Sustainability is on everyone’s minds and meeting professionals and their partners are working together to find innovative ways to improve and reduce their environmental impact and most importantly have successful events. Sustainability may not be the deciding factor for planners, but it is a piece of the puzzle and a definite plus when comparing locations and creating new practices. Oftentimes it begins with simply reevaluating and questioning if and how things could be done differently and more environmentally friendly.
Becker shares, “We’re eliminating handouts and making electronic charging stations available, switching to water stations instead of bottled water and appreciate something as simple as the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells having easily accessible and visible recycling stations that people don’t have to seek out.”
Kevin Shanley, Corporate Director of Sales, Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, works hands on with meeting planners and the conversation always includes sustainability. As a leader in the green movement, the resort is involved in a variety of practices that makes sense for planners, the environment and business. A few examples include: their guestrooms feature low-flow showerheads, reducing water consumption by 2.5 million gallons per year. An ozone laundry system allows for colder water wash and the Wisconsin Dells resort features more than 4,160 sq. ft. of rooftop solar panels to assist with hot water needs. These rooftop solar panels contribute to more than 30% of the resort’s hot water.
“Some things we’re doing aren’t necessarily new, but we’re helping people understand the impact of why even small things are meaningful. Some actions that may not seem like a big deal are when you look at the overall impact. People start to understand why they’re not just trends, but good business decisions in the short and long-term,” shares Shanley.
Sustainability in Location
Angela Reed, Director of Sales, Marketing & PR for Water Park of America, also sees the influence and impact of marketing sustainability, “Meeting planners have specific needs when selecting a waterpark hotel. Planners are looking for a waterpark hotel for events, but more specifically, a waterpark with access to nightlife, shopping and additional local attractions. Location is one of the main reasons the Water Park of America is selected against others; including accessibility to major airports.”
Location is often overlooked as a sustainable factor, however when you take into account the reduction of bussing and taxis, it contributes to the overall impact.
Reed also finds that attraction facilities are taking the same approach as many hotels and incorporating Green Programs to market to planners with environmental initiatives. Their property has incorporated recycling programs, UV systems for chemical controls and marketing to the general public on ways to curb towel usage during visits to the park.
Chaos Water Park, part of Metropolis Resort & Conference Center, updated their waterpark to include a new UV filtration system. In addition to eliminating bacteria that passes through the filters, this system reduces chlorine usage, the amount of by-products in the water and greatly reduces the amount of chloramines in the air.
Planners and venues continue to work on making changes through sharing their ideas and benchmarks, helping the momentum grow and creating long term savings and increased sustainability industry wide.