Sharing the Sustainability Responsibility

L'Auberge Del Mar Inspires Associates, Guests, Vendors and the Local Community to Support Hotel's Environmental Initiates

By Michael, J. Slosser Vice President & Managing Director, L'Auberge Del Mar, by Destination Hotels & Resorts | May 25, 2014

The hotel industry has been making great strides toward more environmentally sustainable business practices. It is a trend based on sound economic principles as well as the obvious concern for the environment. At the corporate level, hotel management companies like Destination Hotels & Resorts have developed comprehensive sustainability programs that each of its properties can use as guidelines to formulate the specific initiatives that are implemented all the way down to individual hotel rooms, meeting spaces and hotel offices.

But no matter how well-designed and well-intentioned corporate and hotel specific sustainability initiatives are, ultimately most environmental programs come down to the active participation or "buy-in" of individual people and groups on the ground at the hotel and within the local and regional surroundings. Hotel associates, guests, suppliers and local community all have to take an active role, on a daily basis, in performing the tasks necessary to make any green initiative successful. These four different groups in essence form a partnership to consciously, positively impact the way each hotel reduces its environmental footprint.

Hotels must constantly educate and remind partners about the consequences almost every action people and organizations take has on the environment. Throughout the purchase, use and disposal cycle, there are few items people create, buy or consume that don't in some way impact the Earth.

Identifying ways to lessen environmental impact and educating people about the steps needed to make these policies effective are only part of the equation for success with sustainable practices. Each partner in the process must also be sufficiently motivated to make the extra effort, and sometimes, the extra expenditure, to choose the most earth-friendly course of action.

That's where hotels like L'Auberge Del Mar, by Destination Hotels & Resorts have a distinct advantage in receiving buy-in from these four sustainability partners. The hotel is located on one of California's most scenic stretches of Pacific Ocean coastline and people can't help but be motivated to look after the environment when nature's astounding beauty is on display each and every day. Dolphins take daily excursions along the coast within eyesight of hotel guests. For six months of the year, whales can be spotted as they travel between Alaska and Mexico. This spectacular ocean stage serves as a constant motivator to work toward cleaning up the planet.

In contrast to the beauty of the beach and ocean, the highly visible negative impact of humans on this idyllic setting also serve as a strong motivator. Trash along the beach adversely impacts people and makes them much more conscious of their waste disposal. The beautiful, sunny, rainless days drive home the fact that water is a precious resource that needs to be conserved and protected. When the rare rainstorm does hit the Del Mar area, storm water runoff can be seen entering the ocean up and down the coastline. Watching the manmade debris that flows along with the rain water pollute the ocean is enough to sadden even the most hardened of humans.

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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.