Monday, March 22, 2010

Hotel's Green Sermon

For those of you that don't know, Qualmark NZ contract trained assessors to evaluate tourism businesses including accommodation properties every year using an exhaustive list of criteria. The star gradings allocated to accommodation businesses are generally a credible comparison between other accommodation options that choose to be assessed by Qualmark. 

At the height of the Nanny-State era under the previous government, Qualmark inserted a fashionable and politically correct environmental criteria into their quality assessment. This means that accommodation businesses are now assessed on their allegiance to environmental and social mantra as part of their assessment process. 

Surprisingly, this contributes towards the accommodation property's final quality star grading. 

Extra special properties that demonstrate their environmental and social concerns can be awarded a separate Qualmark Green enviro-rating. 

Whilst we take issue with Qualmark and its Dark Green Agenda, the accommodation industry needs to take responsibility and be aware of the consequences of elevating environmental and social concerns to the detriment of guest comfort and choice. We are aware that there are some accommodation providers losing perspective by taking an over-enthusiastic, evangelist approach to environmental and social issues. 

So what do guests' really think about staying in an accommodation property that has become a disciple of  Qualmark NZ's "Dark Green Agenda?

If asked for an instant response, most guests would smile and mock faint approval, however the blogging platform allows others to spend more time to articulate what they really think. 

Friend of the Motella Blog, Ele, from Homepaddock has kindly allowed us to reproduce her blog post  that shares her experience in staying at a hotel that seems to have taken green evangelism too far?
Making The Savings Without The Sermon 

The preaching of the earth worshipers is getting increasingly strident.

It’s rare to stay anywhere which doesn’t exhort you to save power and water and suggest you could re-use your towels to save your host money the world.

The James Cook in Wellington has gone a step further.

It doesn’t have phone books in its rooms. Most guests probably don’t need one and if you don’t have a computer to search for the number yourself reception will bring you a phone book or look up numbers for you.

But there’s more : a letter on the bed when you check in explains:
* Choosing not to have your room services saves approximately 20 litres of water just in cleaning your bathroom.
* Our laundry can save approximately 15 litres of water by simply not having your towels and linen changed.
* reduction in the use of chemicals such as toilet cleaner, multipurpose cleaner and air freshener used to clean your bathroom.
* Saves power used to operate vacuum cleaners, lights and heating while servicing your room.

Beside the letter is a card (green of course) which you can hang on your door by midnight if you don’t want your rooms serviced.

What do you do if sometime after midnight something happens which makes you change your mind? Go with head bowed in shame and beg for your room to be cleaned or put up with the mess?
Why can’t the cleaning staff just use their eyes and noses to decide if they need to sacrifice any water, cleaning materials, air freshener or power?

And if hotels, motels and other businesses want to save the world why can’t they do it without preaching at me?

I have no objection at all to businesses doing their best to minimise their impact on the earth  – it makes environmental and economic sense to save resources but I don’t like being preached at and  wish they’d make the savings without the sermon.

I’m not paying for a sermon and when I get one I suspect that it’s not so much about being green, it’s more about being seen to be green as a marketing ploy.

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