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SAN FRANCISCO—Airbnb, a leading community-driven hospitality company, released a new study quantifying the environmental benefits of home sharing for travelers. Conducted by Cleantech Group (CTG), this study finds that Airbnb promotes a more efficient use of existing resources and is an environmentally sustainable way to travel. Traveling on Airbnb results in significant reduction in energy and water use, greenhouse gas emissions, and waste, and encourages more sustainable practices among both hosts and guests. “Resource sharing is rapidly growing across a number of sectors including hospitality, consumer goods, and transportation,” said Michael Ellis, EVP Advisory for CTG. “Cleantech Group’s initial analysis demonstrates some of the improvements in environmental resource efficiency that Airbnb’s platform delivers.” “We have always believed that the Airbnb community supports environmental sustainability around the world, and it’s truly amazing to see that the impact is even bigger than we could have imagined,” said Joe Gebbia, Chief Product Officer and co-founder of Airbnb.
ITHACA, N.Y.—A new study from Cornell University has found that hotels gain a revenue benefit when they are certified under the LEED sustainable building program. By comparing LEED certified hotels with a competitive set of non-certified hotels, the study found substantial increases in average daily rates and revenue per available room for the LEED hotels. The study, “The Impact of LEED Certification on Hotel Performance,” by Matthew Walsman, Rohit Verma, and Suresh Muthulingam, is available at no charge from the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) at the School of Hotel Administration. “The hotel industry has embraced environmental sustainability and several hotels have registered for or earned ‘green’ certification under the LEED program,” said Verma, who is the Singapore Tourism Board Distinguished Professor at the School of Hotel Administration. “But LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is really aimed at controlling costs by limiting resource use. So, the question was whether there also is a revenue benefit from LEED. We found that the answer is, absolutely yes.”
PORTLAND, ORE.—The Oregon Convention Center (OCC) has been certified to the highest level of a new international sustainability standard. OCC achieved Level Four certification for the ASTM Standard pertaining to the evaluation and selection of venues for environmentally sustainable meetings, events, trade shows and conferences. The venue standard is one of nine standards introduced by the meetings, conventions, exhibitions and events industry in 2012 to provide event planners and suppliers with specifications for producing events in a more sustainable manner. Scott Cruickshank, Executive Director of the OCC, commented, “We are proud and excited to be the first convention center to attain Level Four of the ASTM Venue certification. Certification to the industry’s global standard at its highest level is further evidence of OCC’s ongoing commitment to sustainability.” Earlier this year, the Convention Center earned LEED Platinum re-certification as an existing building and, in 2013, it was re-designated a Salmon Safe facility based upon its design and use of storm water runoff.
SANTA MONICA, CALIF.—ESSIO has announced the expansion of its Spa Partnership Program by adding several leading spa accounts from across the country, including Burke Williams Day Spas in California, The Mandarin Oriental in Miami and Mokara Spa at the Omni Houston Hotel. ESSIO’s unique aromatherapy system infuses the shower water with USDA-certified organic essential oils.
OTTAWA, ON.—Green Key Global (GKG), in partnership with MPI Foundation Canada, announces the release of version 2.0 of the Green Key Meetings Program, a comprehensive environmental assessment tool for facilities, both lodging and non-lodging, that host meetings of any scale. Developed with the assistance of senior meeting planner professionals, the Program has been updated to ensure incorporation of current meeting practice elements as well as to complement the well-known APEX/ASTM Green Meetings Standards.
RALEIGH, N.C.—A state environmental program recently recognized North Carolina’s 100th tourism business for its use of sustainable practices that save energy and protect the environment. The NC GreenTravel Initiative now boasts 100 sustainable tourism-oriented businesses with the recent addition of the Greenville Uptown Umbrella Market, a farmer’s market that features locally-grown food and uses a refurbished trolley to shuttle people for free to the market from outlying areas in eastern North Carolina. “On top of being a gorgeous place to live and visit, North Carolina is ideal for those who want to travel green,” said John Skvarla, Secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. “The NC GreenTravel Initiative has made people more aware of sustainable, travel-oriented businesses that make sound investments in sustainability. These businesses are a vital part of our efforts to protect the environment and encourage economic growth.” NC GreenTravel started in October 2011 to promote sustainable travel. Tourism-focused businesses, including hotels and state parks, apply and are selected for the program.
NASHVILLE, TENN.—The Hilton Garden Inn Nashville/Franklin Cool Springs, a full-service hotel located 14 miles outside of Nashville, has recently upgraded 10 of its guestrooms to make them more comfortable for people with asthma and allergies. The rooms were installed by PURE Solutions, which provides allergy travel accommodations at nearly 300 hotels nationwide.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Health-conscious travelers now make up more than 40 percent of the U.S. travel marketplace and that number is trending upward. Already a $439 billion market, the wellness travel industry is expected to grow another 50 percent through 2017, according to the Global Wellness Tourism Congress (GWTC). Meanwhile, hotels and resorts are spending billions of dollars on new facilities and upgrading existing properties to meet the demand of travelers looking for the best possible healthy destination experience. To help legitimize the business of healthy travel destinations, a new, first of its kind nonprofit has been formed called the Institute for Healthy Destination Accreditation (IHDA). The Washington, D.C.-based IHDA utilizes a proprietary science-based certification process, the only one in the industry, designed to help resorts and hotels measure and improve their health-related initiatives, amenities, facilities and personnel. Likewise, the IHDA-operated website will serve as a consumer portal where health-focused travelers can find useful and timely IHDA-certified information about healthy travel options throughout the United States and eventually throughout the world.
ORLANDO—Orlando has become the first destination to produce a comprehensive sustainability report focused on the visitor experience. The goal of the report is to tell the sustainability journey of Orlando, allowing it to chronicle progress toward the goal of becoming one of the world’s leading sustainable destinations. The Orlando Destination Sustainability Report is a pillar program of Green Destination Orlando (GDO), and a co-production between GDO, Greenview and the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management, along with community volunteers. The report shares Orlando’s vision where visitors have a total sustainable experience, beginning the moment they plan their visit, to arrival in Orlando, to their stay at local lodging, to their daily activities, and all the way back home. Through this lens of a complete loop, the report describes the destination-wide programs and performance across various components of the visitor experience, covering key issues such as green buildings, transportation, food systems, solid waste, water, energy, natural resources, and many others.
LAS VEGAS—ARIA Resort & Casino, LEED Gold and Green Key certified, as well as a TripAdvisor GreenLeader at the Platinum level, will be the site of this fall’s second annual Lodging Green & Sustainability Conference & Expo in Las Vegas. The LODGING Magazine event, with the support of EcoGreen Energy Solutions, will take place October 28 to 30. “This year we anticipate doubling the size of our event in both attendance and exhibit area,” says LODGING magazine Publisher Bill Corsini, who will once again host this annual event. “While still relatively small in only our second year, the conference will again attract the best and the brightest among sustainability experts and professionals in the hotel space. We at LODGING Media are extremely excited by how well the conference was received by all participants last year, and everyone agrees the anticipation for this year is off the charts.” The three-day conference and expo will kick off on Tuesday, October 28 with a tour of ARIA, part of the CityCenter complex.
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