Eco-Friendly Practices
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...

AUGUST: Food & Beverage: Multiplicity and Diversity are Key

Larry Steinberg

The foodservice industry is one of the oldest and most important. Consumers from all demographics rely on it virtually every day for sustenance. In fact, in the U.S. alone, it’s a nearly $800 billion industry that’s extremely competitive, with hundreds of new establishments popping up every year, and much of this new business is the result of increased consumer demand. Consumers want more options. For every practiced chef, there is a collective of guests eager to spend their hard-earned dollars on something exotic and different. They want to experience a bit of culture by way of their next meal, and they want to find it using the latest technology. Read on...

Frank Sanchez

About two years ago, I started my career at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile. I came from San Diego, California, the apparent capital of farmer’s markets. When I moved to Chicago in late-October, the number of farmer’s markets had already begun to taper off and all that was left of the hotel’s rooftop garden was the sad remnants of a summer full of bounty. However, I was in for a pleasant surprise. The Chicago Marriott Downtown operates a year-round experience to create food from scratch that gives customers fresh and nutritional options. I was thrilled to join a team that can tell a customer that the very greens on their plate were grown just floors above them. Read on...

Thomas  McKeown

To serve today’s eclectic, socially engaged and sophisticated guests, hotels and chefs need to get creative, change their thinking and push back some walls – sometimes literally. The fun thing about meetings hotels is that they are a different place just about every week. One week we’re hosting a bridge tournament, the next a corporate sales team, or a dentists’ conference, or sci-fi fans in costumes, or cheerleaders jumping for joy. You name the group, and our hotel has probably welcomed them. Read on...

Elizabeth  Blau

Over the past several years, many of us have watched with excitement and interest as the fast-casual restaurant segment has continued to boom. More and more, talented chefs with fine dining pedigrees are bringing their skills, creativity, and experience to concepts built around speed, approachability, and volume. Right now, the ability to offer a gourmet experience at all price points is as compelling to restaurateurs and diners alike. Read on...

Coming Up In The September Online Hotel Business Review




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Feature Focus
Hotel Group Meetings: Blue Skies Ahead
After a decade of sacrifice and struggle, it seems that hotels and meeting planners have every reason to be optimistic about the group meeting business going forward. By every industry benchmark and measure, 2017 is shaping up to be a record year, which means more meetings in more locations for more attendees. And though no one in the industry is complaining about this rosy outlook, the strong demand is increasing competition among meeting planners across the board – for the most desirable locations, for the best hotels, for the most creative experiences, for the most talented chefs, and for the best technology available. Because of this robust demand, hotels are in the driver’s seat and they are flexing their collective muscles. Even though over 100,000 new rooms were added last year, hotel rates are expected to rise by a minimum of 4.0%, and they are also charging fees on amenities that were often gratis in the past. In addition, hotels are offering shorter lead times on booking commitments, forcing planners to sign contracts earlier than in past years. Planners are having to work more quickly and to commit farther in advance to secure key properties. Planners are also having to meet increased attendee expectations. They no longer are content with a trade show and a few dinners; they want an experience. Planners need to find ways to create a meaningful experience to ensure that attendees walk away with an impactful memory. This kind of experiential learning can generate a deeper emotional connection, which can ultimately result in increased brand recognition, client retention, and incremental sales. The September Hotel Business Review will examine issues relevant to group business and will report on what some hotels are doing to promote this sector of their operations.