Ten Points for Embracing Sustainability at Your Historic Property

By Rob Howell General Manager, Shawnee Inn & Golf Resort | May 05, 2013

Sustainability has become an important part of the lodging industry. In addition to our responsibility to the guest, the staff, and the ownership, we have a responsibility to the environment. Many articles have been written about the programs that can be incorporated into properties operations to promote sustainability. However, managing a historic property's environmental footprint may increase the challenge.

When a new property is built, construction materials are analyzed and chosen carefully. Buildings are designed to be more energy efficient. Operating procedures are developed from the ground up for purchasing, serving, cleaning, and delivering a more sustainable, environmentally friendly property. For a historic property, embracing sustainability is a journey that encompasses all aspects of a property and requires planning, investment, and determination. Historic properties can attain LEED certification with investment. Modifications can be done to be energy efficient and more environmentally responsible. However, to be effective, operators of historic properties need to make sustainability a priority to ensure its influence on an operation. Where do you start?

What is your impact on our surroundings? How large is your carbon footprint? How can you lessen your effect on the environment to ensure survival? For historic properties, this desire to live on, to survive into the future, is tremendous. Owners and managers have led their historic properties through recessions, depressions, facility challenges, and branding realignments. For historic properties, embracing sustainability has become an ownership and management challenge. Introducing environmentally friendly programs to not only assist our focus on sustainability, but also fit into our branding, can be very costly but also prove to be rewarding and profitable.

As a historic property, do you have any respect for your history? Managers must believe that operating a historic resort is a privilege. Respecting its history and intertwining that into the operation is a delight. There is a difference between historic and old. Old is a weakness, history is a strength. This difference starts with how an operator embraces the history of the property and how they make it part of the property's story. There is a great opportunity for a historic resort to use the past when addressing its sustainability plan. Presently, I manage a historic resort located in the Pocono Mountains.

My historic property is a 100-year-old resort located on the edge of the Wild and Scenic Delaware River, bordered by 70,000 acres of the Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area. Because of our location, we focus on inviting our guests to stay at our resort and enjoy the natural environment. This reliance on the outdoors and our pure surroundings is the perfect reason to embrace a robust sustainability plan. As we began to build our sustainability plan, I explored the following 10 areas:

1. Look at the history of your property

Choose a Social Network!

The social network you are looking for is not available.


Hotel Newswire Headlines Feed  

Sara Djubek
Terence Ronson
Dennis Rizzo
Brandon Billings
Court Williams
Emily Loupee
Ewald Biemans
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.