WOW! The Geico Caveman should be pleased with this new twist on Eco-Friendly. Luxury hotels in caves . . . does seem a bit retro, but then people have been living in them for centuries gone by.
From Green Hotel News:
” In the city of Matera, deep in southern Italy’s Basilicata region, ancient caves that once were home to the poor are transformed into offbeat, luxury hotels.
It was early evening in Matera, a city in the southern Italian region of Basilicata, and swallows circled the sky, their melodious calls interrupted only by the clanking of bells worn by cows drinking from a stream deep within a canyon.
On the other side of the canyon was old Matera, an area so ancient that it was used to portray Judea in Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ.” Often called the Sassi (which means stone), or the City of Stone, this part of Matera is a maze of caves, churches – some dating back to Roman times – zigzagging steps and stone facades carved from a massive slope of yellowed tufa . . . “
A Blog Blueprint is an important consideration when determining how to build your environmental presence on the internet. By now most hotels have a website and many properties have joined Web 2.0 by also building a blog unique to their property. The value of creating a blog is that it gives you a platform to keep a community informed as to what you feel is important for them to know about your property.
Like anything done well, you will always want to make sure that you start with a bit of planning up front. We’ll call this up front planning your “Blog Blueprint”. What kind of planning do you need to do. One of the first things you need to do is decide what is the purpose of your blog?
Here’s some ideas:
Inform the public as to upcoming events and activities
Alert your community to special deals
Share about community events that may attract people to your property
Feature interesting information about your staff
Share what your property is doing to become more eco-friendly
Share about renovation taking place
Comment on recent reviews on Tripadvisor – good or bad
You get the idea! There are a lot of things you can use your blog for. But if you don’t have a Blog Blueprint, a plan for the purpose and direction of your blog, it will quickly become disjointed and not serve your intended purpose (assuming you have one).
Ask yourself or staff these simple questions:
Will we allow external contributors?
Will our blog be a subdomain or directory on our primary website or will it have its own unique domain?
What blogging platform will we use (WordPress, Typead, Blogger, etc.)
How often will we add content?
Are we trying to build a list of subscribers?
What is the primary purpose of our blog?
What are the secondary and tertiary purposes of our blog?
Who is our target audience?
Do we plan to allow booking from our blog?
Will we allow advertising on our blog?
Who will be in charge of our blog
Who will create the content?
With answers to these simple questions you should be well on your way to being able to develop a solid Blog Blueprint that will help insure you maximize the value of your blog and it meets its intended purpose.
Miapolis, as designed, at 3,200 feet, would be taller than the Burj Dubai which just opened. Included in this mini city within the city of Miami Florida are 792 hotel rooms, a trade center, restaurants, over 1,000 condos, an amusement park, observatory, shopping mall, office space, and a marina.
The first hurdle for Miapolis to go from paper to reality is to obtain FAA approval. The project is pursuing an FAA designated no-fly zone around the mini city. With FAA approval they will then need to raise a handful of billions to fund the development.
Their 8 minute concept video makes you feel like Miapolis already exists. According to MiapolisCity.com, the development is to be built to LEED Certified specifications, and the developers are referring to Miapolis as “Platinum Green Sustainable”, self-sufficient, home wind generator, environmentally friendly and will be making a substantial economic contribution to the local economy.
Miapolis - will become the world's largest LEED Certified project
Here’s some of the stats:
Land area – 28 acres
Height – 3,000 ft
Floors – 160
Construction area – 11,500,000 sf
Parking spaces – 11,700
Marina slips – 300
Observatory – 24,900 sf
Rotating sky-lounge – 31,600 sf
Catering halls – 31,400 sf
Hotel – rooms – 790
Condo units – 1,050
Offices – 1,000,000 sf
Retail area – 1,960,000 sf
Restaurants – 684,000 sf
Trade Center – 1,600,000 sf
Amusement Park – 2,100,000 sf
Telecom – 92,000 sf
Miapolis is an ambitious project to say the least, and to create such an icon while maintaining minimal environmental impact will be no small challenge. We’ll keep an eye on this one.
