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NATIONAL REPORT—The bicycle is making a big comeback. More than 500 cities in 49 countries now have advanced bicycle-sharing programs—evidence of the growing interest in carbon-free travel. In the lodging industry, making bicycles available to guests is becoming more common and even standard practice in some companies. Starwood’s Element hotels, for example, are required to have at least two bicycles available for guests as part of the brand’s Bikes-to-Borrow program. All Kimpton hotel properties offer bicycles as well. Properties offering bicycles as an amenity are meeting the needs of an increasingly green-minded and health-conscious traveler community. The cost of renting a car or the high cost of gasoline are also driving travelers toward two wheels instead of four. Running a bicycle lending program on one’s own can be a challenge. “Some have underestimated what it takes to run one,” says Timothy Ericson, CEO and co-founder of Zagster. There are maintenance, safety, liability, and even marketing concerns that can be a hassle for a hotel owner or manager.
CAMBRIDGE, MASS.—Zagster, a company that provides bikes as a service, announced it has partnered with the Hyatt Regency Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing to offer bike sharing services to guests. Hotel guests can reserve and ride comfortable, city-friendly cruiser bikes, giving them a healthy, convenient and fun way to explore the area, visit friends or attend business meetings.
MINNEAPOLIS—Club Carlson, the hotel rewards program for Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, announced that it has become the first hotel loyalty program to commit to a global meetings and events carbon offsetting initiative. Club Carlson will purchase carbon credits to offset the estimated carbon footprint of 100 percent of Club Carlson for Planners meetings and events globally, across the group’s six brands totaling 1,077 hotels in operation worldwide. The carbon offsetting—a free service for the meeting planners—will be managed through Carlson Rezidor’s new partner, Carbon Footprint Ltd. Carbon credits will be purchased and invested in renewable energy in India and with the planting of one tree for every ton of carbon offset in the Great Rift Valley in Kenya. Any of the 10 million Club Carlson members globally will also have the opportunity to redeem their Gold Points, in various increments, to these projects on an ad-hoc basis. “Carlson Rezidor takes sustainability seriously,” said Suzanne Riesterer, chief commercial officer for the company.
BOULDER, COLO.—EnvironmentallyFriendlyHotels.com (EFH) has connected eco-conscious travelers with the best green hotels for many years. This Earth Day, EFH announces the release of a significant site upgrade, making both finding and promoting sustainable hotels even easier. “Staying in hotels that follow sustainable, earth-friendly practices is a great way for those who support today’s Earth Day events to help improve the environment year round,” said Patrick McClear, president of HealthyStays.com, LLC, which owns and operates EFH.
SAN FRANCISCO—When visitors to San Francisco see the colorful new banners on display around Moscone Center, they’ll know the city is welcoming them. What they won’t know is that they’re being welcomed in a far more environmentally-friendly way as a result of a new fabric that’s being used to make the banners.
MIAMI—The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. announced that two new Caribbean destinations are offering the award-winning Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment program. Reflecting the popularity of the environmental program’s first collaboration with The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, it’s now available at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas, in addition to the newly launched first Reserve in the Americas, Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve. The pioneering program, which emphasizes education and respect for environmental sustainability, is exclusively crafted for each diverse landscape and culture, designed for guests to explore the world’s natural wonders and heighten getaways with innovative environmental education and activities. Through eco-adventures, exploration and excursions, native resources serve as platforms and living laboratories to showcase the diverse biological character and cultural heritage of each destination while fostering a greater understanding and appreciation for nature. Guided by expertly-trained naturalists, the program provides a comprehensive selection of recreational activities for children, adults and families of all ages through exotic backdrops, including snorkeling, kayaking, hiking and underwater photography.
HONOLULU, HAWAII—Aqua Hospitality is donating a portion of room reservations on Earth Day to celebrate a number of green improvements throughout its collection. Aqua Hospitality’s hotels and resorts will be doing their part to care for the oceans via room reservation donations to Hui o Koolaupoko, an organization whose mission is to protect ocean health.
CHICAGO—This month, Earth Month, Hotel Felix Chicago will roll out the green carpet with free eco-friendly events and activities for Chicagoans and guests alike. Located in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, Hotel Felix is Chicago’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certified hotel.
DESTIN, FLA.—Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa has received the 2013-14 Green Meetings Approved by ConventionSouth certification from ConventionSouth magazine, a leading national resource for meeting planners holding events in the South.The annual certification program evaluates and recognizes properties for their green meeting initiatives and the ability to help meeting planners meet their own green meeting objectives.
BOSTON—The Lenox Hotel in Boston will embrace the upcoming Earth Day by offering a month-long program of green amenities, services and an overnight package designed to keep Boston green. Starting April 1 and continuing through April 30, The Lenox Hotel will offer guests a “Green Dreams” package that includes an overnight stay in one of the hotel’s Heaven on Eleven Pure rooms, a sustainable breakfast in City Table restaurant, an eco-tour of the hotel with the property’s Director of Green, access to the hotel’s book lending eco-library and a guaranteed carbon neutral stay. As part of “Give 5% Keep Boston Green,” 5 percent of revenues from all “Green Dreams” guestroom reservations will benefit The Esplanade Association which will use the funds to help maintain and improve Boston’s treasured public green spaces. “Wake up feeling refreshed and guilt-free with our Green Dreams package,” says Daniel Donahue, Vice President and Managing Director for The Lenox. “We’ll completely zero out the impact of your trip to Boston.”
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