2011 Innovators: Motel 6, Accor North America

For hotels, sustainability begins at home. That means in order for a hotel to successfully reduce its energy usage, its employees must have the mindset to lead the way. Recognizing this, Motel 6 introduced its “Phoenix My Break Room” energy-saving program.

The program is a contest held among Motel 6 and Studio 6 properties to help instill that energy-efficient mindset among its staff members. One location in each of the brand’s 10 operational regions earned the prize of a renovated break room modeled after the Motel 6 “Phoenix” room design. Winners were based on the percentage reduction of energy consumption from the previous year, taking into account weather and occupancy variances. The energy savings of the properties resulted in more than $233,000 for the company over the six-month contest.

“We wanted to recognize properties for substantial energy savings by going into their break room and giving them a new ‘Phoenix’ break room with the same wood flooring and countertops, as well as new furniture and flat-screen TV, everything that’s in the room design,” says Renee Swoger, director of energy and environmental services for Accor North America.  “Rather than a one-time reward they can go in the room and be reminded of their success.”

The goal of this employee-incentive program was to motivate good habits in properties. “It really targets all of the employees, such as the housekeepers and the maintenance staff. These are the people that are in our rooms every day and have a direct impact on a property’s electrical performance,” Swoger says.


The contest is part of a three-year plan that sets forth reduction goals for each year as a brand. “We value sustainable development,” Swoger says. “We are always striving to reduce our environmental footprint and at the same time reduce our operating costs.”

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