Eric A Danziger

Position - President and Chief Executive Officer

Background

Eric A Danziger is responsible for the operation, growth, performance and strategic direction of Wyndham Hotel Group. A hotel industry veteran, he joined the company in late 2008 after serving in executive roles for Carlson Hotels Worldwide, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Doubletree Hotels and the former Wyndham International. Among his many accomplishments, Danziger was responsible for the integration of the Park Inn and Park Plaza brands into the Carlson portfolio and Starwood’s acquisition of the Westin Hotels & Resorts and Sheraton hotel brands.

Eric discusses Wyndham

As one of Wyndham Worldwide’s three business units and the world’s largest hotel company, we understand the impact of Wyndham Hotel Group on the Earth’s natural resources and in the communities where we operate. Because of our size – over 7,200 hotels in 65 countries welcoming millions of guests – doing even one basic thing well, such as installing energy-efficient lighting, can have a tremendous impact on the environment.

You may know that JD Power and Associates tracks hotels with green programmes and it has reported higher guest satisfaction scores for those companies that have introduced sustainable initiatives. Also, Dow Jones, Bloomberg, Yahoo! Finance and others are tracking sustainable statistics. That’s why our Wyndham Green programme is one of Wyndham Worldwide’s top five strategic priorities. As such, we are committed to working with our Green Teams and franchisees to deliver economic benefits, conserve resources and prevent pollution.

We seek to implement innovative programmes and practices that reduce energy consumption and costs or that generate new revenues from sustainable products and services. In addition, we’re working to save the planet’s resources by recycling, reusing and reducing the consumption of resources.

Take our Wyndham Hotels and Resorts brand. From the front desk staff’s “green” two-piece suits – made from 25 two-litre plastic bottles – to its biodegradable laundry bags, the brand is leading the charge in using recyclable material in innovative ways. Additionally, most of Wyndham Hotel Group’s brands, including Super 8, Ramada and Howard Johnson, have implemented a linen re-use programme, such as EarthSmart, and are installing energy-efficient lights in their guest rooms. These initiatives save water and energy, and they cut operational costs for hotel owners.

Some of our hotels, such as the Super 8 in Monroe, Wisconsin, are very committed to protecting the environment. In an effort to conserve energy and cut costs, it has installed 56 square metres of solar panels and added energy-efficient lighting along with motion-detection sensors in guest rooms. As a result, the property has cut heating costs by about 40%, reduced energy usage by approximately 10% and cut its energy bill by about 20%. This property received the Wisconsin State certification, which resulted in marketing and public relations benefits.

Another example of how we are embracing sustainability is our Days Inn property in Grand Rapids, Michigan. To be more efficient, the hotel has converted 778 incandescent light bulbs to fluorescent, which is expected to provide over 4.8 million kilowatt hours in electricity savings.

At our headquarters in Parsippany, New Jersey, we’re leading by example. Our building is Silver LEED interior certified, which means that we were able to realise benefits, such as the following:

  • 16% lighting energy savings
  • 18% HVAC energy savings
  • 25% less water use
  • 88% construction waste diverted from landfills

In addition, we purchase 100% of our electrical energy from wind power and we have a single stream recycling process, which to date has resulted in the recycling of over 26.7 tons of waste.

We are also taking environmental education seriously. Through our Wyndham Green website, e-newsletter, our Wyndham Green kids programme and Green blog, we’re informing and engaging customers, franchisees and associates worldwide.

As part of our education initiative, we’ve developed a Franchisee Green Advisory Board that helps us create and review our programmes as well as communicate and lead by example. Last year, at our annual conference attended by over 6,000 owners and general managers, we showcased our Wyndham Green programme by hosting a Champion of Green panel during which our board members shared best practices. We also provided a sustainability training course to help our franchisees appreciate what it means to be “green” and had a booth featuring materials and products so franchisees could comprehend and implement the programme.

Our owners understand our values and are committed to improving the environment but they also have to run a business and deliver profits. As a franchise organisation, and one with many hotels in the economy and midscale segments, one of our greatest challenges is convincing owners of the financial benefits of using green solutions. This is particularly the case in the current economic climate, where getting hoteliers to make the initial investment in eco-programmes is the biggest challenge. The good news is, however, that there are low-to-no cost initiatives that enable franchisees to “go green”. For example, franchisees can see and make a difference simply by caulking, insulating and turning off lights or closing curtains for rooms not in use.

 

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