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If you had to stay in a hotel room with an unpleasant smell, poor air circulation or loud noises from the air-conditioning unit, you would likely want to change rooms. You might even vow to avoid the hotel or add negative feedback to a review site to warn other travelers. Today, it’s easier than ever for hotel guests to share details of their unpleasant experiences on the Internet using social media. Negative reviews can be extremely damaging to a hotel’s reputation and the bottom line. A successful hotel operation will ensure that service and customer satisfaction are at the forefront to keep negative experiences from ever occurring. One way to keep guests happy is through proper maintenance of air-conditioning (A/C) units, which can cause unpleasant odors.
As the hospitality industry continues to incorporate responsible and sustainable practices, facility management programs can find a surprising ally to help navigate some of the new challenges and requirements—your pest management professional. Energy management, water conservation, lighting, waste management, recycling, air quality, LEED compliance—today’s hospitality management has much more to consider to be successful than in days past. Pest and vermin control have always been part of providing a great environment for your guests; but many businesses don’t realize that a qualified pest management professional (PMP) can also help provide support in areas such as sustainability, green programs and LEED.
Prior to the economic collapse of 2008, environmental sustainability was gaining momentum within the hospitality and development industries of the United States. As these industries struggled to regain lost ground, sustainability took a back seat. To fully understand why this occurred and how to shape the future of sustainability in industry, we must consider culture in addition to economy. The definition of sustainability according to Webster’s: of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged. It is an outdated notion that we can build without regard to the impact of the environment and the community. If we look at the world from a global perspective, how do we ensure that we are not depleting the resources?
If your hotel advertised that it is so green that it no longer uses cleaning chemicals at all to clean guestrooms, do you think potential guests would make reservations years in advance? Not care if cleaning chemicals, green or otherwise, are used or not? Not even consider making a reservation in your hotel property? If your answer is the last—not even consider making a reservation in your hotel—you are probably not alone. The concept of chemical free cleaning, as it is called, is still very new; however, don’t be surprised if it becomes more and more common and prevalent in years to come. So, what is chemical free cleaning? It can have slightly different meanings depending on who is defining it. But, it essentially refers to cleaning methods, procedures, or systems that leave surfaces looking clean as well as removing or eliminating germs and bacteria.
As an industry, hotels have generally lagged behind the curve on sustainability but they are starting to catch up, especially in New York City, one of the world’s most popular destinations. Last November, the Hotel Association of New York City (HANYC) announced the winners of the very first HANYC Sustainability Awards, recognizing three NYC hotels as model examples of green hospitality and responsibility. In the process of reviewing and judging the pool of applicants, we gained a unique first-hand look behind the scenes at what many NYC hotels are doing. So how do NYC hotels fare? Here are ten things we learned: 1) Most hotels we reviewed had a green team in place. This is one of the building blocks of a successful sustainability program.
The hospitality industry has made great strides in embracing green cleaning and its positive impact on the environment, corporate profitability and customers. According to the Green Hotels Assn., the hospitality industry is increasing eco-friendly purchasing and operations, as such matters are increasingly important to guests. Notably, one important aspect of green cleaning that also impacts hotel guests is laundry care. With new technologies in commercial laundry programs, today’s hoteliers have more options than ever when it comes to their on-premise laundry. Cold water washing, in particular, is gaining momentum as it has been shown to be able to boost customer satisfaction, significantly benefit a company’s bottom line and make progress against corporate sustainability goals.
Vinyl or PVC materials have been a staple in hotel projects for many decades. Vinyl offers performance and a cost value that other materials found hard to match for a very long time. Unfortunately PVC based materials also present an environmental headache that many hotel owners, builders and designers want to avoid in the future. Of course many in the vinyl industry would argue otherwise including the Vinyl Institute which represents many of the film and chemical manufacturers. Leaving aside the science for a moment which is very compelling against chlorine chemistry; you need only observe the marketplace to see where the interiors furnishings industry is headed. Scores of manufacturers each month advertise their products in design magazines; with the tag line “PVC free” in promoting their own products.
At Greenbuild 2014 in New Orleans, Mahesh Ramanujam, the President of the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) said that the GBCI intends to broaden its mandate. Today, the GBCI is known for supporting the third party verification efforts for the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. But going forward, Ramanujam said the GBCI intends to host new third party environmental programs that will address third party certification of the following four concentrations of the built environment: energy efficiency, sustainable landscape, health and wellness, and financial markets. The rating systems for energy efficiency (LEED), sustainable landscape (SITES), and health and wellness (WELL) already have taken shape, but we are yet to see what is behind door number four.
When anyone in the hospitality industry considers ways to cut operational costs to save money, chances are the public restroom may not be the first area that comes to mind. However, a few simple changes in restroom fixtures can help to eliminate waste and reduce maintenance costs—all while keeping the restroom clean and sanitary for both customers and employees. Sanitation in the restroom is a major concern, especially during flu season, but cost is a top concern no matter what the season. Paper of every kind has become increasingly expensive over the past decade and typically people use more than they need to in public restrooms. In fact, on average, people use 2.5 paper towel sheets every time they dry their hands. So think about how many people use your restroom every day and multiply that number by 5 cents each. It’s an expense that can add up quickly.
NEW YORK—The common misconception that LEED is too hard and too expensive was dispelled a few weeks ago at the International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show in a panel entitled, “Gone Platinum! A First-Time Ever Gathering of Leaders of Three LEED Platinum Hotels.” The only three LEED Platinum certified hotels in the United States at this time (not including the one LEED Platinum hostel) were represented. The panel was truly the pinnacle of sustainably developed hotels in the United States, with Jim Treadway, General Manager at Bardessono (Yountville, Calif.), Lynee Sauer, Business Manager, Hotel Skyler (Syracuse, N.Y.) and Dennis W. Quaintance, CEO, Proximity Hotel (Greensboro, N.C.) discussing how and why they achieved this level of verified sustainable development.
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