You may or may not have noticed but last week I added a “Sales & Marketing” department to my website. The link to the section can be found on the left side of each page just above “Green Associations.” The amount of industry activity in this area warranted the addition. Increasingly, hotel companies are greening their sales and marketing strategies to take advantage of the growing number of travelers for whom the environment is a priority.
Many types of articles will appear in this section. Here are a couple of examples: Earlier this year, Jackson Lake Lodge announced an 8 percent rebate incentive to meeting planners who plan a green meeting. And, Doubletree Hotels recently announced it would donate $1.00 to the World Wildlife Fund each time a reservation is made through its website. As you roll out your own green marketing programs, please share them with Green Lodging News. I would like the Sales & Marketing section to become a “go to” place for idea sharing. I would also like to know what worked and what did not work for you. In the coming year, I intend to write articles that highlight best practices.
With just a few weeks remaining in 2006, have you thought about how your property can use its environmental programs to increase business in the new year? Have you met with your management team to brainstorm? Don’t forget the importance of public relations in your efforts and be sure you have a process in place to measure the success of each campaign.
Some Helpful Suggestions
Here are a few suggestions to help get your sales and marketing efforts rolling:
• Firm up your green programs in-house before telling the world about them. One of the best ways to do this is to go through one of the many lodging certification processes that are springing up around the world. If you do not walk the talk, environment-savvy travelers will catch you. Don’t greenwash. In other words, don’t promote a product or activity that is environmentally unsound.
• Offer a special rate to travelers who actively participate in minimizing environmental impact—those who drive hybrid vehicles for example.
• Promote your green programs in the guestroom—using table tents or insertions in the in-room directory.
• Join a green hotel association to give your property additional online exposure.
• At the front desk, actively promote your programs with brochures or other material. Guests will appreciate that you care about the environment and will return because of that concern. Also at the front desk, prominently display any awards you have won for your green efforts.
• On your website, include a section that describes your environmental programs in detail. Encourage guests to practice environmentally responsible living at home.
• Partner with an organization that protects the environment and donate a portion of each reservation to it. Starwood Capital Group recently announced that each of its future “1” hotels will donate 1 percent of revenue to local environmental organizations.
• Work with industry vendors that offer green programs such as EcoRooms, PURE Allergy Friendly Rooms or similar types of room package programs. These premium types of rooms will save you money and help your hotel become more profitable at the same time.
Environment-minded travelers may not ever account for most of your roomnights but they certainly can supplement your business. As you consider your sales and marketing strategy for 2007, think about all of the different ways you can use your green programs to your advantage. And, don’t forget to return to Green Lodging News for new ideas.
Odds and Ends
Green Lodging News welcomes Water & Salt Consulting as a Green Product Directory sponsor. The company, based in Sac City, Iowa, sells the Wellness Shower system, a showerhead and filtration device that removes up to 99 percent of chlorine from shower water for up to 24 months. For more details, call (712) 662-3211 or click here for more information.
As always, I can be reached at email@example.com, or by calling (440) 243-2055. I look forward to hearing from you.