Eco-Friendly Practices: The Greening of Your Bottom Line

There are strong moral and ethical reasons why a hotel should incorporate eco-friendly practices into their business but it is also becoming abundantly clear that “going green” can dramatically improve a hotel's bottom line. When energy-saving measures are introduced - fluorescent bulbs, ceiling fans, linen cards, lights out cards, motion sensors for all public spaces, and energy management systems - energy bills are substantially reduced. When water-saving equipment is introduced - low-flow showerheads, low-flow toilets, waterless urinals, and serving water only on request in restaurants - water bills are also considerably reduced. Waste hauling is another major expense which can be lowered through recycling efforts and by avoiding wastefully-packaged products. Vendors can be asked to deliver products in minimal wrapping, and to deliver products one day, and pick up the packaging materials the next day - generating substantial savings. In addition, renewable sources of energy (solar, geothermal, wind, etc.) have substantially improved the economics of using alternative energies at the property level. There are other compelling reasons to initiate sustainability practices in their operation. Being green means guests and staff are healthier, which can lead to an increase in staff retention, as well as increased business from health conscious guests. Also, sooner or later, all properties will be sold, and green hotels will command a higher price due to its energy efficiencies. Finally, some hotels qualify for tax credits, subsidies and rebates from local, regional and federal governments for the eco-friendly investments they've made in their hotels. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document how some hotels are integrating sustainable practices into their operations and how their hotels are benefiting from them.

Library Archives

Taryn Holowka

Hotels face many considerations when deciding to go green, but with more than five billion square feet of space in the United States alone, the hospitality industry represents an enormous sustainability opportunity. Hotels are poised to transform the market by creating healthy, smart, efficient, responsive, resilient, and above all else, sustainable buildings. Despite these positive shifts in the green hotel market, there are many myths that prevent hotels from incorporating green practices. Hotels may be operationally intense, but that also means there are significant opportunities in changing the way we all operate our hotels, making them greener and more efficient. READ MORE

Drew Hamilton

The hotel industry is uniquely positioned to help reduce the use of plastic water bottles and lead the charge in the responsible consumption of drinking water. In fact, many hoteliers have already diverted millions of single serve, plastic water bottles from landfills and waterways. With hundreds of millions of room nights sold each year, the hospitality sector plays host to a global audience for whom it can lead by example; very few other industries wield this level of influence. With its tremendous buying power, hotel groups have the unique ability to reshape the market and demand that suppliers deliver eco-friendly solutions that contribute to global sustainability. READ MORE

Sarah Lipton

Westin is the wellness leader in the hospitality space. As the global demand for well-being evolves, Westin continues to develop new programming and experiences in lockstep with consumer lifestyle trends. Most recently, this has meant innovation around sustainability and the relationship between philanthropy and well-being, all with the ultimate goal of inspiring change in the hospitality industry more broadly. Westin's new campaign, Project Rise: ThreadForward, is an unprecedented sustainability initiative that collects, processes, and reweaves hotel bed linens into thousands of pairs of children's pajamas, closely aligning with Westin's belief that sleep and giving back are two core elements of wellness. READ MORE

Jan Peter Bergkvist

No one can have missed the current debate about plastics and the environmental problems this hugely convenient material causes. But how does this affect the hotel sector, and what do I need to do as hotelier to be part of the solution rather than be part of the problem? Only 14 percent of all plastic packaging is collected for recycling after use, and vast quantities of the rest escape into the environment. This results in a financial loss of USD 80 to 120 billion per year; and if the current trend continues, there could be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050 according to recent research. READ MORE

Cerise Bridges

The Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills is the definition of luxury -- an urban oasis surrounded by the decadence and glamour of West Hollywood, California. Through ongoing sustainability initiatives, their staff have learned that you don't have to sacrifice guest experience or quality of service to be green. In fact, being green can improve guest enjoyment and impart a lasting impression that keeps them coming back. In this interview, Rex Umbay, Director of Engineering at the Sofitel Los Angeles for 4.5 years, explains why sustainability is important, shares the lessons he's learned through the hotel's sustainability journey, and offers practical “how-to” advice for other hotels looking to go green. READ MORE

