Publisher's Point of View

Each week, Glenn Hasek, publisher and editor of Green Lodging News, will address the hottest industry topics. Sometimes hard hitting, his column will challenge the industry’s leaders to take action. At other times, he will lift up the industry’s environmental champions. “Point of View” is a column you will not want to miss. To contact Glenn Hasek, call (813) 510-3868, or write to:

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Drive Electric Orlando Officially Up & Running with Lodging Industry Support


Back in April I reported on the coming of Drive Electric Orlando to the Orlando, Fla., area. The program officially launched last week. With the help of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, which is renting Nissan LEAF plug-in electric vehicles at its Orlando International Airport location, Orlando visitors can now drive an electric car to their hotel and favorite destinations. More than 20 Orlando area hotels/hotel companies are partners in the venture—each offering charging stations for guests. The Drive Electric Orlando website includes a handy map where one can find charging stations. There are now more than 300 charging stations available. Many of the hotel partners are offering free valet parking for electric cars. Attendants will not only park the car, but also plug it in to recharge the battery.

More on TripAdvisor’s GreenLeaders Certification Program


Let’s say you are planning a trip and you use TripAdvisor to help you identify a place to stay. Once you enter your destination and dates of travel and hit “enter” you are taken to a list of lodging establishments. At that point you have the choice of sorting your options by criteria such as “Best Value,” “Luxury,” “Romantic,” and “Green.” According to Jenny Rushmore, director of responsible travel at TripAdvisor, that “Green” option has been selected 100,000 times since TripAdvisor launched its GreenLeaders program earlier this year in April. This past week I posted my fourth article in my series on green lodging certification programs—this time on TripAdvisor’s GreenLeaders program. More than 2,100 hotels and B&Bs now participate as either a GreenLeader or GreenPartner in TripAdvisor’s green lodging recognition program.

Fourth Article in Green Certification Series to Focus on TripAdvisor


I have completed three articles on green lodging certification programs so far—one on the Audubon International Green Lodging Program, another on the Green Key Global Eco-Rating Program, and another on the Green Seal Standard for Lodging Properties, GS-33. This week be sure to look for the fourth in my series of articles—this time focusing on TripAdvisor’s GreenLeaders program. For those of you not familiar with GreenLeaders, it was launched on Earth Day earlier this year. The program considers a property’s holistic approach to green practices and ranks them based on four levels of participation—Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum. The more green practices a hotel has in place, the higher its TripAdvisor GreenLeaders level. Hotels that don't meet the requirements for GreenLeaders can still participate in the program.

Survey Sheds Light on Consumer Willingness to Support Socially Responsible Businesses


If you are looking for data to support your implementation of socially responsible business practices and justification to use those practices in your marketing efforts, I highly recommend taking a look at the results of a survey just released by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy. According to The Nielsen Global Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility, 50 percent of global consumers surveyed are willing to pay more for goods and services from companies that have implemented programs to give back to society, an increase of five points (45 percent) from 2011. Nielsen surveyed more than 29,000 Internet respondents in 58 countries. The percentage of consumers willing to pay more increased among both males and females.

Study on Casinos Ties Drop in Ambulance Calls to Smoke-Free Policies


Hospitality companies with casinos here in the United States have generally done an excellent job implementing sustainability programs. Witness the many articles here on Green Lodging News about the various gaming companies—especially those in Las Vegas. Where they are still failing is in the ongoing exposure of guests and employees to secondhand smoke in casinos where smoking is still legal. A recent study hammers home the danger in exposing individuals to secondhand smoke in a casino environment. In case you missed it, the study published in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association, shows how implementing a smoke-free policy in casinos actually reduces the number of casino-related medical emergencies and ambulance calls. The focus of the study: Gilpin County, Colo.

My Second in a Series of Articles on Certification—Green Key Global


This past week I posted the second in my series of articles on green lodging certification programs. It focuses on the Green Key Global Eco-Rating Program. (I had previously written about Audubon International’s Green Lodging Program. See our website for that article.) The Green Key program got its start in Canada where there are now 1,231 rated properties. The program was launched by the Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) in 1997. In partnership with LRA Worldwide, Inc. in the United States, HAC has grown the program to include 1,621 rated properties in the U.S. There are 20 additional countries that now have Green Key rated properties. Green Key’s strategy of getting hotel companies to commit entire portfolios (or significant chunks) to its rating program has been a successful one.

Green Lodging News Begins Series on Certification Programs


I have begun a series of articles on the various green lodging certification programs. Please be sure to look for them in the coming weeks. They will appear in no particular order. The first one, on Audubon International’s Green Lodging Program, was just posted on Green Lodging News. I have taken a really close look at just a few programs so far. They can all be improved in one way or another. Some of them have applications that just need a good proofreading. If you are involved in one or are considering one and notice something that needs to be improved, don’t hesitate to offer your suggestions to those who run the program. What have I noticed so far? In one case I caught a question that was outdated by a couple of years. It made me wonder how often the application was looked at.

Fall Schedule Filling Up with Green Conferences, Expos


Get out your calendars. It is going to be a busy green lodging conference and trade show season beginning in October. As reported here previously, Lodging Magazine, in collaboration with EcoGreenHotel (Green Lodging News is a sponsor), is wrapping up the planning for its first Lodging Green + Sustainability Conference + Expo. It will be held from October 1 to 3 at the LEED Gold certified Omni Dallas Hotel. Details are available on the conference website but you should know that the conference organizers have secured the participation of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. as the keynote speaker. Many other green lodging leaders you have come to know here on Green Lodging News will also be moderators, speakers or panelists. I will be moderating two sessions. Kennedy’s speech will highlight the first day of the event.

Positive Environmental Impact of Electric Shuttle Vans Could Be Significant


More than three years ago I wrote about shuttle vehicle idling. That column was prompted by a flight attendant who wrote to me about the many hotel shuttle vehicles she has to ride and the drivers’ practice of keeping the engine running at all times. While idling is often something out of our control as drivers, we can do some things to minimize idling—turning the engine off when not actually driving anywhere and not using restaurant or coffee shop drive-throughs. In the article I posted this past week on electric shuttle vans, I talk about idling. Electric vans do “idle” but there are no emissions at all. “There is no reduction in charge,” says Christine Smith, vice president of sales & marketing for Zenith Motors. In fact, whether “idling” or not, there are no direct emissions from an electric van.

Director of Engineering’s Conservation Idea Inspired by Atlanta Rainstorm


It is amazing what a rain storm and some innovative thinking can do. As detailed in my article this week about the Grand Hyatt Atlanta, Wes Shirley, the hotel’s director of engineering, was standing one day watching the rain fall on the third floor terrace of the 439-room hotel. He wondered how the hotel could best capture and recycle the rainwater falling on the terrace. He got together with a couple of friends—a plumber and another engineer—to figure out a plan. What the three came up with, with the assistance of some students at Southern Polytechnic University, is an extensive rainwater harvesting system that has the potential to capture almost one million gallons of rainwater a year. Rainwater falling on the 32,000 square feet of terrace previously drained directly into Atlanta’s sewer system.

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