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While geared toward gauging consumer reaction to green product claims, a study recently released by UL Environment and conducted by Shelton Group also sheds light, I believe, on how consumers are most likely to react to hotel property green certification claims. In the study, “Under the Lens: Claiming Green, The Influence of Green Product Claims on Purchase Intent and Brand Perception,” 1,017 consumers were presented with a series of visual comparisons in which a problematic claim was paired with a legitimate claim or a certified claim. An example of a problematic claim was language on a product that can easily be perceived as greenwashing. A legitimate claim included credible language on a product but the information was not certified by a third party. A certified claim was one substantiated by a third party.
This past week I attended the annual International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show (IHMRS) in New York City. It is a show I have attended almost every year since starting in the lodging business in 1989. For those of you who have never attended, the show is one of our industry’s largest annual markets and runs in conjunction with Boutique Design New York (BDNY). Together, IHMRS and BDNY this year drew 13,017 trade professionals, an increase of 5 percent from the 12,406 last year. IHMRS this year was sectioned into areas covering green, kitchen design, operations, tabletop and technology. On the BDNY side, attendees could expect to find everything from artwork to furniture to lighting—just about anything of interest to a designer involved in a new hotel or renovation. The Hospitality Green Division of IHMRS was presented in partnership with Green Lodging News. Hospitality Media Group, the manager of IHMRS and BDNY, was the other partner.
The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation has released a new research study, “The Future of Financing Advanced Energy Efficient Building Equipment.” The paper, somewhat of a “Financing 101” for building upgrades, defines the growing building energy efficiency market, specifically focusing on project finance for retrofits in commercial buildings; outlines the major drivers and barriers of the industry; examines the latest financing mechanisms; and reviews the newest technologies that are moving the building sector towards a more efficient future. I highly recommend reading the study if you are planning to finance upgrades to your property—many of you I suspect. The study outlines three financing models of current importance: Energy Service Agreements (ESA) and Managed Energy Service Agreements (MESA); On-Bill Financing (OBF); and Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE).
The second annual Lodging Green & Sustainability Conference + Expo wrapped up in Las Vegas this past week. The event was held at the LEED Gold certified ARIA Resort & Casino. About 230 attended the event that was organized primarily by Lodging Magazine with assistance from EcoGreen Energy Solutions, Green Lodging News and NEWH. I attended last year’s event in Dallas. This year’s conference and expo attracted about 50 to 60 more people. The growth was noticeable and was exciting to see. The three-day event was packed with educational sessions, a master class on “Waste Management Innovation,” a tour of the ARIA Resort & Casino (see my blog post), networking opportunities with exhibitors, and the event’s first award presentation and dinner. Covering the conference as a reporter was challenging as each session was packed with highly relevant, newsworthy content and on several occasions there were three sessions held simultaneously.
Greenview has released another report—this one entitled “Green Venue Report 2014—The State of Convention Center Sustainability.” It was produced in partnership with Twirl Management. The study’s organizers aim to answer the following questions in the report: What are the individual and collective footprints (positive and negative) of events taking place within convention centers? What are best practices in the industry that more convention centers (and their event organizer clients) can benefit from? What innovative efforts by convention centers should be recognized and celebrated? According to Cara Unterkofler, Director, Greenview, a total of 37 convention centers, all of which were in the United States and Canada, were approached and invited to participate in a 108-question survey. The questions covered topics ranging from energy to waste to water to communications. Only 16 convention centers were able to complete the survey.
This past Tuesday (October 14), the Greater Miami & The Beaches Hotel Association honored hotels and allied businesses that are leading the adoption of sustainable hospitality practices at its 2nd Annual Sustainable Hospitality Awards. The event took place at the InterContinental Miami and I was asked to be a guest speaker at the event. Approximately 120 people attended. It was fun watching each of the award winners receive their awards—in categories ranging from Energy Efficiency & Conservation to Communication & Education. There is nothing like an awards ceremony to get folks charged up about sustainability. I have been seeing an increasing number of green lodging/tourism awards programs pop up lately. Lodging Magazine will be presenting awards in five categories at its Lodging Green + Sustainability Conference + Expo later this month. The Hotel Association of New York City organized a competition for three sustainability awards this year.
It was 11 years ago that Jack DeBoer, known in the industry as the founder of extended stay lodging, opened the first Value Place hotel in Wichita, Kan. Whenever I travel, it seems like I am always passing a Value Place. There is good reason as Kyle Rogg, President and COO of the brand, told me this past week that there are now 184 open in the United States. Seventy-eight of those properties are company owned and the remainder franchisee owned. “We have about five company owned and five franchisee owned in construction,” Rogg said. Value Place’s mission is to provide an affordable, clean, safe and simple place to stay. Value Place even checks the names of guests against the Family Watchdog/Sex Offender database. “We don’t know of anyone else who takes such important precautionary steps to help ensure the safety of guests,” the company says on its website. While not known as a green brand, the company is taking some major steps to weed out inefficiencies.
Caesars Entertainment recently released its Corporate Citizenship Report 2013-2014. Entitled “Serious Play,” the report outlines the company’s successes and challenges in areas including people, guests and communities, and planet. The report is one of many that have been released in recent months by our industry’s largest companies. In this column I will highlight just a few of Caesars Entertainment’s accomplishments in the area of environment. Take a quick glance at the report and you will notice the company made significant improvements in how it deals with waste. From 2012 to 2013, the company’s diversion rate increased from 24 percent to 34 percent. “We recognized that was a big opportunity,” said Gwen Migita, Vice President of Sustainability and Corporate Citizenship at Caesars. “We brought someone in at the corporate level to oversee it. In Las Vegas we worked on food waste diversion.
The luxurious Dent Island Lodge is located on Stuart Island in British Columbia, northwest of Vancouver. The resort sits adjacent to a network of waterways that connect to the Pacific Ocean. The property’s location is remote yet it is easily accessible by water taxi and seaplane. While its location is its strong point from a get away from it all, touristic standpoint, the resort is reliant on diesel fuel to power the generators that produce its electricity—a rather costly approach to power generation and not very sustainable. In the first quarter next year, Dent Island Lodge will test a highly unique floating power plant that will provide all of the electricity it needs. The plant will sit within a specially built barge and be connected to the Lodge by submersible cable. Vancouver, B.C.-based Water Wall Turbine Inc. is providing the system that extracts potential and kinetic energy from large, fast moving water currents for conversion into energy. The Switch will supply the 500 kW converter.
It is more than five years now since I first posted an article about beekeeping on the Green Lodging News website. That article referred to The Fairmont Washington, D.C. and its three rooftop hives that included 105,000 Italian honey bees. There are now almost 20 articles on our site that mention beekeeping. I wrote a column about the topic in 2010. It included some beekeeping best practices. For example, did you know that if you are going to have hives on your property, you need to have at least two hives and they should not all be oriented in the same direction? I bring up honeybees this week because Greenview just released a study on beekeeping entitled, “Honey-Sweetened Hospitality.” (See related guest column.) In the study Greenview attempts to quantify the beekeeping phenomenon in our industry—particularly in urban locations. They identified 55 hive hotels globally.
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