increased ROI on investments. The coalition provides a platform for owners to discuss and evaluate sustainability in investment decisions but also to examine opportunities to increase efficiency or implement new technologies to improve buildings that are not very efficient. Thus, hotel owners can make a difference by incorporating sustainability into both their investment decisions and asset management, use their influence to help build a better future, and raise awareness for others to follow. The coalition is also designed to provide recognition for their achievements in advancing sustainability.

The HOT Coalition is Simple – Commit to Five Actions to Raise Awareness and Spread Best Practices:

1. Incorporate Sustainability From the Beginning of Investment Decisions

The decisions made for a hotel built today will determine its footprint for the next 20 years. Numerous opportunities exist to incorporate renewable energy, efficient equipment and technology, and take advantage of funding models to maximize the return on your investment. More and more risks are emerging that will affect site selection, such as water stress, weather patterns, an regulatory issues. The more you discuss sustainability issues with everyone in the development and acquisition process, the more opportunities you will find and the better your due diligence will become.

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Coming up in February 2019...

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.