Nine Areas Where Hotels Can Green Up

By Jim Poad Director of Client Solutions, Advantage IQ | August 03, 2010

With oil prices recently hitting an all time high of $100 a barrel, business leaders have never been more motivated to optimize their energy use. Thanks to market forces, going green now makes good business sense.

And there's no better industry to make the business case for going green than hospitality. The hotel industry spends nearly $5 billion annually on energy. Much of that is wasted on empty rooms, inefficient equipment, and poor energy management practices. That's the bad news.

The good news is there are ample opportunities for hoteliers to cut energy consumption and costs, without adversely affecting the comfort of guests. Better still, improving hotel efficiency isn't hard to do and delivers a fast return on investment.

With that in mind, here are some basic, yet effective demand-side initiatives to lower hotel operating costs. Some of these ideas apply to existing buildings; some are for those still on the drawing board. All will have a measurable impact on the bottom line.

Once done, the greening of your hotels can be used as a marketing tool to win more consumers' hearts and dollars.

Lighting Up

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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.