Hotels are aiming to differentiate themselves from the competition by developing specialized experiences catered to the needs of today’s modern traveler. In a recent SmartBrief report sponsored by The Wall Street Journal, 61% of guests polled either expect hotels to have green initiatives in place, or it’s a determining factor during the booking process. Here are some ways hotels are attracting and retaining eco-conscious guests:
1. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is reinventing the arrival experience at its hotels in the United States, Canada and other international locations with an environmentally responsible message. The brand offers free and discounted parking for hybrid and electric vehicles. One of its properties, Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Quebec City, presents complimentary parking for eco-conscious travelers.
As part of Fairmont’s pledge to sustainability, the luxury brand partnered with the World Wildlife Fund to raise awareness among policymakers, guests, employees and suppliers of the need for business and industry to lower emissions. “We firmly believe travel and sustainability go hand in hand,” said Sarah Dayboll, Fairmont’s manager of environmental affairs.
2. Attempting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with transport, hotels are supporting the farm-to-table concept and planting entire gardens and farms on their properties. One of the largest initiatives is Grande Lakes Orlando’s Whisper Creek Farm, a 7,000-sq.-ft. fruit and vegetable garden. The produce and herbs are used in restaurant dishes, beverages and spa treatments, and guests can peruse the Primo Organic Garden. They can also pick and taste the products.
For special events, Whisper Creek can arrange family-style meals of seasonal menus served at long communal tables for groups of as many as 250 people. “We’ve launched Whisper Creek Farm with an eye toward guests who are interested in learning about where their food is sourced,” said Jim Burns, VP and managing director of Grande Lakes Orlando.
3. To further capitalize on the sustainable agriculture movement, hotels in dense urban locations are catering to the growing foodie demographic with an eye toward sustainability. The Westin New York Grand Central, located in midtown Manhattan, has a rooftop garden that grows produce and herbs used in the hotel’s food and beverage service.
Executive Chef Brian Wieler said guests are extremely knowledgeable about where their food comes from and appreciate that journey from the soil to their plates. As a result, he plans to expand the garden, which already consists of raised beds.
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