How about a few incentives to encourage the guest to be Green?
Elan Inn - Hangzhou China
That’s exactly what the Elan Inn in Hangzhou China has implemented. The hotel has created a carbon rewards program where guests will get reward points for various carbon-reduction actions they take.
Guests can exchange accumulated reward points for gifts such as room coupons or short-haul travel. Currently guests are rewarded for:
bringing their own toothbrush
using their own towel from home
setting the air-conditioning above 26 degrees Celsius in summer
setting the heating below 20 degrees Celsius in winter
China seems to be on to something here . . . recognizing that energy costs account for 8%-15% of a hotel’s total business expenditure the hotels in Zhejiang decided to take a leading role in doing something about it. According to the secretary general of Zhejiang Provincial Hotel Association, Du Juexiang, the association put forward the concept of environmentally-friendly hotels around ten years ago and to date there are more than 300 green hotels in Zhejiang.
Offering Green Points to eco-concious guests is another great step in not only giving the guests incentive to be environmentally friendly but also creates a more profitable operation by consuming less resources.
A couple of young men in India have developed a system to turn hotel food waste into electricity and fertilizer. Sumedh Bapat, a mechanical engineer and Srinivas Kasulla, an environmental professional, have developed a method to deal with waste disposal. Their system can treat 5 tons of hotel garbage daily and at the same time generate electricity through a biogas plant. Their system has been so successful that they have been contracted by the Pune Municipal Corporation to build 3 plants that will treat the waste from 26 hotels. The plants will create enough electricity to provide lighting to public parks nearby. In other words – 5 tons of hotel food waste per day can light 700 tube lights which use an average of 50 watts for about 10 hours. After generating gas, the remaining digest can be used as manure, producing up to 9,000 litres of organic fertilizer each day.
Arundhati Ranade of the Ahmedabad Mirror commented:
“”Bapat and Kasulla, who are in their thirties, are not new to dealing with problem of waste with the help of eco-friendly solutions. They have set up a company called Greenleaf Renewable Energy Pvt Ltd, whose turnover is Rs 7.5 crore.
“Our project called 3EBT, which is Eco-friendly Biogas Technology, was selected for ‘Innovation’, an event organised by the IIT Bombay alumni association,” Bapat said. “”
Hopefully Sumedh’s and Srinivas’s system will not only light parks but light up the minds of other engineers and hotel operators around the globe to embrace similar technologies . . . and have garbage light the way.
The Burj Khalifa has just entered the history books as World’s tallest building and also entered the eco history books as a marvel of ecological excess. At just over a half mile high, this engineering wonder in Dubai, the city of excess, will undoubtedly earn a eco black mark for its consumption of non-renewable resources.
According to a recent blog post at The Red White and Green here’s how the Burj Khalifa’s massive environmental footprint stacks up:
•Water: Around 250,000 gallons of water a day
•Electricity: At peak times, roughly 40,000 kilowatts — the equivalent of 500,000 100-watt light bulbs burning at the same time
•Raw materials: Nearly 40,000 tons of steel — enough to stretch a quarter of the way around the earth if laid end to end
•Wasted space: The upper 30+ floors are so tiny, they can only be used for storage
Apparently though, The Red White and Green says it does have at least one eco-feature . . . “Condensation produced by the structure during Dubai’s hot and humid summer months will be collected and used to water the tower’s plants and landscaping.”
As we welcome 2010 we also welcome an increase in consumer awareness of the need to treat our environment with respect. Tripadvisor UK recently released their Top 10 Trends for 2010 and among them was a more environmentally concious traveler in 2010.
Here’s what their polling revealed:
“Fourteen percent of British travellers will be more environmentally conscious in their travel decisions in 2010 than they were last year, far less than the French (20 percent), Italians (30 percent) and Spaniards (23 percent) revealed in a survey of 2,800 European travellers. According to Brits, the most suitable country to plan an eco-friendly holiday is Sweden, followed by Norway and Switzerland. One-fifth (21 percent) of travellers said there aren’t enough resources to easily plan an eco-friendly holiday.”
