Eco-Friendly Practices
Steve Kiesner
  • Eco-Friendly Practices
  • "Clear Skies" Clears Way for Energy, Environmental Goals
  • Experts are predicting that last winter's record high prices for natural gas are likely to become the new baseline for the near future. In any event, high gas prices will likely pose a continuing challenge for the lodging industry and others that rely on gas to a large degree. According to the latest data available from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), the lodging industry annually spends over $5.5 billion for energy. Of the total energy consumed, natural gas represents about 40 percent. Read on...

Arthur Weissman
  • Eco-Friendly Practices
  • Building a Green Program in Your Portfolio of Properties
  • Becoming green is not a one-time thing: it requires a concerted effort over time from a number of people and departments. This article will outline some recent trends in developing an environmentally responsible corporate policy, the steps to build a green program in a property or group of properties, and information about what should be covered by written policies and procedures. Read on...

Steve Kiesner
  • Eco-Friendly Practices
  • Hotels Need to Act to Secure Our Energy Future
  • For the lodging industry, energy conservation is a well-recognized element in lowering costs. With energy typically accounting for three to five percent of a hotel's total operating expenses, getting the most value out of every energy dollar can improve profitability. A comprehensive plan can lower energy use by up to 20 percent. America's electric companies encourage you to explore new ways to use energy more wisely. Power companies are promoting the wise use of electricity because it benefits hotels and all their customers. They are also doing so because it helps electric generating plants and transmission wires to operate more effectively. This can improve the reliability of electricity supplies, especially during peak electricity demand periods such as the summertime. Encouraging the efficient use of electricity also helps the power company to conserve natural resources and protect the environment. Many energy-saving measures cost little or nothing. But the returns could surprise you. Here are some easy-to-implement tips that can be put in use today... Read on...

Tyler Tatum
  • Eco-Friendly Practices
  • Cleaning Your HVAC System Can Equate to Big Savings
  • I found a little secret about energy cost in your hotel rooms. Did you know that 30% of the energy cost in your property is used by your HVAC units? Did you know that you could reduce the energy consumption of your HVAC unit just be keeping it clean? Once clean, your guest complaints will go to zero, and you will be shocked at how many guests show up at your property. You may ask why I am so excited about this idea. First, I hate that moldy smell that hits me as I walk into the majority of the hotel rooms I have visited. Second, I am all for any idea that has a 6-month ROI on energy savings alone. Third, this solution cuts down severely on the amount of perfumes and chemicals used in the room. Read on...

Steve Kiesner
  • Eco-Friendly Practices
  • National Energy Bill Vital for America's Future
  • Electricity is there when you need it. And it has been this way for almost one hundred and twenty-five years, since Thomas Alva Edison developed the first practical electric light bulb and set off a revolution that changed virtually everything in our society. But electricity, and indeed all energy, is something we can't take for granted. Although most people think about electricity only when they flip on the light switch, the U.S. electric system consists of a massive, interconnected network of generating plants, transmission lines, and distribution facilities. Energy legislation is needed now to reinforce electric reliability, foster more efficient, competitive electric power markets, promote fuel diversity, and expand our energy supplies and production. At the same time, a national energy bill needs to stress efficiency and the wise use of existing resources. With electricity consumption expected to increase 49 percent between today and 2025, these supply and demand measures are the best long-term solutions for our energy future. Read on...

Jeff Slye
  • Eco-Friendly Practices
  • The Greening of Kimpton Hotels: Five Valuable Lessons
  • We all know that when it comes to setting the style standards for hospitality, boutique hotels are among the industry's most formidable trendsetters. Often, Kimpton Hotels have led the pack with innovative design and unique programs such as in-room yoga, tall rooms, and goldfish to keep the guest company. In 2005, they decided to make one statement that will never go out of style - green is the new black. Read on...

Steve Kiesner
  • Eco-Friendly Practices
  • Ten Quick Ways to Improve Your Hotel's Energy Efficiency
  • In the short term, using natural gas and electricity more efficiently is vital. For the lodging industry, energy conservation is a well-recognized element in lowering costs. On average, America's 47,000 hotels spend $2,196 per available room each year on energy, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There are also a number of quick and easy steps your company can take right now to step up its control over energy use. These are probably already second nature to you, but here are 10 no- or low-cost ideas to start saving energy today: Read on...