Tim Foley

Spire Hospitality, one of the nation's leading and most respected hotel management companies, identifies and implements green initiatives across its nearly two-dozen managed properties, aiding in the reduction of the environmental impact of the industry, serving as good stewards for the earth's resources and the communities where each hotel calls home and forecasting how integrating simple, sustainable practices can positively impact the bottom line. Tim Foley, vice president of operations, shares insight into which green practices are most easily implemented and how to encourage and measure the environmental and financial impact of green tourism. READ MORE

Scott Parisi

If you live in an area that has had a McDonalds or Starbucks pop up you may have noticed they are erected within days. In these smaller structures the strategy to build in a modular fashion has given operators an incredible advantage. In the retail world ringing the register in record time is a huge advantage. With hospitality facilities being much more complex is modular construction going to go mainstream? We will explore challenges & opportunities for hoteliers to adapt the modular strategy. We will also look at the upside potential towards sustainability as the industry matures. READ MORE

Brett Byers

Energy use reduction is a key factor in sustainability initiatives for hotels. Determining how to lessen energy usage and the environmental footprint of a hotel is the first step on a road that is ever-changing and evolving. The move towards more environmentally-friendly practices in the hospitality industry continues to prove its benefits on conscience, morale, and costs. Continuously implementing eco-friendly practices often reaps environmental, financial and social benefits that drive success. We've outlined the steps that hotel owners and managers can take to ensure a healthier environment and bottom line. READ MORE

Ann Brown

As spa industry professionals, health and well-being are at the center of our business, and it's a focus that extends much further than the hands-on treatments we provide. The choices we make every day, from the products we use to the habits we cultivate, have the potential for positive impact — a win for our clients, our industry and our environment as a whole. By focusing on three simple elements, you can create an intentional strategy for change and actively reduce your spa's eco-footprint. So take note of these suggestions — and prepare for positive impact ahead. READ MORE

Tim Trefzer

After years of notoriety, many hospitality ventures have embraced the focus of environmental sustainability. In fact, some are even considered leaders in the movement to combat climate change by engaging stakeholders through education, building certifications, and transparent reporting. With new and unprecedented global volatility and interconnectedness, the marketplace has required a shift to planning for long-term resiliency. Recognizing the relationship between short-term decisions and overall business strategy has never been more important. By proactively engaging stakeholders and combing through trends, the hospitality industry has the opportunity to leverage its influence and create meaningful shifts in its local and global environment. READ MORE

Robert Allender

A hotel's energy use is complex and impactful. If not dealt with well, if the moving parts of a hotel's energy-use ecosystem are not recognized and prioritized, if progress is not made on the priority items, if efforts are ad hoc not connected and synergized, then the combined drag on a hotel's success will be substantial. Meeting this challenge well will result in a hotel's energy-use ecosystem become a strength, a competitive advantage for attracting corporate and MICE accounts, talent, and investment (or at least for Owner/investor contentment). The maturity model is a tool to bring about this outcome. READ MORE

Benjamin Lephilibert

There's an old story about an economist who found a $100 bill laying on the ground, but didn't bother to bend over and pick it up. When he was asked why, he said that if it had been real, someone would have already picked it up. We find this story similar to the way food waste is treated in the hotel industry, wherein it's usually assumed that those resources are already being optimized. But in reality, most large hotels unfortunately send hundreds of thousands of dollars to the landfill each year. READ MORE

