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LAS VEGAS—MGM Resorts International has been recognized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation for its innovative sustainability initiatives and commitment to alternative energy sources. The company has been named a finalist for Best Environmental Stewardship Program in the 2015 Corporate Citizenship Awards.
CARSON CITY, NEV.—The Governor’s Office of Energy (GOE) awarded property tax incentives to 11 Caesars Entertainment affiliated casino resorts for introducing significant energy and water savings measures in tens of millions of square feet of commercial space. The resorts received the GOE incentive after meeting State regulations and receiving a prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver or Gold equivalency from the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED is a rating system for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of green buildings. “Working with Caesars Casinos to make such an enormous quantity of square feet in Nevada more energy efficient was historic,” said Paul Thomsen, GOE Director. “Project successes like this confirm Nevada’s status as a national leader in efficient construction and design.” In 2015, GOE awarded tax incentives to the owners of 22 buildings in Nevada that achieved LEED certification or equivalency, for a total of more than 46 million square feet. The largest contributor to this robust figure was the Caesars Entertainment properties at 28.5 million square feet.
CINCINNATI—The finalists for the 35th Gold Key Award for Excellence in Hospitality Design have been announced by HX: The Hotel Experience (formerly IHMRS). A panel of eight prominent judges considered more than 350 entries for these awards, which recognize outstanding design worldwide for hospitality projects that were completed or renovated from April 1, 2014 through May 30, 2015.
ROCKVILLE, MD.—Choice Hotels International announced that Comfort Inn will join Comfort Suites in implementing a 100 percent smoke-free policy beginning July 1, 2016, making Comfort the largest hotel brand in the United States to do so with more than 1,700 properties across the country. Becoming the largest hotel brand to provide a smoke-free environment reinforces the Comfort brand’s commitment to wellness and helping travelers feel refreshed while on the road. “This smoke-free initiative is the latest in a series of bold steps the Comfort brand is taking to enhance the guest experience and deliver the needs of today’s business and leisure travelers,” said Anne Smith, Vice President of Brand Strategy for Choice Hotels. “In weighing this decision, we looked closely at guest feedback and hotel performance after Comfort Suites properties went completely smoke free in 2007 and contrasted that with findings based on similar research performed this year. We learned a lot about attitudes toward nonsmoking policies at hotels and found that, not only have preferences for smoke-free environments continued to increase, but smokers themselves are more likely to choose 100 percent smoke-free accommodations.”
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The third annual industry study of sustainability performance benchmarking of energy, water, and carbon emissions is now open for participation. Hotel owners and operators of all sizes are invited to participate in this innovative industrywide collaboration.
NATIONAL REPORT—As of September 8, according to Plug In America, 360,236 plug-in vehicles had been sold in the United States. Since the introduction of plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) about five years ago, total sales are on pace to double that of plugless hybrids for their first five years. Today, there are more than 32,000 charging stations listed on the PlugShare website. Undoubtedly, there is a shift taking place in how folks get from point A to point B. According to the most recent AH&LA Lodging Survey, prepared by STR and funded by AHLEF, 11 percent of surveyed properties offer electric vehicle charging stations for their guests who drive electric and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles. Some properties are even using electric vehicles for in-town or airport transfers, making it even more essential to have on-site charging stations. Most properties that have invested in charging stations for visitors, guests and others have done so at Level 1 or Level 2. A 120-volt Level 1 charger can charge a battery two to three miles per hour, depending on the vehicle.
NEW YORK—The panelist lineup for the three green sessions that will be part of the inaugural HX: The Hotel Experience (formerly International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show) has been finalized. The three sessions will take place over three days during HX, November 8 to 10, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Planned for Sunday, November 8 from noon to 12:45 p.m. is “The Numbers Behind the Trends—Gauging Traveler/Hotelier Reaction to the Greening of Lodging.” As awareness of sustainability has grown among business and leisure travelers in recent years, hoteliers increasingly have put green practices in place to reduce their environmental impact, increase profitability, and have a positive impact on their communities. Knowing exactly what green practices appeal to business and leisure travelers and how they react to them, and specifically what best practices hoteliers are adopting and finding of most value has been a challenge. The travel industry’s leading experts, representing STR (Smith Travel Research), Cornell University and Greenview will share research they have conducted that will shed light on consumer and hotelier reaction to sustainability trends in recent years.
EAGLE BEACH, ARUBA—After giving Aruba decades of great change, the island nation has gifted its sustainable tourism pioneer with something permanent. The government of Aruba honored Ewald Biemans, founder of Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts and one of the Caribbean’s most prominent environmentalists, by naming a street after him. A stretch of L. G. Smith Boulevard, conveniently located near the namesake’s resort on the world-famous Eagle Beach, is now officially known as Caya Ewald Biemans.
LAS VEGAS—MGM Resorts International employee volunteers build a house from the ground up, and hand over the keys to an elated single mother and her children. Tens of millions of dollars are spent conducting business with minority- and women-owned enterprises, supporting the company's strategic objectives and commitment to diversity. MGM Resorts and NRG Renew partner to install one of the nation’s largest rooftop solar arrays at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, stretching a massive 20 acres. These are just a few of the powerful displays of corporate citizenship chronicled in MGM Resorts’ 2014 Annual Corporate Social Responsibility Report. Themed “Inspiration Begins With Us!”, the report features the company’s accomplishments in corporate social responsibility (CSR), which includes Diversity and Inclusion, Philanthropy and Community Engagement, and Environmental Sustainability initiatives. “MGM Resorts continues to integrate CSR best practices at all levels of our company’s operations and throughout our culture,” said Jim Murren, Chairman & CEO of MGM Resorts International. “We firmly believe that our CSR efforts make us both a better company and a better corporate citizen.”
ORLANDO, FLA.—The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) and Interstate Hotels & Resorts announce the recent launch of AHLEI’s human trafficking awareness training into Interstate’s mandatory training curriculum for front-line associates and managers at more than 300 hotels in the United States. “The Role of Hospitality in Preventing and Reacting to Child Trafficking” is an online program developed in partnership with ECPAT-USA that provides hotel staff and managers with the information they need to identify and respond to crimes of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC).
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