I have written about Starwood’s Make a Green Choice program several times in the past. In case you are not familiar with it, it allows a guest to opt out of housekeeping entirely for up to three days in a row. Guests are rewarded for their participation with a $5 voucher to use at a Starwood restaurant or Starwood Preferred Guest points (500 points, or 250 if a select-service hotel). Between the program’s launch in 2009 and the end of 2012, it had resulted in the saving of 153 million gallons of water, 662,000 kilowatts of electricity, 871,000 therms of natural gas, and 190,000 gallons of cleaning supplies. Interestingly, at least one property has taken the Make a Green Choice idea and made it an opportunity to give back to the local community.
Like guests at participating Starwood properties, guests at the new Lake House at High Peaks Resort in Lake Placid, N.Y. can opt out of daily housekeeping services. In addition to significant reduction in the use of chemicals and their disposal, guests will earn a $5 daily credit which can be applied at the Bar at Lake House, or in Dancing Bears Restaurant at High Peaks Resort. Alternatively, the guest credit may be donated to the Mirror Lake Watershed Assn., which works to preserve the pristine beauty of Mirror Lake. While I have heard of savings from towel/linen reuse programs being linked to a worthy cause, this is the first example I have come across of an “opting out of housekeeping” decision being linked to helping a nonprofit. According to a resort spokesperson, only a few guests have opted to choose the donation option so far but the program is still in its first weeks.
In the press release about this action, Matthew Wheeler, General Manager of Lake House at High Peaks Resort, said, “It is important for all of us who live and work in Lake Placid to help protect and preserve our natural resources. So we have found a way for our guests to conserve too, and perhaps even contribute to the preservation of our local surroundings. All you need to do is dial the ‘service at its peak button’ from your in-room telephone, and you can request participation in our easy yet vitally important program.”
According to Bill Billerman, Chairman of the Mirror Lake Watershed Assn., the objective of the Mirror Lake Watershed Assn. is to “further the enhancement and protection of the ecology and beauty of Mirror Lake, its shores, and its watershed.” The Mirror Lake Watershed Assn. was formed in 1997 by the LP/NE Water Management Committee to focus on water quality in the Mirror Lake watershed.
Have you linked your “opting out of housekeeping” program to the assistance of a nonprofit? If so, I would love to learn more about it. I can be reached at email@example.com.