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How much thought do you put into your purchase of bathroom tissue (toilet paper)? I am in the middle of doing research for an article on bathroom tissue and am learning that there is a lot to consider regarding the environmental impact of a roll of TP—from how it is made to what its ingredients are and where those ingredients come from. Really, do you use any screening process whatsoever when buying TP? I would love to know. Eric Ricaurte, writing for HotelNewsNow.com, recently cited a World Wildlife Fund Report that found that some toilet paper sold here in the United States that ends up in hotels and restaurants can be linked to destruction of tropical forests. As the CEO of one paper company told me this past week, be skeptical of product made outside of North America.
Tidbits found in news about two reports released this past week provide fodder for those looking to analyze their marketing efforts toward eco-minded travelers. First of all, TripAdvisor announced the results of its latest TripAdvisor Industry Index, a survey that drew more than 25,000 responses from hoteliers around the world. Out of that survey came this news: More than one-third of respondents (34 percent) said they do not communicate their eco-friendly practices to travelers. Assuming the respondents do indeed have eco-friendly practices to communicate, what might be stopping them from doing so? What do you think? Perhaps nobody at the property has thought of using green practices as a marketing tool? Perhaps there is a disconnect between marketing and operations?
Two weeks ago Las Vegas Sands Corp. released its first Environmental Report. It summarizes the company’s environmental initiatives through 2011. This past week I had an opportunity to chat with Katarina Tesarova, executive director, Global Sustainability for Las Vegas Sands about the report and her company’s sustainability efforts. For those of you not familiar with Las Vegas Sands, the company’s properties include The Venetian, Sands Expo and Convention Center, and The Palazzo in Las Vegas; Sands Macao, The Venetian Macao and Sands Cotai Central in Macao, China; Marina Bay Sands in Singapore; and Sands Bethlehem in Pennsylvania. While Las Vegas Sands’ green programs were formalized fairly recently—in 2010 with its Sands Eco 360° program—the company’s progress has already been impressive.
There were two significant announcements in the news this past week. The first one is that a zero carbon emissions multi-hotel complex and convention center is being planned for near Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. The Chicago Convention Center development promises to be the world’s first zero carbon LEED Platinum convention center complex. Stay tuned for more details on this project. At press time the developer was out of the country and could not be reached. The second announcement involves the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort and its six 40-foot wind turbines. The owner of the hotel, Costa Dorada Associates, Miami, will spend about $500,000 for the turbines that will each generate 32,000 kWh of electricity. The turbines, oval shaped with intertwining blades, will sit on the roof of the 375-key property.
Late last month, Hyatt Hotels Corp. released its inaugural Corporate Responsibility Report. The report details the progress of Hyatt Thrive, the corporate responsibility platform that Hyatt launched last year. Prior to Hyatt Thrive, says Brigitta Witt, vice president corporate responsibility for Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, “We did not have a platform that we could roll up all of our initiatives in to.” Hyatt Thrive focuses on four areas: environmental sustainability, education and personal advancement, health and wellness, and economic development and investment. Hyatt’s more than 90,000 associates have been charged with carrying out the company’s Hyatt Thrive initiatives. I spoke with Brigitta about what I saw as the highlights of the report in the area of environmental sustainability.
During conversations with vendors at this past May’s HD Expo & Conference in Las Vegas, one of the words that seemed to be mentioned most was “reclaimed.” Reclaimed materials are hot now in design—especially reclaimed wood. Yes, there are companies scouring the country in search of “deconstructed” buildings that have wood that can be used again. This wood is coming from barns, warehouses, churches, homes and other structures. If you have used reclaimed wood in a new project or renovation, I would love to know where you got it and how you used it. There is a huge environmental upside to using reclaimed wood—for furniture, flooring, paneling, etc. Material destined for the landfill is diverted. Trees do not need to be cut down.
Green Lodging News will turn six years old this month. It has been seven years since I began the work to launch our electronic publication. Thank you very much to the many sponsors who have made it possible for Green Lodging News to publish its website, weekly e-newsletter, and weekly Green Supplier Spotlight. Please continue to support our sponsors and always be sure to tell them you found them here on Green Lodging News. Green Lodging News has grown a lot since July 2006. The website now averages more than 20,000 unique visitors and 120,000 total visits a month, and 450,000 page views a month. Our e-newsletter now reaches 3,466. That number grows daily. Please be sure to tell your colleagues to sign up for the e-newsletter by going to our website.
It’s here and you had better at least be familiar with it, especially if you host groups at your property. What I am referring to is HCMI 1.0, the methodology to calculate and communicate the carbon footprint of hotel stays and meetings. The methodology has been agreed upon by 23 leading global hospitality companies including Accor, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Corp., InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott International Inc., MGM Resorts International, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., and Wyndham Worldwide. The methodology is expected to be widely used within the next two years. It is designed to be applied by any hotel—large or small—around the world. While it will not take a rocket scientist to understand it, it is not simple addition either.
Last week I wrote about Best Western International’s new “I Care Clean” program and its use of UV (ultraviolet) wands, black lights and paper wraps during housekeeping. A few days ago I had an opportunity to chat with Ron Pohl, Best Western’s senior vice president brand management and member services, about “I Care Clean” and how the program is progressing. “It is going extremely well,” Pohl says. “Without any promotion of the concept, customer satisfaction and overall satisfaction scores have increased 13 percent.” Research conducted for Best Western Customer by IDEO highlighted guests’ increasing concern about guestroom cleanliness. “Customer expectations have changed completely,” Pohl says. “It is what the customer cannot see that is most concerning.” UV wands and black lights are not replacing any existing housekeeping practices.
This past week Best Western International rolled out a new cleaning program aimed to give it a competitive edge and meet guest demand in the midscale hotel market. Called “I Care Clean,” it equips housekeepers with ultra violet (UV) sterilization wands and UV inspection lights. Housekeepers will use the wands to sterilize “high touch” points in the hotel such as telephones, clocks, light switches, door handles, bathroom fixtures and common areas. The black lights will be used as part of the housekeeper inspection process to detect any biological matter, food particles, and more, that the human eye cannot see. Also as part of I Care Clean, Best Western will be offering TV remotes that are easier to clean and disinfect, wraps for remotes, and pillow and blanket wraps. I would love to know what you think about Best Western’s new cleaning initiatives.
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