Karlene Holloman Helps Make Green Dreams a Reality at Joie De Vivre Hospitality

4/19/2011 By Glenn Hasek

Name: Karlene Holloman
Title: Senior V.P. of Operations
Organization: Joie De Vivre Hospitality
Years with Joie De Vivre Hospitality: Almost 13 years
Years in current position: 5 years
Primary responsibilities: “My main objective is to make sure all hotels meet the objectives of their business plans.”
Organization’s most significant environment-related accomplishment so far: “The LEED certification of the Hotel Carlton. The general manager of the hotel at that time took the lead. The hotel earned LEED Gold and we were thrilled with that.”
Organization’s most significant environment-related challenge: “So many of our buildings are older. We do fabulous renovations but we have to put a lot of dollars into bringing them up to our green standards. Finding that capital can often be a challenge.”

SAN FRANCISCO—As senior vice president of operations for Joie De Vivre Hospitality, Karlene Holloman oversees the company’s Green Dreams program—making sure the 32 hotels that participate have what they need to recycle and reduce waste, conserve energy and water, and prevent and reduce pollution. Based in San Francisco, Holloman does not have to travel too far in her work, as all but one Joie De Vivre Hospitality hotels are based in California. Green Dreams was created in 2008 after the idea for it was hatched in late 2007. “It was something I saw as a need,” Holloman says. “Chip [Conley] was entirely supportive of it.” Conley is Joie De Vivre Hospitality’s founder and chief creative officer.

All Joie De Vivre Hospitality hotels participate in Green Dreams; their degree of participation is posted on the company website as part of a Green Scorecard. There, properties are graded with different color leaves based on the steps they have taken in recycling and waste reduction, energy conservation, water conservation, pollution prevention, and green meetings. Whether or not a hotel or restaurant is green certified is also noted on the Scorecard. So far, 11 hotels have earned one type of green certification or another (five have earned certification through the San Francisco Green Business program).

Positive Reaction to Scorecard

The Scorecard, Holloman says, started off as an internal document that was revised and reviewed at committee meetings. “It’s very transparent and can show where a hotel is when it comes to becoming a greener hotel. It states to our guests that we are making an effort at every property. We get really good feedback on it.”

In her role as senior vice president of operations, Holloman chairs the company’s green committee. Each member of that committee is responsible for a group of hotels and reports on what those hotels are accomplishing. At the property level, it is typically the general manager (or assistant general manager) and executive housekeeper who is responsible for green initiatives.

“Part of my role is to constantly look for cost savings, Holloman says.

Many of the Joie De Vivre Hospitality hotels have success stories to tell when it comes to reducing costs. The Hotel Carlton, for example, which in 2009 earned LEED Existing Building Operations and Maintenance (LEED-EB O&M) Gold certification, has reduced electricity costs by thousands of dollars thanks to rooftop solar panels. At the Avatar Hotel, a water monitoring service that allows boilers to be managed remotely has reduced utility costs by almost $600/month. The program was funded entirely by PG&E. At the Hotel del Sol, a guestroom energy management system helps to reduce in-room heating and cooling costs and fluorescent bulbs have been installed in all possible locations in the property.

Joie De Vivre Hospitality is also working to reduce waste at its hotels. A partnership with Clean the World will result in partially used soap and guest amenities being donated by all Joie de Vivre Hospitality properties to those in need in the United States and around the world. At the Hotel Durant, paper towels and toilet paper are made from 100 percent recycled materials and old towels and linens are donated to the Berkeley Food & Housing Project. These are just a few examples of waste-saving efforts. 

Commitment Reflected in Marketing

Joie de Vivre Hospitality’s green commitment has also crossed over into its marketing strategy. At the Hotel Durant, for example, as part of a green meetings package, there is a “Plant a Tree at UC Berkeley” program. Those who book a total of 50 room nights in a calendar year or spend $5,000 on meetings or special events receive the following: one tree planted on the University of Berkeley campus, a listing on the “Grow With Us” map on www.hoteldurant.com, a dedication certificate, plus public relations exposure. “The program has been very well received,” Holloman says.

Beginning the week of Earth Day (April 16 to 23) and continuing indefinitely, Joie de Vivre guests can choose to contribute $1/night to offset their carbon footprint from their stay at time of booking. The program is the result of a partnership with CarbonFund.org. There is no cost to the hotels to participate in this program if a minimum of 10 nights of offsets are purchased/year at each hotel.

Holloman, who has logged 13 years with Joie de Vivre Hospitality, has more than 20 years of hospitality industry experience in both the United States and Australia. She is originally from Sydney, Australia and has an Associate Diploma in Hotel and Catering Management from Ryde College in Sydney.

Go to Joie De Vivre Hospitality.

Glenn Hasek can be reached at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.


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