Wyndham: Franchisees ‘Do the Right Thing’ with green initiatives.

The Super8 Ukiah makes green business savings

The Super8 Ukiah makes green business savings

Several Wyndham franchisee properties have been profiled in the hotel company’s Champions of Green document.

The book showcases the leadership demonstrated by the Wyndham Green Franchisee Advisory Board and other owners around the world, who assist in creating and reviewing Wyndham’s sustainable programmes, in support of their goal to further reduce emissions by 16% by 2016, and 20% by 2020.

In 2012, Wyndham Worldwide reduced the carbon emissions of owned, managed and leased assets by 11.7%.

Some of the benefits of running a greener property include lower operating costs. The US Green Building Council estimate that operating a LEED certified building can save an average of: 30% in Energy, 30%-50% in Water, 50%-90% in waste.

Additionally a TripAdvisor survey in 2012 revealed that 71% of travellers said they plan to make more eco-friendly choices when choosing hotel accommodations. In addition 50% of travellers who answered the survey said they would spend more money just to stay in eco-friendly accommodation.

Additionally these properties can benefit from being marketed on sites like Travelocity, and “eco-friendly” hotels consistently perform better in terms of customer satisfaction on such sites, with 94% of green hotels earning an average of 3 “smiles” or more versus 83% of similar non-green hotels.

Eric Danziger, CEO, Wyndham Hotel Group said, “Wyndham Green is an important part of Wyndham Hotel Group’s “Do The Right Thing” strategic priority. In conjunction with diversity, philanthropy, human rights, and supporting a healthy workplace, we view Wyndham Green as part of our overall corporate social responsibility efforts as we continue growing in communities around the world.

“Our sustainable practices are created and developed through our Wyndham Green programme, now in its seventh year as one of the top five strategic priorities at Wyndham Worldwide, our parent company. With a sustainability focus to deliver “triple bottom line” results for our people, planet and profits, Wyndham Green works to drive leadership in the industry, encourage engagement among our key stakeholders and provide the mechanism to turn innovative ideas into achievable results.”

Introducing the book, Danziger said, “Let’s celebrate the innovation and dedication of these leaders who help make Wyndham Hotel Group, and our world, a better place to be with and stay with.”

In 2010, Wyndham Hotel Group formed the Green Franchisee Advisory Board, which includes 24 cross-brand hotel owners and general managers that are committed to sustainability and protecting the environment’s natural resources at each of their respective properties. The group shares green best practices to advance sustainability in the hotel group portfolio among each other and their peers. The members on the Green Franchisee Advisory Board are advocates of the Wyndham Green sustainability programme and play a large role in the success and development of the programme.

Solar power in Mt Laurel.

Solar power in Mt Laurel.

 

Their stories include:

Arthur Bartsch owner of the Super 8 Dodgeville and Super 8 Monroe in Wisconsin has made a 40% reduction on monthly water heating costs, reduced energy bills by 10% with motion-detection sensors, and reduced energy bills by 20% with package thermal heat pump units.

Art truly believes that going green is the right thing to do for the environment; it increases exposure and market distinction, reduces operational costs, and promotes strong teamwork. Art has established focus areas which he implements at his properties. Each property focuses on nine essential areas of action to demonstrate their commitment to improve the community’s environmental, social and economic sustainability. The nine areas are Education, Waste Reduction, Energy Efficiency, Water Conservation, Air Quality, Wildlife and Landscape Conservation, Transportation, Purchasing and Community.

Chris Dexter Vice President of Operations & General Manager at Wyndham Grand Plaza Royale Hangzhou China has achieved over $13,000 in savings with LED lamp installation, 26.3% reduction in energy usage from a new HVAC installation and expected savings of over $1,000 per month in gas expenses thanks to energy-saving equipment and facilities which have been installed throughout the hotel.