Jim Poad
  • Eco-Friendly Practices
  • Evaluate Energy Expenses to Survive Today's Economy
  • For obvious reasons, cost cutting is at the top of every business owner's to-do list. Surprisingly, energy expenses are often overlooked as operating costs are evaluated for their impact on a company's bottom line. Energy expenses can be a controllable cost when consumption behaviors are evaluated. According to ENERGY STARR, typical energy expenses account for more than 6 percent of a hotel's total operating costs. These costs have increased approximately 25 percent from 2004 to 2008. By investigating procurement options, analyzing a history of utility invoices, exploring what rates you should be paying, and implementing green energy practices, operators can drive down utility costs without negatively impacting the comfort of their hotels or quality of the guest accommodations. Read on...

Arthur Weissman
  • Eco-Friendly Practices
  • How Sustainability Can Contribute to Your Community's Economic Vitality
  • Almost every property is a part of the community around it. As such, it affects the community's economic condition in some way. In this article, we explore the ways in which a sustainable lodging property can positively affect the community's economic vitality. We will discuss this from the following perspectives: the property's environmental footprint; the property's effect on the health of its workers; the property as community leader or model; the property as educator; the property as donor; and the property as a magnet for business. Read on...

Steve Kiesner
  • Eco-Friendly Practices
  • Put the Chill on Energy Bills This Winter
  • You know that getting more value from your energy dollar is always important. This winter it will be imperative. According to the latest Short Term Energy Outlook from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the price of natural gas, heating oil and propane will all be higher this winter. The EIA predicts natural gas prices, for example, to rise by 50 percent, on average, compared with last year. Even if your company has locked in lower prices through long-term fuel contracts, you still should be making sure you are doing everything you can to get the most value from your energy dollar. The lodging industry spends over $5.5 billion per year on energy. That is a lot room for potential savings. And greater profitability. Read on...

Jim Poad
  • Eco-Friendly Practices
  • Energy Management for the Little Guy
  • Small hotel franchisees and independent hotel operators concerns are the same as larger chains, in that they must pay employees, stock inventory, buy furnishings, and deal with heads-to-beds issues. Also like larger hotels, smaller operators have little time to manage the costs of the one thing hotels couldn't be without: utilities. But unlike larger establishments, they often don't have the capital to spend on full-service solutions that manage utility expenditures. That's about to change. Some energy management companies are providing a solution that gets smaller operators in on the ground floor of energy management. In fact it's so easy to use, all they need is a fax machine or a scanner. Read on...

Jim Poad
  • Eco-Friendly Practices
  • Tracking Your Utility Expenditure Back to 'Heads to Beds' for Benchmarking
  • Many hotel operators calculate their energy usage in a vacuum. The singular focus on achieving the highest possible 'heads-to-beds' rate leaves little time for tracking energy usage. Some hotel managers commit to tracking this data but without the thorough understanding of how these usage rates vary across multiple site locations. Others have no idea how their rates compare to those of competitors in the hotel marketplace. This offers little insight into what their organization is doing well, or, more importantly, where they can improve. The result: Exorbitant energy costs negatively offset the profits from strong heads-to-beds rates, leaving operators to wonder where they went wrong. And if they don't figure it out soon, their business-and their bottom line-will pay. Literally. Read on...

Jim Poad
  • Eco-Friendly Practices
  • Compiling Utility Data to Make Capital Spending Decisions
  • The "No Vacancy" sign is the hotel operator's best friend. No matter where it's shining-from the top of Maine to the tip of Florida; from the Hudson River to the Grand Canyon; or from the Seattle Space Needle to the San Diego Zoo - the neon light signals a strong industry. It also indicates a stable economy. The more rooms that are booked means more cars on the road, and more people traveling on planes and trains. And it means restaurants, shops, and amusement centers packed full with visitors. But there's an underlying component that, if not addressed, can limit an operator's end profit. A crucial element here is energy costs. Read on...

