Green Luxury: The Delicate Art of Pampering Guests and Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

By Michael Matulick CEO, Concept Amenities | June 17, 2012

For as long as grand hotels and resorts have been in existence, hospitality guests have sought the luxury experience; namely the rare privilege of being pampered in a relaxing environment of sheer sensory indulgence and world-class service. That has been the ultimate standard to which hoteliers have aspired almost exclusively for centuries – until now.

Today, an equally significant standard has emerged that cannot be ignored. For many guests, what makes a hotel or resort a desirable destination is its commitment to sustainability.

In a survey of CondeNast Traveler readers, 60.9% of respondents indicated they would choose an eco-friendly hotel over a standard hotel when booking accommodations. And in another study by World Market Intelligence, 43% of travelers reported that booking a green-certified hotel is important to them.

This poses a formidable challenge for hoteliers – providing a luxury experience while simultaneously adhering to green policies and practices. But is "green luxury" even attainable? After all, the assumption has always been that to meet one criterion, the other must be sacrificed.

Despite these doubts, there is proof that luxury and sustainability are not at cross purposes. In fact, some of the most luxurious hotels throughout the world have successfully created a balance between the two qualities – and are profiting in the process.

For example, the Benjamin in New York City has the distinction of being one of only two hotels in the world to earn 5-star, 5-globe certification from ECOTEL. To achieve such status, a hotel must master five areas considered the "cornerstone of environmental responsibility" including – energy conservation, water conservation, solid waste management, employee environmental education, and environmental commitment, as well as three levels of criteria and scoring.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.