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PARSIPPANY, N.J.—Wyndham Green by Wyndham Worldwide announced the sponsorship of The Wyndham Green Paddle 2010 featuring ultra-endurance athlete Tom Jones and his quest to raise public awareness about the great risks to the environment and the world’s oceans from improper and excessive use of plastic. From May 16 to August 12, Tom Jones will attempt to create a new world record by paddling from Key West, Fla., to New York City on a standup paddleboard. Wyndham Green is Wyndham’s sustainability program that focuses on social responsibility and the environment as a part of the company’s overall green strategy. Wyndham Green has partnered with Tom Jones and Plastic Free Ocean, a subsidiary of the Tom Jones Foundation, a federally registered 501(c)3 nonprofit incorporated in California, in order to raise funds and public awareness about the harm plastic has on the environment and the resources needed to rid oceans of these pollutants.
OLD SAYBROOK, CONN.—Saybrook Point Inn & Spa, located in Old Saybrook, Conn., one of New England’s most widely recognized resorts for its environmental and sustainable practices, has launched a Green Meetings program to help meeting planners meet the growing demand for environmentally sound meetings and events. Across its resort-wide operational and sustainable practices, including its 120-slip marina, Saybrook Point Inn & Spa is the first full-service hotel in Connecticut to receive the Energy Star rating awarded by the United States Environmental Protection Agency for superior energy performance and is also one of the first hotels in the state to be certified as part of the Connecticut Green Lodging Program, among other accolades. Under the guidance of Saybrook’s owner Stephen Tagliatela, the Green Meetings program incorporates “Farm to Chef” menus sourced from local providers, recycling containers in the meeting space as well as a towel and linen reuse program.
FORT WALTON BEACH, FLA.—Residents along the Gulf Coast planning on getting a haircut last weekend had to hold off until this past Monday (May 17) when they were able to not only get a free haircut but also help stem the flow of pollution from the oil spill disaster that is threatening the entire region. The Hampton Inn Fort Walton Beach in partnership with Matter of Trust, an ecological nonprofit organization, sponsored free haircuts on Monday, May 17 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The hair clippings will be used to create booms and mats that absorb and contain the oil. Hair is a natural absorbent of oil and the mats and booms can be reused up to 100 times. Although the Hampton Inn Fort Walton Beach, located at 1112 Santa Rosa Boulevard, is in an area currently not affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, communities are coming together to help with the Gulf's oil spill cleanup efforts.
BROOMFIELD, COLO.—For the fourth consecutive year, RockResorts and Vail Resorts Hospitality are offering a voluntourism “Give & Getaway” package. This rewarding travel option offers discounted lodging rates to guests who ‘give back’ and volunteer at the company’s eight RockResorts, lodging properties in Keystone and Breckenridge, a collection of accommodations in the Grand Tetons, as well as two of the newest RockResorts in Miami and Breckenridge. More than 15 volunteer projects will be offered this year as part of the Give & Getaway package, all of which are focused on natural resource conservation and preservation near the company’s resorts. “Give & Getaway” projects include recreational trail restoration, working with sustainable local farmers, helping to improve forest health and projects supporting local stream and river ecosystems. Full-day and half-day projects are available.
NEW YORK CITY—The arrival of the InterContinental New York Times Square as New York City’s newest and largest new-build hotel has created an active media buzz from highly respected media outlets in travel and hospitality to design to environmental publications. Situated on 44th Street just west of Times Square, the 607-room hotel is in the heart of the Broadway Theatre district, and a short stroll from Fifth Avenue shopping and Central Park. Articles have appeared in major publications such as The New York Times and the International Herald Tribune. The InterContinental New York Times Square is committed to the environment and has undertaken a number of green initiatives in its pursuit of LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), an internationally recognized green building certification system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
NEWPORT, ORE.—One of Oregon’s greenest inns—The Viking’s Greenstone Inn—is just days away from its May 21 opening. Located in Newport within steps of the Pacific Ocean, the 20-room inn features solar panels positioned on a recyclable metal roof, a waste water heat recovery system, a series of seven on-demand water heaters, a key card-based guestroom energy management system, and carpeting made from recycled materials. According to Brendan Carmody, who owns the inn along with Bonnie, his wife, there are plans to add a charging station for electric vehicles toward the end of this year. The owners also intend to add two wind turbines by sometime in 2012.
SEATTLE—The Washington Lodging Association (WLA) has selected Best Western Peppertree Inns and Columbia Hospitality as the two pilot companies to participate in its Greening Washington’s Lodging Industry Program. Each pilot company will receive consulting assistance from WLA’s professional partner, Cascadia Consulting Group, to implement new environmental practices, and measure and market their successes. Open houses and workshops will be held to showcase the hotels’ efforts and share the results and lessons learned with industry peers, guests and the public. Columbia Hospitality’s participating properties include Salish Lodge & Spa, Snoqualmie; Bell Harbor International Conference Center, Seattle; and Talaris Conference Center, Seattle. All four of Best Western Peppertree Inns’ properties, located in Spokane, Liberty Lake, Auburn and Omak, will participate as pilots.
ITHACA, N.Y.—A team of three researchers has developed a standard measurement of expenses for energy and supplies that can be used as a sustainability gauge for the hotel industry. The researchers, Jie Zhang and Nitin Joglekar, of Boston University, and Rohit Verma, of Cornell University, explain their measurement in a new report from Cornell’s Center for Hospitality Research, “Developing Measures for Environmental Sustainability in Hotels: An Exploratory Study.” The report is available at no charge from the center. “Looking at the hotel chart of accounts, we see that managers have to analyze expenses in at least five areas of their operating statement to get a sense of their energy and resource use, which affects their operation’s sustainability,” said Zhang, a doctoral candidate at Boston University. “We analyzed operating-statement accounts for 984 U.S. hotels over the span of 2001 to 2008.”
AUSTIN, TEXAS—Former Disney executive Dennis Snow is scheduled to speak about how careful orchestration is needed to deliver world-class customer service during the closing session of the 2010 Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC) on June 24. Snow will also discuss with attendees his extensive experience in customer service, which he built through his 20 years with the Walt Disney World Co. The conference, produced by Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP), is June 21 to 24 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. After working his way up through Disney, Snow launched a division of the Disney Institute responsible for consulting with some of the world’s largest companies including Exxon, AT&T, General Motors and Coca-Cola. This division quickly became the fastest growing venture of the Disney Institute and experienced repeat business of nearly 100 percent.
ALBANY, N.Y.—The “I Love New York” logo, one of the most famous icons ever created for a tourism campaign, has gone green. The new green heart is part of a new “Green Heart NY” campaign and website that was soft launched on Earth Day by the New York State Department of Tourism. The program was put together with the support of the New York State Department of Economic Development and the New York State Hospitality and Tourism Association (NYSHTA). The new website includes links to green lodging establishments, green restaurants, eco-certified attractions such as Niagara Falls State Park and the Empire State Building, information on eco-friendly transportation, and comments from New Yorkers who have taken steps to help keep their state green. The list of green hotels and inns is the culmination of a two-year pilot program run by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
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