Jim Poad
  • Eco-Friendly Practices
  • Pool Your Resources: Save Electricity
  • When you consider the number of washers, dryers, vacuums, lighting fixtures, elevators, and other electronic devices needed to run a hotel, it's no wonder electric bills have become a towering expense for operators. Indeed, the hotel industry uses 69 billion kilowatts of electricity a year, at a cost of $5.3 billion annually, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, making it one of the highest expenditures for hotel franchisees. It's also one of the most overlooked expenses of running a hotel. Hotel operators are most concerned with buying amenities that ensure a pleasant stay for their customers, and increase return business. They excel at purchasing appliances, wall decor, furniture, carpeting, even restaurant equipment. But when tasked with finding the best rate for their electric needs, since it doesn't directly affect the customer experience, the job tends to fall to the wayside. Read on...

FEBRUARY: Social Media: Interacting with the Hotel Customer

Nisha Thakkar

While social media has become a mainstream marketing channel, there are many variables that hoteliers are not taking advantage of to increase their revenue. Unlike other mainstream marketing avenues, social media is not static, as platforms continuously find ways to increase engagement with both users and advertisers. As social platforms have realized their massive marketing opportunities within their user base, they have increasingly capitalized on their clearly defined users by providing advertisers access to them. Today, the popularity of social channels has created a “pay-to-play” model that leaves many business owners and managers perplexed as to which channels to focus on, and the right budget to allocate in order to maximize return on investment (ROI). Read on...

Cass Bailey

These days, a lot goes into choosing the perfect hotel. Hotel choice no longer depends solely on the location, price, and amenities; it depends on experience. Customers have become more interested in experiential features instead of whether or not the hotel has a five-star review. As the phrase goes, many “do it for the gram.” When looking to book their stay, the Instagram generation is interested in things that are eye-catching and worthy of sharing with their followers. Just searching the hashtag “wanderlust” reveals millions of images of different travel experiences from around the world. Read on...

Tim Sullivan

As hoteliers’ key audiences spend less time on the Web and more time on their smartphones’ social apps, it is crucial for hotels to have a digital engagement strategy that creates meaningful interactions on social channels. Desktop still converts higher, but the path to a booking is a journey full of touch points across social. Now that social media platforms are maturing, hotels can go beyond targeting their own guests to discovering new profitable audiences. They can reach and drive sales for all sides of the business: leisure, corporate and group sales. However, before hoteliers think about social engagement, they need to cover the basics of personalization and one-to-one marketing. Read on...

Chris Teso

Social media has traditionally been approached as a marketing tool for top-of-funnel activities. However, the activities associated with generating awareness, like creating viral posts and taking advantage of real-time marketing moments, are difficult to measure and even harder to link to real business value. Yet, marketers innately know that social media has real opportunity as their audience is there—in volume and in frequency. As a result, a new trend is emerging among hotel marketers that takes distinct advantage of the direct follower model of social networks: the marriage of the loyalty program with social media marketing. Read on...

Coming Up In The March Online Hotel Business Review




Feature Focus
Human Resources: Inspiring a Journey of Success
In an increasingly competitive environment where hotels are competing to attract, and more importantly, to keep top talent, Human Resource managers are realizing the need to focus on improving their Employee Experience. Smart managers are embracing the idea of Employee Wellness which translates into a system of physical, mental, emotional, and purposeful well-being. Some organizations are even providing free counseling for their employees and their dependents. The goal is to nurture, support and engage with their employees in a way that increases productivity, improves customer service, enhances loyalty, and creates a more harmonious work environment for all. Along with this development is the need for more effective, ongoing training. Many HR managers rely on external training firms for this, but there is a growing trend which taps the experience and expertise that already exists within the organization. For example, younger employees likely have greater knowledge of social media which an older generation might struggle with. Harnessing this peer-to-peer learning can be an efficient and cost effective way of increasing skills, and as a result, the knowledge transferred is likely to be more acceptable and relevant. Finally, HR managers need to foster an environment that empowers people and taps into their full potential, inspiring a personal journey of success. The March Hotel Business Review will take a look at some of the strategies and techniques that human resource directors are currently developing in order to achieve success.