The Importance of Green Tourism; Investing In Our Future

By Sir Royston Hopkin Owner & Chairman, Spice Island Beach Resort | May 11, 2014

As a hotelier, I attend a lot of industry conferences which afford me the benefit of experiencing many other hotels throughout the Caribbean, Europe and North America. This allows me to experience hospitality from the other side, which lends insight into hotel practices that work, and even more importantly, those to avoid at my own property.

Check-in lines, for example, are something we've done away with entirely, ensuring guests are able to relax from the moment guests arrive on property. Nonetheless, I often find myself waiting in line to check-in, and recall a particular instance where the guest in front of me complained about the hotel's lax environmental policy.

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"How is my willingness to reuse a towel minimizing your impact on the environment?" repeated the now irate guest, demanding details on the hotel's water and energy policies. The visibly embarrassed front desk clerk stumbled on his words and was clearly unprepared to respond beyond vague assurances that the property was green friendly.

This was many years ago and this guest, with whom I later had an opportunity to chat up by the bar, may have been ahead of his time as most of his peers seemed content to trust the hotel's marketing without inquiring into the specifics. It was a valuable lesson that I took back home to my Green Globe Certified resort, where I had implemented one of the most comprehensive environmental programs in the Caribbean, but had done little to educate guests on what we do and why we do it.

That is why we now put much emphasis on empowering each employee as an "environmental agent" by providing them with the necessary training and education on the resort's environmental practices, policies and objectives. This way, not only are they prepared to advise our guests on the benefits of our green practices, they are also more adept at carrying out our eco-friendly initiatives.
Beyond that, the knowledge and practices our employees learn at the resort extend to our local communities throughout Grenada as they get involved in Church activities and other community groups where they are able to pass on some of the techniques we use, such as creating compost gardens at home and inspiring others to do the same. This is how movements start, and while environmental consciousness didn't begin here at Spice Island Beach Resort, it fills me with tremendous pride to have had such a profound impact within Grenada and the region as a whole.

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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.