Getting the green word out

If you are doing your part for the environment, why not let your guests know? Fairmont Dubai's Alka Patel discusses communication strategies that will highlight your good work.
Getting the green word out
By Alka Patel
Tue 16 Dec 2008 04:00 AM

If you are doing your part for the environment, why not let your guests know? Fairmont Dubai's Alka Patel discusses communication strategies that will highlight your good work.

Guests appreciate the environmental efforts of hotel staff and management and often want to learn more about the programme.

Here are some ways to communicate your environmental initiatives.

In-room info

Use the in-room directory to communicate your environmental goals, your Green Team's mission statement and accomplishments.

Highlight your property's involvement in the local community. Mention, for example, the donation of amenities or food items to local shelters and charitable organisations.

Use tent cards and door hangers to encourage your guests to participate in towel and sheet exchange programmes if this is permitted at your property. According to a recent study conducted by the Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration, a linen and towel exchange programme increases guests' participation.

Recycle

Install in-room recycling containers. Recycling facilities differ by region and by country.

Find out what recycling facilities exist in your community and install containers to collect appropriate items.

Post clear instructions so guests know what is and what is not recyclable.

Although a reputable recycling company or agency may be somewhat of a challenge to find in this city, Union Paper Mills currently produce 100 tonnes of recycled paper a day. When the mill opened in 1988 it produced between 70 and 80 tonnes a day. It has 300 collection points throughout the city and collects from the Fairmont Dubai on a daily basis.

Organic awareness

List the use of organic ingredients on restaurant menus. Organic items create excitement on any menu.

If your hotel gets them from a local supplier, don't forget to list this on the menu.

Printing properly

When sourcing paper for local printing at your hotel such as menus, wine lists or notices, consider using recycled paper or paper that has been produced in a sustainable way.

Recycled paper can have interesting textures, depending on the amount of recycled content. Don't forget to mention the amount of recycled paper that you are using.

Wall of fame

If your property has won an environmental award, display it with pride.

Mount the award beside other awards or designations to show your guests that you are serious about the environment. Also, display your property's environmental mission statement in a public place.

As important as having one in place in a public area, also have a ‘wall of fame' set up in common areas of the hotel for your colleagues (internal guests) to view and to encourage more acts of green throughout your property.

Involve guests

Is your hotel involved in some type of environmental campaign, such as saving a local endangered species?

If so, tell your concierge staff so that they can tell your guests.

Remember that, while the ultimate success of the programme is achieved when guests become involved in it, they should never feel pressured to take part.

Participation should always be voluntary and add to the enjoyment of a guest's stay.

You can take this a step forward with your sales and catering departments by engaging your clients in your eco-projects.

Find out the mission statement and philosophy of the companies that you work with and you'll be surprised to learn that many have a comprehensive CSR or sustainable component.

Invite these companies and their colleagues to join yours for annual clean up or eco-friendly projects in your community.

Alka Patel is the public relations manager for The Fairmont Dubai. For more information email: alkapatel@fairmont.com.

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