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Hotel Marketing : Partnerships Expand Green Meeting Options

publication date: Sep 4, 2011
author/source: ASAE Convene Green Alliance

Hotel Marketing and Hospitality Sales Best Practices

Partnerships Expand Green Meeting Options

Green MeetingsWhen it comes time to "green" your next meeting, look to the local destination, convention center, hotels, and other hospitality vendors to form partnerships to make it happen.

That was the message delivered in the "Business of Meetings: Destination Site Selection and Sustainable Meetings" session at the ASAE Annual Meeting in St. Louis, Missouri in early August.

Sponsored by the ASAE Convene Green Alliance, the session was moderated by Tamara Kennedy-Hill, CMP, executive director of the Green Meetings Industry Council; Amy Spatrisano, CMP, principal of Meet Green; and Scott Beck, president & CEO of the Salt Lake City CVB, also spoke.

"Conducting successful green meetings is about working with a partner and making sure they are committed to meeting your goals and objectives," Kennedy-Hill said.

Beck urged planners to look to their destination partners to see if they have a sustainability foundation and a program that reflects the goals the association wants to achieve.

Many of the goals that most planners have for their meetings, such as affordability and accessibility, often tie into green meeting goals. For example, if a destination offers hotels in close proximity to the convention center, it can eliminate the need for shuttle buses, saving money and reducing the carbon footprint of the meeting.

"A lot of what you are already doing may contribute to having an environmentally sustainable meeting," Spatrisano said.

Hill-Kennedy described what she called the "sweet spot of sustainability," which includes making a meeting affordable, engaging with the local community to make positive contributions, and minimizing environmental impact.

Spatrisano encouraged planners to think about how these can be balanced in finding the right mix of green programs. "When we say balance, it doesn't mean that all three things are the same," she added. "Depending on your situation, it could be different. Customize the mix to meet your goals and then explain to your stakeholders why you made that decision."

Promoting attendee satisfaction is important.

"We are seeing evidence that delegates are more satisfied when they know they are being green," Spatrisano said.

Beck agreed that "people feel good when they are doing good. It really does make the water taste better and have them feel better about the experience."

When negotiating contracts and preparing for the meeting, Spatrisano noted, "You need to start the conversation about green programs early in the process, so there is not a surprise when it comes time to sign the contract."

Kennedy-Hill added that for a citywide conference it is important to "talk about sustainability in the pre-conference meeting with the hotels to make sure they know the expectations - general managers know their reputations are on the line."

"Even if green practices aren't built into your contract, you can explain that when you signed the contract this wasn't a priority but now it is," Spatrisano noted. "Tell them that members have these expectations and you want to shine and you want them to shine."

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