News & Features

Whether an industry announcement, or a hotel accomplishment, Green Lodging News reports on the most up-to-date news and offers a unique perspective on trends—all with the purpose of making your company more profitable. Got news or a story idea to share? Contact Glenn Hasek, editor, at (813) 510-3868, or by e-mail at: editor@greenlodgingnews.com.


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Jeff Benavides Helps to Make Wyndham Vacation Ownership Uniquely Green

10/20/2014

ORLANDO, FLA.—As Energy & Sustainability Specialist, Resort Management for Wyndham Vacation Ownership (WVO) in Orlando, Jeff Benavides, as part of the sustainability team, touches a lot of people—not only the primary contacts at the 190 resorts that WVO manages, but also the more than 900,000 families who have ownership interests. For Benavides there is no typical day. One time slot might be spent on chasing down rebate and incentive opportunities for a client. Another might be spent on strengthening or administering WVO’s required Sustainability 101 course or voluntary Energy University program. What the sustainability team has accomplished along with others at WVO and Wyndham Worldwide should come as no surprise given Wyndham’s commitment to developing sustainability programs. Wyndham’s Wyndham Green program was launched in 2006 and Wyndham has had a seat at the table whenever the lodging industry has met to discuss important sustainability concerns—the development of the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI) methodology, for example. At WVO, one area where Wyndham’s concern about corporate citizenship is clear is in its quality assurance (QA) process.


Fairmont Supports California Coastal Cleanup Day

10/20/2014

CALIFORNIA—Over 700 California Fairmont Hotels & Resorts colleagues accompanied by friends, family members and recruits scoured the state’s inland waterways and beaches for litter late last month as part of the 30th annual California Coastal Cleanup Day. Working with the Coastal Commission Fairmont led five drop-in cleanup sites (Newport Beach, Santa Monica, San Jose, San Francisco and Sonoma) across the state where volunteers hauled off everything from plastic backyard pools to artificial Christmas trees.


Sheraton Stamford Hotel Wraps Up $200,000 LED Lighting Upgrade

10/16/2014

STAMFORD, CONN.—Officials of the Sheraton Stamford Hotel recently announced the completion of the hotel’s next step to achieving its sustainable goals to improve environmental efficiencies that help the hotel as well as its community. The Sheraton Stamford Hotel just completed a $200,000 project, in which they upgraded their lighting to LED throughout the hotel. According to a study from the Connecticut Energy Efficient Fund, over the life of the fixtures, the hotel’s increase in LED usage will have saved an estimated 7,412,770.00 kWh. This is equivalent to 3,755,988 pounds of coal not burned, 308,755 gallons of oil not burned, or 882 homes supplied with electricity for one year. “Savings add up fairly quickly,” said Mike Bennett, General Manager, Sheraton Stamford Hotel. “When we use less energy, there’s less energy we have to buy, and that means less waste and more savings.” By reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful environmental pollutants, this one project will also help reduce air pollution and improve air quality in Connecticut and the Northeast region.


Boutique & Lifestyle Sector Trends to Watch

10/16/2014

LAS VEGAS—As the boutique and lifestyle hospitality sector experiences unprecedented growth, industry trends continue to expand. Led by innovations from hoteliers, designers, architects, builders, chefs, and of course the unique tastes and expanding needs of travelers, today’s boutique or lifestyle property must continually evolve in order to stay ahead of its competition.


Focus on Bottom Line Results in Environmental Efficiencies for Value Place

10/15/2014

WICHITA, KAN.—This week Value Place announced the opening of a newly constructed hotel in Columbus, Ohio. The company, with nearly 190 hotels in 32 states, has been on a roll lately. Almost every month this year the company has either opened a property or announced the construction of one. Value Place, a leader in the extended-stay segment, is known for offering an affordable, clean, safe and simple place to stay. What it is not known for is the steps it has taken to be as environmentally efficient as possible—a result of the company’s fanatical attention to keeping costs down. “From our perspective, a lot of the hotel business is top line focused and we try to be bottom line focused,” says Kyle Rogg, President and COO of Value Place. “We are continually trying to find ways to spend less without compromising the guest experience.” Since the opening of its first property in Wichita, Kan. in 2003, Value Place has focused on delivering the potential for the greatest net operating income.


Fairmont Beijing Partners with BMW to Showcase i Series

10/15/2014

BEIJING—Fairmont Beijing is partnering with BMW in a showcase of the luxury carmaker’s new electric, environment-friendly i Series. Guests booking airport transfers and the Fairmont Beijing’s “Passion Package” are being transported around the city for the next two months, to experience first-hand the unique sustainable features of the ground-breaking, emission-free concept.


Leven Returns to Atlanta to Lead Georgia Aquarium

10/15/2014

ATLANTA—Georgia Aquarium announced that hospitality guru Mike Leven will return to Atlanta January 1, 2015, to become the chairman and CEO of Georgia Aquarium. David Kimmel, who has served as president since 2010, and led all major construction of the facility for the past 12 years, has stepped down. The Aquarium also announced that Bernie Marcus, founder and chairman, will become chairman emeritus in 2015. “Mike Leven was CEO of the Aquarium in 2008 to 2009 and proved to be a great leader with full and complete confidence of the staff and the Board,” said Marcus. “He left for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lead Las Vegas Sands Corporation as president.” In May, Leven announced his retirement from the corporation when his contract expires at the end of 2014. “Mike returns to us at an exciting time, as we plan the Aquarium’s tenth anniversary in 2015, and as we open a new and entertaining SunTrust Georgia Explorer gallery late in the year,” Marcus added.


Green Roof & Wall Conference Set for November 11 to 12

10/15/2014

NASHVILLE—Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, a nonprofit industry association dedicated to the development of the green roof and wall industry, announces the launch of the two day intensive Net Zero Water Boot Camp professional training at CitiesAlive in Nashville on November 11 to 12 at the Civic Design Center. The Net Zero Water Boot Camp is the curriculum associated with designing integrated water systems that work towards the goal of freeing a facility from the need to connect to the municipal water and wastewater system.


Hilton Worldwide Releases Its 2013-2014 Corporate Responsibility Report

10/13/2014

MCLEAN, VA.—Hilton Worldwide released its 2013-2014 corporate responsibility report. The report is Hilton Worldwide’s third corporate responsibility report, and its first since returning to public markets following a record-breaking initial public offering (IPO) in December 2013. The report highlights efforts, achievements and priorities across the four focus areas of HiltonWorldwide’s corporate responsibility strategy, Travel with Purpose: creating opportunities, strengthening communities, celebrating cultures and living sustainably. “2013 was a year of tremendous progress for Hilton Worldwide,” said Christopher J. Nassetta, President and CEO, HiltonWorldwide. “As we build on this momentum, we are mindful of the need to achieve this growth in a responsible and sustainable manner. Travel with Purpose serves as the guide for growing our company in a way that benefits our business as well as the communities where we live, work and travel. I am proud of the progress we have made and will continue to make as we look to achieve our goals in the future.” One key achievement is reducing energy use by 13.6 percent since 2009.


Host Hotels & Resorts Recognized by CDP as S&P 500 Leader

10/13/2014

BETHESDA, MD.—Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc., the largest lodging real estate investment trust in the United States, has been recognized by environmental nonprofit CDP as a leader among S&P 500 companies for corporate action on climate change and for climate change transparency. Additionally, Host was recognized by the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) as the Global Sector Leader for Hotels and achieved Green Star status.


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