Home Publisher's Point of View When Meeting Planners Demand Green Practices, Will You be Ready?

When Meeting Planners Demand Green Practices, Will You be Ready?

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When your property is approached by a meeting planner requiring green practices, will you be ready? If you are not recycling, don’t have a towel/linen reuse program, or have not implemented other environmentally friendly measures, there is a good chance you will forfeit the opportunity to win the new business.

Increasingly, meeting planners are presenting hotels with checklists that explain their minimum requirements. When you receive such a list, what documentation will you have to present in return? If the planner asks for a tour of your facility, what kind of story will you have ready to tell about your hotel’s green programs? You had better be prepared to impress.

Sometimes it takes the threat of lost business to light a fire under a management team. That is what happened at Boston’s Seaport Hotel last year when one organization approached them about holding a meeting. (See article.) The meeting planner expressed disappointment about the hotel’s environmental programs.

“They suggested we do something about it or they would look for another venue,” says Matt Moore, director of rooms at the hotel.

Growing Interest in Green Meetings

Len Czarnecki, hotel manager at the Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston, says an increasing number of RFPs are submitted with addendums with green checklists. That is something he did not see 18 months ago.

To stay ahead of this emerging trend, hoteliers have banded together in several cities to market their regions as green destinations. According to Meetings and Conventions magazine, which recently ran a series of articles on the greening of the meetings industry, Portland, Ore., is one such example. And, as reported here (see article), an organization called Boston Green Tourism (BGT) was formed in Boston in 2005.

Created as an outgrowth of the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Conventions, BGT already has 76 active members, including representatives from 37 hotels. BGT is determined to help make Boston the No. 1 destination for environment-minded visitors. Another part of BGT’s focus is on helping area hotels to become Energy Star certified. What is your city or region doing to compete?

If you would like to learn more about what meeting planners are beginning to demand, check out the Green Meeting Industry Council. Formed in late 2003, the organization’s mission is to improve meeting management practices by promoting environmentally responsible strategies through the collaborative efforts of the hospitality industry, corporations, and government and community organizations.

The Green Meeting Industry Council promotes green practices globally by offering educational programs in the form of training workshops and online resources. The Council is in the process of partnering with educational institutions to develop an accredited curriculum at the university level for green meetings. The Council will hold its 2007 “Greening the Hospitality Industry Conference” February 6 to 8 in Portland, Ore. (Click here for details.)

A new generation of meeting planners and travelers are demanding change. The benefits to offering green meeting facilities are many: increased business, a reduction in resource consumption and related costs, an improved environment, and a positive publicity story to market.

If you have a green meeting success story to share, please contact me. As always, I can be reached at greenlodgingnews@aol.com, or by calling (440) 243-2055. I look forward to hearing from you.

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