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Cool and Efficient

Since the start of the “going green” movement in the lodging industry, every company has been looking for a way to do its share in reducing waste and making products more environmentally friendly and energy efficient. In 2011, many hotels may be switching out their old HVAC systems for new ones. When the Clean Air Act was passed last year, the government mandated that all manufacturers must change their systems to R-410A, meaning that all air conditioning and heat pump units in North America must use chlorine-free refrigerants. Refrigerants prior to this mandate contained chlorine, which is harmful to the ozone. Many companies saw this switch coming and began preparing their companies not only to create these new systems, but also create a competitive edge with visually appealing products. These days, guests may find themselves looking at the art on a guestroom wall and realize that the picture is more than just a piece of art. It’s actually regulating the temperature in the room. It’s part of a technological progression that is being made from the large, loud, white box near the window that many hotel guests are accustomed to seeing. The art, in fact, is an environmentally friendly HVAC ...

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Travel Promotion Act: A Year After

Nearly a year ago, the President signed into law the first federally coordinated campaign to attract visitors to the United States. The Travel Promotion Act (TPA) encourages international travelers to visit our country by creating the Corporation for Travel Promotion, explaining U.S. security policies and promoting the U.S. as a premier travel destination. Since the Corporation for Travel Promotion (CTP) plays a significant role in how this campaign unfolds, we asked the Board’s Chair, Stephen Cloobeck, for his thoughts on how this year will unfold. What is the Board’s role in creating the overall campaign? Our role is to ensure that the U.S. has a world-class program that greatly increases international travel to the US and delivers high returns to the country in terms of job creation, economic growth and international goodwill. What impact do you think the Corporation for Travel Promotion will have in the next year? Long term? The funding for marketing will become available toward the end of 2011, and our commitment is to have a program in place that will deliver strong results for the industry and grow the U.S. economy. Earlier studies have estimated that the program could yield millions of new visitors, $4 billion ...

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60-Second Profile: jeffrey Saunders, Saunders Hotel Group

Although he always knew he’d end up working in the lodging industry Jeffrey Saunders didn’t know exactly what part of the industry he’d end up pursuing. Saunders along with his brothers are third-generation hoteliers. Their grandfather, Boston real estate entrepreneur Irving Saunders, founded Saunders Hotel Group in the 1940s as a small management company. The company began when Irving purchased a small hotel across from the former Metropolitan Theater (now The Wang Center). “I knew that it was something that I wanted to do from an early age, although at that age I really had no idea which area I’d best fit into,” Saunders says. While studying hospitality at Cornell University, the young Jeffrey pondered his future place in the industry. “I’d worked in internships at The Ritz-Carlton, the Waldorf=Astoria, and a resort in South Carolina, but I never really knew where I wanted to land. I only knew that I wanted to go on the journey,” Saunders recalls. “It turned out that I had a love affair with operations.” Today, as president and CEO of the company, which has grown to six hotels, Saunders oversees a company that puts operational efficiency and guest service at the top of its ...

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Small & Independent Hotels: At your fingertips

I’m very happy to have been asked to work on this inaugural column. Much has changed recently in the independent property landscape, especially in regard to marketing. We’ve gone from a predominantly print paradigm to the Internet, and now to mobile applications and social networking as important marketing methodologies. While at the AH&LA Fall Conference in November, Yelp, the user-generated guide website, put on a very educational session about their online community. Why does it matter? Well, take a look at these statistics: 38 million monthly unique visitors Mean income of visitors is $105,560 More than 37 percent are 45 or older, and more than 50 percent are between the ages of 25 and 44 70 percent have a graduate or post-graduate degree Sounds like small property aficionados, doesn’t it? Thirty years ago, what was the easiest way to get a recommendation on a great local business? Likely, such a recommendation would come from a friend or family member. Today, that word-of-mouth is shifting to the Internet, where online review websites have become increasingly popular. In fact, a recent study by Pew showed that three out of five Americans use online reviews to guide their spending decisions for products and ...

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4 Questions for Pat Maher, President, The Maher Group and AH&LA’s ‘Green Guru’

As the lodging industry continues to refine its best practice in environmental stewardship, many hoteliers are still wondering what are the benefits of a green program. Who better to fill in the blanks and discuss the benefits and strategies than Pat Maher of The Maher Group, which evaluates an organization’s facilities, recommends eco-friendly products and procedures, conducts energy audits, reviews an organization’s carbon footprint, and develops opportunities for cost savings along with other benefits. Maher is also AH&LA’s Green Guru. Recently, Maher discussed the benefits and strategies of going green with Lodging Editor Len Vermillion. 1. Len Vermillion:  While “green” may not be in the news as much as say a year or two ago, it’s obviously still important for hoteliers to recognize the benefits. What are some of the benefits? Why should hotels today consider green initiatives in the operations?  Pat Maher: The benefits to going green are numerous. Hotels can reduce their environmental impact by saving energy, reducing pollution and helping to protect the environment. Energy savings measures such as installing water saving equipment and retrofitting lamps can help hotels to save money by saving energy. Reducing waste and recycling can help to lower disposal costs. Purchasing green ...

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