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When it comes to green cleaning, an often underemphasized area is the need for matting at all hotel entries. Stopping dust, soils, and contaminants before they ever enter a facility helps reduce the need for cleaning and enhances indoor environmental quality. This is why it makes sense to place effective matting systems at the heart of any green cleaning program. The most effective type of mats are referred to as high-performance mats, which are higher-quality mats that have a performance life of several years. These mats are often part of what is called a soil “source control” strategy. It is common to overlook the impact that sidewalks, parking lots, entries, and other areas can have on the health of the indoor environment. But, as much as 90 percent of the dust and dirt that enters a facility “walks in” through building entries.
Remember those days when we didn’t have to worry about bed bugs? When we were dancing in the brilliance of chemicals and our freedom from pests? Well, we were bugless, but our environment and wildlife was suffocating from the affects of harmful chemicals like DTT, and the pesticides were also affecting our own health. The change in pesticide practices has enabled the resurgence of bed bugs. But even if we kept up our bad habits, the bed bugs would have reappeared anyway. All those chemicals have only created a greater monster—they’re now resistant to many pesticides. International travel hasn’t helped us much. Travelers bring the bed bugs with them. Hotels once used residual chemicals constantly in their rooms in order to maintain a “pest free” status. But in the 1990s they replaced their pesticides with traps for other pests.
If you’re reading this you recognize that there is a portion of your customer base who values green initiatives and you are trying to reach those guests. Those guests may be groups who have made “green” a criterion for selecting locations for their meetings or annual conferences. Or they may be individuals who are extending their environmental values to all aspects of their life—even recreation and travel. But how do you showcase your green commitment? It’s not easy to see green. To showcase your green commitment, don’t overlook the value of prominent high-aesthetic recycling containers. Whether it’s fair or not, many of your guests will judge your green efforts by the visual clues they see. Recycling bins offer your guests a constant visual reminder of your green initiatives.
If you are an owner or manager of a hotel, sustainability is now your number one business risk factor. Many forces are going to combine to drive up hotel ownership costs in the next three years. Besides the usual inflation type expenses, energy and employees, the big ones are going to be global warming taxation and new green building codes. Global warming has been a disputed topic of discussion for decades, championed by most scientists, a few public figures, celebrities, environmental evangelists, and a few progressive companies. Unfortunately, global warming never made it onto the radar screen of hotel owners even though their customers have been telling them in survey after survey for the last five years they want to stay at environmentally friendly places.
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.—Atlantic City sees “green” in more than just money these days. Since 2008, the Atlantic City Convention and Visitor’s Authority (ACCVA) has been overseeing environmentally friendly initiatives that have made the area one of the “greenest” meeting destinations in the United States. ACCVA is a member of the ASAE Convene Green Alliance (CGA), a partnership that allows the organization to learn about and share its experiences on how to lessen its environmental impact. “Atlantic City was an early industry partner of CGA, a community of nearly 1,000 association meeting professionals and hospitality partners,” says Kristin Clarke, Convene Green coordinator. “Its commitment to sustainability and social giveback is authentic, and our members know that.”
In the summer of 2011, after many years of smaller, hotel specific efforts to improve our purchases, Saunders Hotel Group officially launched its Sustainable Purchasing Policy (SPP) company-wide. It was comprehensive, it was detailed, it was specific while remaining widely applicable, and by the fall of 2011 it was most likely out of date. In broad terms, our SPP is designed to assist purchasing managers to select better products. We fully understand that what is better today may be standard (hopefully) tomorrow. Therefore the SPP will continually evolve. As it stands now, the SPP provides excellent support and information on a variety of goods and services. However, hotel managers won’t leaf through a thick stack detailing the policy at every purchase.
Hotels have come a long way in embracing sustainability over the last decade, and for good reason. Evidence shows companies focused on sustainability outperform their peers. In the first quarter of Travelocity’s green hotel website, bookings for green hotels were 65 percent higher than for their non-green counterparts. Apart from competitive edge, operators cite financial benefit, guest satisfaction, brand enhancement, and staff retention and productivity as benefits of green hotel operation. The term “green hotel” has also evolved. Originally the term was a “catch all” for properties with almost any innovation that reduced water, waste, energy or chemicals, while saving money. But that bar has risen rapidly. No longer considered innovations, a green hotel is expected to do all the above.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, we all have some contemplation ahead of us regarding the value of power continuity and what it means for long-term business success. For lodging in particular, power continuity must be viewed as an increasingly strategic consideration, given the critical role lodging plays in providing shelter during an extended outage. And it is not just those in traditional hurricane corridors like the Gulf and Southern Atlantic coastlines who must plan for power continuity in the event of extreme weather; hurricane strike zones have extended almost up to Maine, and heat waves, droughts and ice storms can also be expected to disrupt power supply regardless of geographic location.
As the lodging industry continues to lose sleep over the bed bug epidemic, it’s more important than ever to maintain effective, proactive pest management practices at your hotel. Unfortunately, many facilities have turned to improper techniques in their efforts to fight bed bugs—with serious consequences for their guests and the environment. In November, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) issued a health advisory to alert the public to the dangers of improperly applying pesticides for bed bug control. According to the advisory, over the past few years, there has been an increase in the number of incidents reported of people misusing pesticides to treat bed bug infestations. Several facilities have illegally sprayed outdoor pesticides indoors.
Meeting planners and attendees today are looking for more than just a nice hotel in a hip city to have their meetings. Green meetings—events and conferences organized with a lens toward reducing environmental harm—have become much more common, although the levels of “greenness” vary widely. Now groups are embracing “green” in a broader sense, one that includes social responsibility, by seeking ways to give back to the communities they are visiting. The hospitality industry is all about serving the needs of others. Therefore, it makes sense that meetings destinations and venues partner with local nonprofits to offer community service opportunities. At many hotels, employees have taken the lead to give back, volunteering both time and money to organizations that improve the environment and lives of people.
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