Event roundup: Hotelier's Sustainability Summit

More than 100 hoteliers gather to debate and discuss green strategies

Panellists at the Hotelier Middle East Sustainability Summit.
Panellists at the Hotelier Middle East Sustainability Summit.

More than 100 delegates gathered for Hotelier Middle East’s inaugural Sustainability Summit on May 20 at The Ritz-Carlton Dubai.

Attended by general managers, F&B directors, housekeepers, and hotel engineers, the event comprised panel discussions, presentations, workshops, and case studies on sustainable practices in hotels.

A recurring theme during the various panel discussions throughout the day was the importance of communication and training staff to adopt green practices within their departments.

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Extending that knowledge to hotel guests was also important, and panellists suggested categorising priorities, coming up with a short term and long term plan and convincing guests that sustainability can be glamorous.

Presentations by Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel & Villas marine biologist Arabella Willing, and Ramada Hotel & Suites Ajman cluster general manager Itikhar Hamdani demonstrated how educating guests about the hotel’s sustainability programmes made them feel more involved and led to higher guest satisfaction.

While Park Hyatt is located on the edge of a conservation site and runs several programmes such as rescuing Hawksbill turtles and protecting dune zones, Ramada Ajman has an onsite farm and compost system, and encourages guests to tour the facilities.

One of the most hotly debated subjects at the event focused on sustainable practices in the F&B division, where a large part of the discussion revolved around seafood and the need to educate customers about sustainably-caught fish, as part of the UAE's 'Choose Wisely' campaign.

While the importance of incorporating sustainable strategies in various departments at hotels was important, panellists and speakers also spoke candidly about the financial benefits of green practices. Discussion also revolved around monitoring sustainability cost benefits, measuring the ROI, and how often hotels should incorporate new technologies and energy-efficient systems.

Hoteliers also called for a common platform to discuss best practices for sustainability in the industry, and establish benchmarks for hotels – an initiative that Emirates Green Building Council board member Amelie Zegmout Campsey said the group was working on establishing.

A complete roundup of the Hotelier Middle East Sustainability Summit will be available in the July issue of the magazine.

The event was sponsored by Intercoil, MLA, Solarco Equipments, Meiko, Pulsar Foodstuff, TCL, Acqua Panna, S. Pellegrino, Vegware, and Farnek.

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