Joe Guidry General Manager of The Ramada Plaza Fort Walton Beach Resort and Destin Fort Walton Beach, Florida achieved over $10,000 in rebates for installing energy efficient lighting and a 50% natural gas bill reduction from 2008-2012. The Ramada Plaza Beach Resort was the first Ramada and the first hotel in the county to receive a “green" designation. “We have always been green conscious. We made the decision to take it to the next level in 2008,” says Guidry.

Raakesh Patel owner of the Super 8 Ukiah, California has increased business at the hotel by 25% since 2009. Overall costs have reduced by 15% since “Going Green”, and in 2011-2012 they achieved natural gas savings of $2,424, electric savings of $1,236, and waste savings of $1,776.

The words “sustainability” and “budget” are not always thrown together, but the Super 8 found ways to green operations for its 54-room property without burdening its bottom line.

When bookings took a downward turn during the economic struggles of 2008, owner Raakesh Patel needed a creative solution to draw customers.

“I did a lot of research and found there were ways to make our hotel greener and attract a new, fast-growing customer base,” says Patel.

The hotel started small, pursuing easily adoptable eco-friendly initiatives to find its footing in the “green” world.

“We initially targeted low hanging-fruit, like recycling,” commented Patel. “But once we saw that ‘going green’ could be as simple as changing a few habits—like collecting bottles and paper—we were eager to take on new, heavier-hitting responsibilities.”

First, the team made the switch to chemical-free, organic cleaning supplies and biodegradable utensils. Then came organic coffee and a linens reuse programme, which offers multi-evening guests the opportunity to decline new bedding and bath towels until they’re truly needed.

As its green reputation began to draw more attention—and customers—the Super 8 went full steam ahead with its sustainability endeavours.

To facilitate electricity and water conservation, Patel installed motion sensors on lighting units throughout the property and replaced outdated water faucets. He even converted the hotel’s swimming pool to saltwater to lessen its environmental footprint.

Staff is now accustomed to turning off lights and PTAC units whenever possible, and unplugging all appliances when rooms are vacated. However, training the staff is only half the battle—signage is posted in every room and common area encouraging guests to be mindful of their electricity and water use as well.

Another popular green amenity offered by the Super 8 Ukiah is its electric vehicle charging station.

“We love hosting customers who really appreciate the hotel’s sustainability,” said Patel. “EV drivers have been a particularly big draw for us over the past year.”

After all these improvements, one major upgrade eluded Patel.

“I researched solar installations extensively, but continued to come to the same conclusion. For an older building like ours, installing solar just didn’t make financial sense.”

Then he discovered Pear Energy, a company that enables its customers to purchase clean energy from solar and wind farms across the country.

“Pear Energy allows me to run my hotel entirely from renewable energy without the expense and hassle of installing our own system,” commented Patel. “With the addition of renewable energy, I really feel like we’re making a big impact with our sustainability program.”

Today, the Super 8 Ukiah is the greenest Super 8 in the U.S. Patel has secured a number of distinctions for the property, including a Trip Advisor GreenLeaders Silver label, a Green Seal from the State of California, multiple certificates from the Green Business Bureau, and a Sprit of Super 8 Award from the Wyndham Hotel Group. The Super 8 Ukiah was also the 446th hotel to qualify for ENERGY STAR.

Despite all the progress he’s made, Patel continues to look for new ways to enhance his green hotel. For example, he looks forward to the day when he is able to capture grey water from washing machines for reuse in the property’s landscaping.

“We are saving the environment and saving money—it’s a win-win situation,” said Patel. “I’m proud of how far our Super 8 has come, but we still have more to do.”

There are many more stories of Wyndham franchisees great efforts like John Scipione owner of the Ramada Vineland - Vineland, New Jersey where 80% of the hotel's electricity comes from solar panels giving them a $0 electricity bill since October 2010 and Federal tax credits reimburse 30% of the cost of the solar project.

Or Rishi Shah Asset Manager of the Wyndham Philadelphia Mount Laurel, NJ that makes annual savings of $65,000 from their solar project, with 10% energy consumption reduction from a HVAC sensor install, and approximately $40,000 cost savings on oil and electricity annually and less than 1 year ROI on LED lighting install.

You can read all the stories here.

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