Sustainability: Employee Risk in the Environmentally Aware Age

By Daniel Link Assistant Vice President of Analytics, Gallagher Bassett | March 10, 2019

The last time I traveled for work, I found the tag on my bed indicating the hotel participated in a sustainability "green" program. By hanging the tag on my door, I could forgo daily room cleaning for the duration of my two-night stay. In exchange I'd earn loyalty points or a discounted meal on the property. I hung the tag on my door. The next morning, I made my bed and started my day.

Why wouldn't I do it? I am being a good environmental steward and enjoying biscotti in the process. Hotel guests see "green room" programs as a good way to support sustainability initiatives as they travel for both business and pleasure. But after check-out, how are the housekeepers and other hotel employees affected?

"Green" Programs

Starting in October 2018, nearly 8,000 workers of a large international organization picketed in multiple U.S. cities, seeking several demands, including improved safety in the workplace. After almost two months of picket lines, striking hotel workers concluded their walk out, following a deal struck in San Francisco.

According to The New York Times article explaining the conditions surrounding the strike, workers alleged that the hotels' "green" program, which asks guests to forgo daily housekeeping for environmental reasons, is a good cause. However, it can result in tight turnarounds for deep-cleaning rooms depending on when guests check out. On Dec. 5, 2018, when the strike concluded, the publicized terms said housekeepers will receive a reduced workload that increases over the life of their contract, especially if they have a number of rooms that don't receive daily cleaning as part of the "green" program.

A more demanding work environment with a "green" program needs to consider the shifting job market. In review of exposure data, a tighter labor market (with low unemployment, high consolidation and aging workforce) increases instances where hotel executives could have a staff with a large population of older, less tenured workers. These employees have to work harder to clean a room that has been maintained by a guest for several days, but in the same amount of time as a room that was maintained daily.

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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.