Read more about Tripadvisor UK’s 9 other Top Trends in Travel for 2010.
A great goal for the new year would be to rid yourself of fossil fuel produced energy and create your own solar or wind power. Earth4Energy and Power4Home ebooks are a couple of good primers to get you started.
Plan to do something good for the environment this coming year.
Dennis Salazar – president of Salazar Packaging, Inc., a certified MBE (Minority Business Enterprise) company specializing in packaging products, equipment and solutions recently attended one of the largest green conferences of its kind, completely focused on sustainability and green businesses. It was being held at The Hotel Whitcomb, one of San Francisco’s oldest and greenest hotels. He wrote a fun tongue and cheek article about the “Greenness” of the toilet paper he found in the room.
It’s a fun read . . . but it does make you think about how you market your environmental initiatives . . . who is looking . . . and what they might be thinking about what you’re saying.
Dennis says “It’s kind of like finding salmonella at a healthy food fair but it happens.” Here’s what he found - “I read the label and was impressed by the product name: Renature Bathroom Tissue. ‘That looks like a nice green brand,’ I thought when I saw the recycled logo but then noticed the problematic printing under the name: 100% recyclable.” Then he poses some interesting questions – Are they labeling to inform or misinform? What does that mean? What is bathroom tissue that is 100% recyclable? I am not sure I even want to know but I suspect there were a number of different things they could have printed on the wrapper that would be more accurate and possibly every bit as green sounding as what they chose. Does the product contain recycled content? Perhaps, but we’ll never know for sure, I guess. Is it biodegradable? I think most tissue is designed for that. What exactly do they mean by 100% recyclable?”
How about a video site for all things “Green”? That’s the premise of GoGreenTube.com – a website that’s been out for a little over a year now. They’ve been up and down over the past year with Compete.com showing monthly visits ranging from a couple thousand to almost ten thousand visitors.
Even though they don’t have the visitor count of YouTube they have a highly focused target audience – “All Things Green”. With the viral nature of the net . . . post a video on GoGreenTube and who knows where it might end up and the potential traffic it could generate. I suggest that if you’ve got video worthy content that you can create on your property’s environmental initiatives . . . video it and post it to GoGreenTube and put it on YouTube too.
Above is an example of a professional video done by Marriott. Some things to keep in mind: keep it short – preferably under 2 minutes, less professional often works better, make it interesting – human interest – controversial can be good too. With the plethora of video cameras and devices there’s no good reason not to get started today . . . it’s easy!
Clean the World Inc. now has a way to recycle all those partially used hotel toiletries. They’re able to get 100% use out of all of those tiny bottles, and there’s no giant tub with upsidedown bottles dripping every last drop of shampoo into it.
Recycle Hotel Soaps
Over 100 hotels have joined their program including the 10 location chain based in Colorado – Rock Resorts International - who are already known for teir eco friendliness. Thousands of bars of recycled soap are being distributed to homeless shelters in the U.S. and Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world.
So are these poor people getting partially used bars of soap? According to Treehugger “Nope, actually Clean the World takes all used soap and sterilizes it through a steaming process and then repackages the soap. Clean the World employs men from the Central Care Mission in Orlando, FL as part of a program to help get homeless men off the street and into full-time jobs.” They go on to say “Each year over 1 million bars of soap are thrown away in landfills before they have been used up. At the same time, 3.5 million children around the world die from acute respiratory and diarrheal disease, most of which could be prevented with access to hand soap and education programs on the importance of hand washing.”
If you stay at hotels participating in the program simply drop your unused soap and shampoo in the recycle containers, or send by mail anyunused or leftover soap/shampoo/conditioner to: Central Care Mission, 4027 Lennox Blvd. Orlando, FL 32811. Learn more about Clean the World and to get your local hotel involved you’ll find them online at Clean the World.