The Three New R's of Success

By Tedd Saunders Chief Sustainability Officer, The Saunders Hotel Group | May 17, 2015

Even if one occasionally played hooky, all of us remember the so-called "three R's" from our school days: Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic. For the past 25 years, businesspeople aiming to create the most efficient, cost effective and profitable operations focused on another three R's: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Now that socially responsible business practices have gone so mainstream, a new threesome sums up the opportunities we face in this new age. Namely, reducing Risk, increasing Revenue and enhancing Reputation. And what business leader would not wish those three benefits for (and from) their company?

Long gone are the days when a few simple measures would satisfy, much less impress one's individual guests, corporate travelers or event planners. The great news is that there are countless ways to improve your short and ongoing bottom line while simultaneously lowering costs and creating guest and employee loyalty. It's an all too rare win win business strategy that almost every leading company sees the value in - and is taking action on. And that's a very good thing because as I'll write about later, travelers of all stripes are searching out and rewarding hotels that they see taking genuine action.

For many years there has been an abundance of information available about the simple energy and water saving measures one can implement at your properties. When Mimi Winchester, the Publisher of HBR, asked me to write an article I immediately decided to share practical tips and lessons learned at Saunders Hotel Group and EcoLogical Solutions. My goal is to give you insights that would take you beyond the basics and bring you up to speed with best practices that will give you a competitive edge in your marketplace.

Reducing Risk

So, now that you've installed energy efficient bulbs, water saving aerators and showerheads, as well as implemented linen reuse and a recycling program what are the best measures to undertake which will positively impact your operation? There are lots of ways to proceed, but to be most strategic it is invaluable to first truly grasp your properties' needs.

One of the first steps we always recommend is to do a Facilities Assessment where you can gain an understanding of the unique characteristics of your property. This is a crucial way to minimize risk to your operation. What are your strengths, weaknesses and opportunities from an energy, water, waste and purchasing perspective? What is the realistic useful life of your equipment and building systems? Stepping back and proactively taking stock can help you invest your dollars most wisely, rather than being in reactive mode where you're simply putting out costly fires again and again.

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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.