Home Publisher's Point of View Already Looking Forward to 2008’s Green Hospitality Conference

Already Looking Forward to 2008’s Green Hospitality Conference

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Years from now, when our industry looks back at the green hospitality movement and notes those events that were benchmarks, I am sure Pineapple Hospitality and Lodging Hospitality’s first Green Hospitality Conference will be considered an important one. The one-day event was held last week in Dallas at the Hilton Anatole Hotel. About 175 people attended and some of the industry’s leading green lodging experts were on hand to participate in panel discussions.

Pineapple Hospitality and Lodging Hospitality did not get serious about planning the event until early January so the turnout was impressive. I am convinced that if they had started their efforts four months earlier, attendance would have been 400 or 500. A year in advance? Who knows? Last fall’s Greenbuild International Conference and Expo drew 13,000 people. Owners and operators are hungry to learn more about greening their operations while making them more profitable at the same time. Vendors are just as excited to participate in green events.

Even though I consider Lodging Hospitality to be a competitor of sorts, I was happy to help them out as a speaker and moderator. I am thankful for their invitation to participate. Lodging Hospitality did a superb job getting sponsors and Ray Burger, president of Pineapple Hospitality, put together a great lineup of panelists. Every session was informative and it was obvious by the end of the day that one day was just not long enough for this type of conference. Expect a longer event in 2008.

Important Operations Focus

Green Lodging News will do what it can to keep the momentum going for similar green conferences in the future. It is vital that we all have a place to congregate to share ideas. While there have been green conferences in the past focused on the meetings industry and on ecotourism, there have not been ones like that in Dallas where operations is the focus. Learning about advances in toilet technology, while a bit humorous at the time, was very interesting—especially when you consider the lodging industry’s potential to save millions of gallons of water annually. Green housekeeping and green building design also were fascinating topics.

When I attended the Greening the Hospitality Industry Conference in February, an event produced by the Portland, Ore.-based Green Meeting Industry Council, I liked the fact that the conference ended with roundtables at which goal setting took place. That is one of the meeting elements I thought was missing at the Dallas event. There were some important ideas discussed that day but no chance to set specific goals as a group. For example, it would have been great to get everyone interested in working on a green hotel rating system together in one area. Or, those interested in green building design in another area. Participants in any type of conference should be given the opportunity to move good ideas forward after the event—and not be left hanging until the next conference a year later.

I realize I am getting picky here. Kudos to Lodging Hospitality and Pineapple Hospitality for putting on a great first event.

Earth Day Activities

In two previous columns, I listed some of the activities properties are planning for Earth Day. This week I have one more to share. On Friday, April 20, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Fairmont Washington, D.C. will join forces to help students at Francis Junior High learn about plants and gardening. Beginning at 9 a.m., staff members from WWF and the Fairmont hotel will take plants, trees, flowers, gardening tools and gloves, to meet science students at the school.

Students, teachers, WWF and Fairmont staff members will help clean the school grounds before they begin planting trees, flowers and shrubs. The project, which celebrates Earth Day on April 22, is the third time the school, WWF and the Fairmont Washington, D.C. have teamed up to make their city block more attractive. The community cleanup and gardening project will last from 9 a.m. until noon.

“It is wonderful to have such caring neighbors who generously give their time and resources to our students and to our school,” says Stephanie Crutchfield, principal of Francis Jr. High.

As always, I can be reached at editor@greenlodgingnews.com, or by calling (440) 243-2055. I look forward to hearing from you.

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