De­mand grows for green ho­tels

Busi­ness trav­ellers and hol­i­day mak­ers are vot­ing with their feet; ho­tels with green cre­den­tials are reap­ing the re­wards.

Element - - Business - By Ti­mothy Shiv­ers

De­spite our du­bi­ous 100% Pure claims, many of New Zealand’s ho­tels are step­ping up as key play­ers in sus­tain­abil­ity and en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues. Go­ing green is the new stan­dard for ho­tels, as they seek to im­prove their prac­tices and an­swer the call of a grow­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal con­scious­ness.

Re­cent data shows that a ma­jor­ity of busi­ness trav­ellers are con­scious of the sus­tain­abil­ity prac­tices of the ho­tels they stay in. Ac­cord­ing to mar­ket re­search firm Ti­met­ric’s ‘Global Busi­ness Trav­eller Sur­vey,’ 47 per cent of re­spon­dents said that stay­ing in green-cer­ti­fied ho­tels is con­sid­ered “im­por­tant,” while seven per cent said it to be “ex­tremely im­por­tant.”

Qual­mark, New Zealand tourism’s of­fi­cial qual­ity as­sur­ance or­gan­i­sa­tion, works with ho­tels across the coun­try to en­sure they are cre­at­ing a qual­ity ex­pe­ri­ence for their cus­tomers, while rat­ing and re­ward­ing those with en­vi­ron­men­tal poli­cies.

Qual­mark’s gen­eral man­ager Tim Keel­ing says: “Be­ing a re­spon­si­ble tourism op­er­a­tor means hav­ing a bal­anced ap­proach to eco­nomic, so­cial, and en­vi­ron­men­tal pri­or­i­ties; and mit­i­gat­ing any neg­a­tive im­pacts that may oc­cur as a re­sult of tourism.”

One brand that has seen sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments in re­cent years is Hil­ton World­wide. With over 3600 ho­tels in 81 coun­tries, Hil­ton has cre­ated a five-year (2009-2014) goal to re­duce CO2 emis­sions, waste out­put, and wa­ter and en­ergy con­sump­tion.

Us­ing a mea­sure­ment sys­tem known as LightS­tay, Hil­ton cal­cu­lates sus­tain­abil­ity prac­tices across the global port­fo­lio to then learn and im­prove on ways to in­crease per­for­mance.

“If you don’t start to look at the way you do things, it’s a disas­ter. But if you do start to im­prove the way you do things the im­pact we can have on the en­vi­ron­ment is mas­sive,” says Cristina Magni, mar­ket­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion man­ager at Hil­ton Auck­land.

Some of Hil­ton Auck­land’s sus­tain­abil­ity prac­tices in­clude fit­ting Vir­tual En­ergy Burner Man­age­ment sys­tems to the boil­ers, fit­ting wa­ter re­duc­tion aer­a­tors to all guest room hand basins, LED light­ing changes, and se­lect­ing sus­tain­able and or­ganic in­gre­di­ents in their Fish restau­rant.

An­other ho­tel in Auck­land that has stepped up to the plate is Jet Park Air­port Ho­tel. While the most com­mon en­vi­ron­men­tal poli­cies across the board in­clude dual-flush toi­lets, flow re­stric­tions on wa­ter heads, waste dis­posal sys­tems and LED light­ing, Jet Park has in­stalled a so­lar panel farm on their prop­erty which pro­vides en­ergy for heat­ing wa­ter for their en­tire North Wing, slash­ing the amount of gas con­sump­tion.

The com­pany’s staff has also com­pleted over 120 plus hours of vol­un­teer ser­vice to the Kokako Con­ser­va­tion Pro­ject in the Hunua Ranges, a com­mu­nity ser­vice pro­ject that helped them win the Qual­mark En­vi­ron­men­tal Ini­tia­tive Award this year.

When asked why they have taken such great strides for the en­vi­ron­ment, gen­eral man­ager Jeeva Nan­than says it’s a so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity to care for the com­mu­nity and care for the fu­ture: “It’s about be­ing more eth­i­cal.”

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