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LAS VEGAS—MGM Resorts International returned for the sixth consecutive year as the presenting sponsor of the 34th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade which was held on Monday, January 18 in downtown Las Vegas. Hailed as one of the nation’s most popular annual parades celebrating the ideals and life of Dr. King, thousands were expected to line the Fourth Street parade route to commemorate Dr. King’s legacy of promoting equal and human rights.
CHICAGO—Virgin Hotels announced that Virgin Hotels Chicago, the brand’s first property, has achieved LEED Gold certification, a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. The hotel and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) celebrated the achievement with a hosted panel discussion surrounding reducing carbon, reaching net zero and greening supply chains in the hospitality industry. “Our goal as a company is to have all our properties achieve LEED Silver, so we are ecstatic to have exceeded that benchmark in Chicago,” said Raul Leal, CEO of Virgin Hotels. “As we continue to open additional properties, we have aspirational goals of moving towards a net zero carbon footprint across the board.”
LONDON—Research shows that food waste is shaping up to be a strong concern of guests with consumers claiming that it bothers them almost as much as food prices. And, for hoteliers that generate waste, it can be an expensive and complex business when it comes to disposing of things like trash and leftover food. One in every six meals in the U.K. is wasted and on average a restaurant wastes 22 tons of food per year. Disposing of waste is also a costly job with hotels having to pay a waste tax which in the U.K. is currently set at $125 per ton.
NATIONAL REPORT—Hoteliers may not realize it but the water meter measuring water coming into a hotel property measures more than water. It measures fluid volume and that fluid includes both water and air. As a result, “water” bills are higher. At least two companies are now representing a product called “Smart Valve” that, when placed on the hotel side of the meter, compresses the incoming air, eliminating its volume before it reaches the meter. The end result: water cost savings of up to 10 to 15 percent or more, regulated water pressure, and less stress and maintenance on plumbing systems. The Smart Valve, according to Patrick Mason, Channel Manager for Energent in Malibu, Calif., works on single-jet, multi-jet and turbine category positive displacement meters. These make up more than 98 percent of all water meters in use. Doug Borden, an Independent Sales Representative for the Smart Valve in Rumson, N.J., says the Smart Valve can help to reduce sewer and water heating costs.
MCLEAN, VA.—Hilton Worldwide’s new parental leave policies took effect on January 1, 2016, and now cover both hourly and salaried team members at Hilton’s owned and managed properties, as well as the company’s corporate offices. The new policies represent the best parental leave benefits offered by any major global hospitality company in the United States and Puerto Rico. The benefits are available to team members at owned and managed hotels and corporate offices with one year of service or greater. All new parents—including fathers and adoptive parents—receive two weeks of fully paid parental leave. New mothers who give birth receive an additional eight weeks of maternity leave, for a total of 10 weeks of fully paid leave. Hilton’s hourly team members in the United States, who account for approximately 75 percent of the company’s U.S. workforce, will be covered under these new parental leave policies. The newly-implemented parental leave policies are just one example of Hilton’s commitment to offering benefits that provide greater personal and professional flexibility to team members.
BROOMFIELD, COLO.—Vail Resorts, Inc. announced a $30 million commitment to develop new employee housing projects in the communities where it operates its mountain resorts. The company intends to use these funds in partnership with the local resort communities, cities and counties, and with other businesses, to help develop new affordable housing projects that can be made available to seasonal and year-round employees. While Vail Resorts already owns and manages more than 3,200 beds, and has added about 650 beds over the past three years, the success and growth of these resort communities has created a need for a higher level of engagement around employee housing.
SAN FRANCISCO—W San Francisco announced that it has become one of only five hotels in North America to be awarded LEED Platinum certification, the highest ranking by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). As the world’s most widely used and recognized green building rating system, the LEED certification program highlights spaces that use less energy and water resources, save money for families, businesses and taxpayers, reduce carbon emissions and create a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community. “We are proud to be the most eco-friendly hotel in San Francisco,” said Roger Huldi, General Manager of W San Francisco. “Since our green efforts take place behind the scenes, our guests can still indulge in all of the luxury the hotel has to offer while feeling good about making a positive impact on the environment.” LEED is the foremost program for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. Thousands of commercial projects are currently participating in LEED, comprising more than 13.8 billion square feet of commercial space in all 50 states and more than 150 countries.
BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS—The Caribbean region is experiencing the impact of the effects of climate change. Sea level rise, frequent and intense natural hazards, extended dry seasons resulting in water scarcity, loss of livelihoods and the disappearance of islands are among the present-day dangers faced.
NEW YORK—Governor Andrew M. Cuomo unveiled the seventh signature proposal of his 2016 agenda: dramatically expand and improve the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center to stimulate the regional economy. The proposal will expand the Javits Center by 1.2 million square feet, resulting in a fivefold increase in meeting and ballroom space, including the largest ballroom in the Northeast. A four-level, 480,000 square-foot truck garage capable of housing hundreds of tractor-trailers at one time will also be constructed to improve pedestrian safety and local traffic flow. The proposal’s total projected cost is approximately $1 billion, paid for by the Javits Center within existing resources. The proposal includes the installation of a 34,000 square-foot solar energy array, the largest of its kind on a public building in New York State. As a part of the expansion project, the Javits Center will seek LEED Platinum certification. This complements the improvements of a previous renovation completed in 2014 that included a new façade and flooring; mechanical, technology and sustainability systems; and a 6.75-acre green roof.
DUBAI, U.A.E.—Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Worldwide’s brand of midscale hotels, and Majid Al Futtaim, the leading shopping mall, retail and leisure pioneer across the Middle East and North Africa, announced the opening of Hilton Garden Inn Dubai Mall of the Emirates—the second largest Hilton Garden Inn in the world and the largest outside of America and the first LEED Gold hotel by Majid Al Futtaim in Dubai. The new hotel, owned by Majid Al Futtaim and managed by Hilton Worldwide, is located just steps away from the Middle East’s iconic premier shopping, leisure and entertainment award-winning destination “The Mall of the Emirates.” Boasting 370 guestrooms—132 of which are interconnecting—Hilton Garden Inn Dubai Mall of the Emirates provides access to Dubai’s major attractions and destinations including the beaches on the Arabian Gulf.
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