The Sustainable Slopes Charter was created by the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) in response to concerns regarding the environmental impact to wilderness areas as the result of ski areas which bring in people and pollution, use fragile water supplies, destroy flora and fauna and impose restrictions on the natural habitat of wildlife. The intent of the voluntary program is “to influence how development happens” according to John Vitchell of Vail Resorts (George, 2003) and help ski resorts institute best practices, assess environmental performance and set goals for improvement (George, 2003).
Not only guests of these resorts but the managers and directors of the operations are becoming increasingly aware of the impact of man-made attractions on the environment and our increasing dearth of natural resources.From the viewpoint of directors and managers of ski resorts, the Sustainable Slopes Charter can both help and hinder an operation. In the long run, the resorts will realize a cost savings brought about by recycling efforts and reducing energy costs through making the operation self-sustainable.
As George (2003) noted in her report, the Greek Peak Mountain Resort in New York has even reported greater snow-making efficiency as a direct result of its voluntary compliance with the NSAA’s Charter. In addition, many guests are willing to do a bit of extra searching for the opportunity to ski at an eco-friendly resort displaying a Sustainable Slopes’ endorsement logo.The negative aspect of this initiative involves the cost and the communication of these budget-busting measures to owners. Most resorts will have to incur major capital expenditures to become compliant with the Sustainable Slopes Charter’s recommendations. Resort owners who have experienced losses in recent years due to weather restrictions will not be eager to embrace environmentally friendly renovations which will use a good portion of their working capital.Amenity Spas and Destination SpasThe current trend in spas is the increase of such facilities in the hospitality industry, particularly those that are well-equipped and offer a multitude of various services. Where once hotel guests were accustomed to having a simple fitness center at their disposal, they have now come to expect that any hotel or resort other than those classified as budget properties will offer a modern spa facility employing the latest in technology for stress reduction, relaxation, fitness conditioning and health initiatives.
Hoteliers and management companies are taking advantage of guests’ propensity toward pampering themselves when away from home by providing spa facilities that bring in an additional source of revenue for the operation.The amenity spa and the destination spa are two examples of new and emerging trends in the spa resort industry. The amenity, or resort, spa is an adjunct to a lodging facility which does not rely on this revenue nor its drawing potential to lure guests; in other words the spa is simply another amenity such as a swimming pool or gift shop.
A destination spa is just that – the spa itself is the destination and the main revenue generator for the facility.The Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa is an excellent example of an amenity spa. The hotel was long considered “the Jewel of the Desert” after its inception in the 1920’s and quickly became a destination for famous celebrities and high-end politicians. In 1998, the Biltmore added a full-service spa as a natural addition to its other first-class amenities.Mii Amo Destination Spa at Enchantment in Sedona, Arizona, is a prime example of a destination spa.
From its humble beginnings as a place of beauty that attracted nature enthusiasts, Sedona has quickly become an elite community offering a plethora of four-star and four-diamond resorts. To enhance the natural amenities of its location, many spas were introduced in the past decade. Mii Amo, which opened in 2002, was built as a resort based around an extensive, new-age spa. Although guests book rooms at the resort to enjoy the spa facilities, Mii Amo now also offers meeting facilities and services as an extra convenience. Spa AmenitiesAmenities such as robes, slippers, t-shirts and the like are being given out by spas as a reminder to the guest of their experience over and over again as they use a towel or a bathrobe emblazoned with the company logo. Alternately, corporations who hold events or simply want to show appreciation for patronage are increasingly using spa packages or gift baskets of spa-related items as an incentive. Providing items with the spa’s logo increases their marketing capacity with little effort.
Offering spa amenities for sale is not just a way to engender vivid reminders of the guest’s experience but another phenomenal source of incremental revenue for a property. Because the guests who frequent resorts with spa facilities typically enjoy a higher disposable income, the offering of additional amenities only makes sense. As Johanson relates, revenue per occupied room increased an average of 83% at properties offering spa services, presumably at least part of that from the guests’ purchases of logo-ed items. However, each facility needs to determine what goods will work best at their own location. Johanson (2004) cites the use of importance/performance analysis (IPA) as being an integral part of the future of determining which of the amenities are most important to guests as well as which are most effective at generating a return stay. “Do No Harm”All Seasons Eco Resort Phillip Island was created using the motto “do no harm”. The motto refers to the resort’s attention to not only sustaining the environment it was being built in, but to the concept of using environmentally friendly practices throughout the facility.
The resort used renewable or recycled materials, passive energy efficiency design and uses treated water for irrigation (Hospitality, “Pioneering Eco Resort). In addition, the company reforested the grounds and established wetlands and water retention basins to conserve water by using it in irrigating the extensive variety of plants throughout the grounds (Hospitality, “Pioneering Eco Resort). Thus, although the resort infringes on the environment, it also brought back vegetation to make its environment as close as possible to its natural state, leaving few footprints behind.
Another resort which is using these same type of environmentally friendly measures is the Breakers Resort in Palm Beach, Florida. Guest room towels are made of 70% bamboo, paper products incorporate at least 40% recycled material and recycling bins are available throughout. The housekeeping department uses peroxide-based bleach instead of chlorine and employees are rewarded for carpooling to and from work. Native plants are used for landscaping the grounds and a “1,100 foot-well and Reverse Osmosis Plant converts undrinkable water to irrigation water for The Ocean Golf Course” (Greenberg, 2007) thus saving the precious resource of water.
Such measures are becoming more and more essential to the future of lodging properties. Consumers are increasingly aware of the need to preserve their environment and many are beginning to demand their hotel accommodate this need.