Circe Sher

While sustainability and luxury were once considered contradictory terms, particularly in hospitality where heating and cooling comprise a large portion of a building's energy use, trends in customer priorities and technological advances have made it possible to offer guests luxurious stays while also minimizing environmental impacts and enhancing guest health and wellness. Indeed, as the push towards sustainability progresses, focus is shifting from merely reducing the energy impacts of a building to eliminating them altogether. As shown in Piazza Hospitality's Hotel Sebastopol project, net zero energy buildings, where all energy needed for operations is produced on-site, are now an attainable goal READ MORE

Matthew Lobach

At Hersha, our commitment to providing the best service in the world is reflected in our 49 uniquely positioned branded and independent lifestyle hotels across the United States. Through the development of strategic programs, we create value for all of our stakeholders. One of our most valued strategic programs is Hersha's EarthView® - an industry-leading sustainability program that proves environmental and community stewardship are integral to building a successful business. Our approach to sustainability is based on the framework of a “triple bottom line” measurement process, evaluating how our hotels' sustainability and philanthropic efforts directly impact our communities, our environment and our finances. READ MORE

Marci Zaroff

There is a monumental lifestyle shift-- what I call an ECO Renaissance-- that has been picking up speed for years. This behavior change extends to all aspects of life and began with a simple quest for individual wellness. With an inexhaustible amount of information at their fingertips, yesterday's easy-to-please customers have evolved into savvy, globally aware influencers, unwilling to compromise. They expect immaculately curated, conscious product offerings whether they are shopping, traveling, dining out, or exercising. This seismic shift in expectations offers hoteliers and hotel groups a myriad of opportunities to join the movement. READ MORE

Joshua Zinder, AIA

With millennials representing an increasingly large share of economic activity, amenities are critical in several building sectors, hospitality not least among them. Millennials are looking for robust offerings of amenities, both shared spaces and in-room, that are environmentally friendly and geared toward health and wellness. This article discusses essential integrated approaches to creating and sustaining hotel venues that incorporate amenities programs that guests of all demographics will enjoy, and the staff and guest-facing communications methods essential to achieving sustainable design goals and inspiring brand loyalty. READ MORE

Lawrence Adams

In this article we will discuss current trends and innovations in the application of wellness technology to hotel guestrooms. Drawing from examples of the Stay Well Program developed by Delos and wellness initiatives from several hotel companies, we will examine various features, devices and equipment in a guestroom that promote health and well-being. Lighting, acoustics and air purification are shown to be key to guestroom wellness. Advances in sleep science will be discussed along with new innovative products that promote sleep for hotel guests. Finally we will take a glimpse into the future of wellness technology in guestrooms. READ MORE

Helmut Grohschaedl

The American lifestyle generates one of the highest per capita emissions in the world. With nearly 40 percent of the world's energy being consumed by buildings, one of the quickest, most cost-effective ways to influence the U.S. carbon footprint is to reduce energy that escapes through leaky walls and windows. From the perspective of his 20-year career in the international window industry, Helmut Grohschaedl shares why uPVC windows are widely used in commercial buildings throughout Europe and how U.S. hotels have applied European window technology to reduce their energy costs. READ MORE

Bill Lally

Sustainability programs in hospitality are growing, amid hotels seeking new technologies to enter their lobbies and guest rooms. Technology has evolved to provide multiple purposes. As hotels seek in-room entertainment and voice control amenities, these systems can in turn be used to manage the room's energy usage. Brands no longer have to invest just in sustainability as part of a brand initiative, it can be built into other systems to provide both guest experience and operational benefit. Layers of return on investment from these systems are encouraging adoption of better sustainability practices in-line with demand for new hotel technologies. READ MORE

James Gieselman

Energy conservation usually isn't at the top of hotel executives' priority list for any number of reasons. Implementing an energy strategy is thought to be complicated and expensive. And there are always a host of other squeaky wheels that seem to pop up on the to-do list that take priority. It isn't for lack of trying, but for a lack of knowing that energy often takes a back seat to other issues. Shining a light on energy conservation as a process should help to eliminate some of your unknowns and move you to action. READ MORE

Coming up in June 2019...

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.