h2hotel's Eco-Friendly View is All About You

By Circe Sher Co-Founder, Piazza Hospitality | May 28, 2017

When Piazza Hospitality first started developing its h2hotel concept and design in Healdsburg in the mid 2000s, "green" properties were hardly as well-known as they are today. Architects tended to simply follow Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) guidelines, and most consumers weren't really clear on what "eco-friendly" meant.

The idea of being earth-friendly seemed like something everyone could and should embrace, but bringing that vision into a reality consumers actually wanted could be challenging. As our Piazza team toured a variety of LEED properties including offices and hospitality spaces, we found that many of the properties felt austere, cold and impersonal. Strictly following LEED requirements seemed to dictate modest comfort level, with luxury compromised by a rigid experience.

Working with our architects, David Baker and Partners in San Francisco, we decided to take a different approach. We would be earth-friendly, but above all, we would be guest-friendly. Our Mission Statement: "an eco-friendly view that's all about you."

These days, guests are increasingly environmentally minded. An April 2013 survey of 1,300 U.S. travelers by TripAdvisor.com reported that 62 percent "often or always" consider the environment when choosing hotels. And they want the eco-information, as the same report found that 64 percent of respondents said "they rarely or never" feel informed about whether hotels are truly eco-friendly.

At the same time, a March 2015 Cornell University School of Hotel Administration survey of 120,000 hotel customers found that while guests are generally willing to participate in sustainability programs, green operations still do not factor above price, convenience and quality when selecting a hotel.

Finding Balance

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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.