This past week I attended the annual International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show (IHMRS) in New York City. It is a show I have attended almost every year since starting in the lodging business in 1989. For those of you who have never attended, the show is one of our industry’s largest annual markets and runs in conjunction with Boutique Design New York (BDNY). Together, IHMRS and BDNY this year drew 13,017 trade professionals, an increase of 5 percent from the 12,406 last year. IHMRS this year was sectioned into areas covering green, kitchen design, operations, tabletop and technology. On the BDNY side, attendees could expect to find everything from artwork to furniture to lighting—just about anything of interest to a designer involved in a new hotel or renovation.
The Hospitality Green Division of IHMRS was presented in partnership with Green Lodging News. Hospitality Media Group, the manager of IHMRS and BDNY, was the other partner in putting together a section of the show floor that included about 40 green exhibitors and an area for exhibitor presentations. The green section was a great place to learn about products ranging from amenity dispensers to innovative laundry equipment to solar systems to green cleaning products.
As in past years, this year I served as a judge in the Editors’ Choice Awards competition. Winner in the Green category this year was EcoWalls’ Chef’s EcoWall Garden, a system incorporating hydroponic technology that allows a chef to grow herbs and vegetables on a wall in the kitchen or elsewhere on the property—even in the middle of a restaurant. The product also won the Kenneth F. Hine “Best of Show” award.
More Green Awards Presented
While on the subject of awards, at IHMRS, as part of the Gold Key Awards, COMMUNE (Los Angeles) won for the Best Eco or Socially Conscious Hotel. The project: the American Trade Hotel & Hall, Casco Viejo, Panama. Also, the Hotel Association of New York City’s Sustainability Committee honored three New York City properties for their green accomplishments during the first Sustainability Awards presentation. Awards were presented in three categories: Environmental Protection, to the New York Hilton Midtown for its comprehensive green building efficiency program; Social Responsibility, to the Carlton for its engagement with the community; and Holistic Strategy for Sustainable Hospitality, to the Waldorf Astoria for its overall commitment to environmentally friendly practices and social programs.
This year I organized five panel discussions at IHMRS. Topics included education, energy management, waste management, green certification, and LEED Platinum hotels. By far the best attended session was the one on “Crafting a Career in Sustainability in Hospitality & Tourism—Sustainability Trends in Hospitality Education.” It was great to see so many interested students.
Those who have attended IHMRS over the years have seen the show go through many changes. It certainly will never return to the days of the 1990s when exhibits filled two floors of the Javits Center. Those were rare, fat and happy times. I see it as an event making progress but still trying to find its way. Segregating green exhibitors in one area is a great idea. Offering a full slate of green educational opportunities is also a great idea. The challenge comes down to marketing and “getting heads in beds,” so to speak. Folks have to show up. Is IHMRS the best place for a green market to blossom? Time will tell. Are there really enough people interested in sustainability to support all of the green educational opportunities at IHMRS? I am not yet convinced. More work still needs to be done to find the right success formula.
Who is Your Sustainability Champion?
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