My family and I vacationed in New Orleans this past week. It is certainly one of my favorite cities. I had not been there for a long time and really enjoyed visiting the National WWII Museum and New Orleans Museum of Art. If you have never been to the Museum of Art there, they have an outstanding outdoor sculpture garden. Of course, walking through the rich, cultural neighborhoods downtown close to the Mississippi River was a great experience as well.
We stayed at the Hilton Riverside—a great location right next to the River. There did not appear to be much activity there. In fact, many of the businesses, including restaurants, were only open three or four days a week. Even Brennan’s, known for its delicious Bananas Foster, is currently just open from Thursday through Sunday. I feel bad for all of those who have suffered from the lost business in the “Big Easy”. I know there are better days ahead for New Orleans and all the other cities that have suffered so much from the pandemic. Yet, the recovery will certainly be uneven.
According to STR, the U.S. lodging industry just experienced its highest occupancy level in a year (52.1 percent). When indexed against 2019 levels, the United States has recaptured between 70 to 75 percent of occupancy in recent weeks. We will certainly take it and look forward to even better days ahead.
Do Not Forget About Sustainability
As guests return, do not put the brakes on sustainability. According to a new global survey by IHG Hotels & Resorts, people are more mindful than ever about traveling consciously following the COVID-19 pandemic. (See the article here.)
More than half of the 9,000 adults surveyed across the United States, United Kingdom, China, the UAE, Germany and Australia—with almost two thirds in the United States—agree 2020 and COVID-19 has made them more socially and environmentally conscious about their impact on the world when traveling. For Americans, younger travelers are far more likely to agree, with 78 percent of 18-24-year-olds sharing this sentiment, compared to just 27 percent of those 55 and over.
It appears travelers not only intend to do more for the planet and communities around them, but they are also willing to pay for it too. The research found that Americans will spend an average of 41 percent more on an accommodation they know operates responsibly—with 47 percent happy to spend more than 40 percent extra a night. How are you conveying your green story to those potentially future guests? Very prominently I hope.
More than a third of respondents in the United States (38 percent) say they will be more mindful about their travel choices following the pandemic. The number one consideration was how ethical and responsible the hotel brand is in creating an inclusive work environment, supporting jobs, providing skills training and education, and protecting human rights (42 percent), followed by avoiding tourist activities that could have a negative impact on the local environment and communities (38 percent).
As for activities such as volunteering and restoration projects, young American travelers aged 18 to 24 are nearly six times as likely to get involved when visiting another country, compared to those 55 and over. What types of activities like this are you currently making available to your guests?
An incredible 82 percent of adults around the world, along with 66 percent of Americans, say they are committed to taking their everyday sustainability habits with them when they travel, with minimizing food waste and recycling taking the top spot in the United States as a priority.
A big thanks to IHG Hotels & Resorts for investing in this type of research.
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Green Suppliers Spotlight is published weekly on Thursdays to general managers, owners, management companies, directors of sustainability, directors of engineering, facilities managers and many others who are either in purchasing positions or who influence purchasing decisions. Suppliers of green products and services throughout North America and beyond are invited to participate in the e-blast. (Minimum two suppliers per e-blast.) Green Suppliers Spotlight was created to give vendors an opportunity to reach a high number of industry purchasers at a very low cost—as low as $200 per e-mail. (Click here for rate sheet.)
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