Leveraging Green Meeting Strategies to Maximize Your Event Revenues

By Rani Bhattacharyya Community Economics Extension Educator , University of Minnesota Extension- Center for Community Vitality | October 14, 2012

With her finger on the pulse of the global meeting industry, Nancy Wilson with GMIC and Meeting Strategies Worldwide was keen to point out back in 2009 that what often makes sense for the environment also makes sense from a business perspective. Her sage advice still makes sense today if we consider that both ecological and economic systems strive to 1) prevent and re-direct leakage and 2) are endlessly working to uncover faster rates of conversion. One point of difference though between the two systems is that ecosystems are continually undergoing expansion and experimentation to achieve these objectives, while a company's expansion and growth often times is dependent solely upon the mental dexterity of its management team. In a sense then, any businesses ability to survive and thrive is tied to how well it can de-centralize and foster critical thinking and analysis throughout its workflows and service supply chains.

In this article I will try to explain how encouraging and hiring employees to think green can become your facility's best defense against reputational risk. Once you have a green-minded team in place though its also necessary to equip them with the best facility, procedures and purchasing principles that reflect your company's long term commitment to sustainability; so I will also review some of the added value that implementing green hosting strategies can provide your operations. Then, in closing I will highlight a few environmentally responsible management strategies that can also provide your team new profit-generating opportunities to capture revenue, as well as some strategies that can be used to stem cost leakage since they can help protect your property from excessive liability and risk.

Establish Your Cadre of Reputational Risk Superheroes

Oftentimes the chores of scheduled maintenance checks, purchasing policy review and profit/cost center analysis are the most mundane and dreaded components of hospitality management; but do they really have to be? By taking proactive steps to utilize these tasks (along with many others) to capture new data concerning your operations social and environmental impacts, they can become opportunities where both your frontline team and managers can begin to track and eventually affect change within the quality, speed and efficiency of your operations. By encouraging your staff to apply critical observational and analytical thinking to their assigned tasks, you and your management team also create a new body of knowledge that can be used protect your core workflows against risks such as poor customer satisfaction and vendor oversight. Adding such levels of responsibility within each of your service supply chains will also isolate the extent to which unforeseen risks (when they do happen) can spill over into other related service delivery chains. This is important when considering the time and labor involved with remediating risk impacts both on your staff and assets as well as in estimating the resources that would be needed to rebuild your brand.

In addition to fostering critical thinking and observation as cultural norms amongst your staff, providing them with an efficient, non-toxic facility and a comprehensive set of procedures to support their analytical responsibilities can add another protective layer between your vital workflows and potential risk centers. Some of the tangible results and client value that such investments could give your property include:

  1. Safer environments in which event clients can manage audience behavior
  2. Achievement of long term cost savings by both your team and your event client
  3. Establishing an efficient customer oriented company culture on your property, and
  4. New lead-generating services to offer to your event planning clients and their vendors

Green Hosting Strategies to Consider in Your Operations

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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.