For the second week in a row I attended a hotel opening ceremony—this time the TownePlace Suites Denver Airport at Gateway Park in Colorado. The hotel is the first TownePlace Suites property to open as part of Marriott International’s LEED Volume Program. Be sure to check out the press release and blog report to learn more about the hotel. It is an interesting project and in a great location.
While attending the ceremony I had an opportunity to sit down with some folks from Marriott to catch up on their green progress. The first bit of news, as referenced in Marriott’s recent 2011-2012 Sustainability Report, is that Marriott is well on its way in rolling out its Green Hotels Global tool, an online environmental sustainability dashboard (developed and managed by The Carbon Accounting Co.). The system collects data and calculates each hotel’s carbon footprint according to new industry guidelines. It also calculates each hotel’s water footprint and waste diversion rate and maintains a comprehensive list of each hotel’s environmental practices.
According to Denise Naguib, vice president, Sustainability and Supplier Diversity for Marriott, there are currently 1,950 Marriott properties that have completed the dashboard creation process. All approximately 3,700 properties will be in the system by March 2013. Utilizing the Green Hotels Global tool will be a brand standard for all Marriott properties.
Reports Will Be Available Online
I was sent a sample dashboard report and the list of questions is comprehensive—touching on everything from use of low-flow fixtures to sourcing food locally. Eventually, the dashboard reports will be available to all travelers and available at different places online but initial attention will be given to making the reports available to meeting planners and business travel professionals. Forty-two Marriott customers representing $1.5 billion in business will be making their travel decisions based on having Green Hotels Global type data available.
While a wealth of information for those outside of Marriott, the information being collected at the individual property level will also be a huge gain for Marriott from a benchmarking and property performance standpoint. Initially, Marriott is trying to get at least six months to 12 months of data into the reports. Over time, properties will be able to easily monitor their own progress (or lack thereof) and also take a look at how their counterparts in their own brand or outside of their brand are performing. As a company, Marriott will be able to identify best practices and areas in need of attention.
Already, Marriott is learning from the systematic approach it is taking toward sustainability and the input it is getting from individual properties. For example, Naguib says Marriott discovered inconsistencies in the execution of linen and terry reuse programs. As a result, associate education and training was developed and Marriott will introduce a new version of its linen and terry reuse program next month.
Interestingly, I asked Naguib whether or not Marriott has any intention of offering programs that reward guests for opting out of housekeeping services—similar to what companies like Starwood are doing—and she said no. My impression was that Marriott does not want to take away hours from its associates. Nor does it want to have to deal with the negative press that can go along with labor cutbacks.
Be sure to continue to follow Green Lodging News for updates on the rollout of the Green Hotels Global tool and its associated reports.
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