Destination Earth - A Customized Approach to Sustainability
By Mark Hickey Senior Vice President of U.S. Hotel Operations, Destination Hotels & Resorts | June 03, 2012
As the third largest hospitality management company in the United States, Destination Hotels & Resorts maintains a culture of empowerment and operates in a manner that showcases the unique character of each of our properties while offering exceptional experiences and value for our guests. With such a variety of hotels, resorts, conference centers, condominiums, and golf courses within our collection, we find that our focus on the individuality and uniqueness of our properties is vital to the success of our company. This approach is also what our sustainability program, Destination Earth, is built upon.
In 2008, Destination Hotels & Resorts created the foundation for the company-wide eco-friendly programs and initiatives which are continuously updated and adapted, however, one of the most valuable components of the program is the empowered "Green Teams" who carry out and develop the customized sustainability programs at each of our hotels and resorts across the country.
Destination Earth was first conceived to responsibly manage our environmental footprint, allow our guests to use eco-friendly practices while traveling and let companies conduct business and meetings in places that are committed to sustainability practices. Through a partnership with an environmental consultant, we were able to introduce uniform environmental standards company-wide while encouraging individual and creative property adoption of customized initiatives. The program was conceived in consecutive stages beginning with a full collection baseline assessment of environmental practices in place for a clear view of current conditions.
From there, we strategically developed multiple stages to encompass all hotel departments throughout our collection of properties. Once these were set, environmental education and training was offered to our staff. To ensure a successful program, we formed "Green Teams" who were tasked to maintain the strong momentum and commitment that Destination Earth has today. These Green Teams are truly the defining element of our program and help drive the creativity to reduce the environmental impact of our properties.
Each of our property Green Teams are led by one Green Team Champion. Each region of the country has a Regional Green Team Champion that comprises the Destination Earth Task Force which is vital to the communication, continuous growth and development of the Destination Earth program. The task force meets bi-weekly to discuss best practices, feedback from our guests, challenges and new strategic initiatives for the program.
A very rewarding and important element of our customized sustainability program is allowing our individual properties to discuss and implement creative ways to serve their local environment and communities. It is the responsibility of each property to actualize and commit to the program. We give them the autonomy to enhance Destination Earth and "make it their own" by finding new ways to be more environmentally responsible and communicate the program to their guests and associates.
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