Tag Archives: Steve Farzam

How Hotels Are Embracing Sustainability

As concerns about climate change continue to increase, more and more corporations worldwide are attempting to lessen their carbon footprints by promoting sustainability and minimizing waste. This has given rise to the concept of the “green meeting,” or “green event,” defined by the Convention Industry Council (CIC) as an event that incorporates environmental concerns into every aspect, so as to make it more eco-friendly.

As such, it’s important for event planners and hosts alike to incorporate these practices into their own businesses, to make their services more appealing to prospective customers. At the Shore Hotel, we’re proud to embrace our responsibility to the environment, and we’ve already taken a number of steps to help reduce our carbon footprint and act more sustainably. Here are some examples of how the sustainability trend is re-shaping the hotel industry!

Water and Energy Conservation

A good first step toward creating less water waste is the linen reuse program (those tags on the bathroom door that remind guests to hang towels for reuse) that is now an industry standard. A growing number of hotels have also switched to more efficient lighting and heating systems and installed low-flow bathroom fixtures to further decrease water and energy waste.

Recycling Efforts

Guests have long been encouraged to recycle beverage containers, but the movement has been taken several steps further with the reduction of disposable items, such as paper and plastic cups, coffee filters, and the like. Some hotels have even entered into composting programs to help eliminate food waste. In 2012, one hotel cut its diversion rate—the percentage of material diverted from landfill—from 15 to 90 percent with the aid of such a program, making it a “zero waste” facility.

Room Keys

The standard PVC keys—which utilize a highly toxic manufacturing process—are today often made out of more eco-friendly materials like paper, bioplastic, and even wood.

Natural Cleaning Products

By choosing more eco-friendly products—particularly ones that also cut back on the amount of packaging used—hotel chains can make drastic cuts to the environmental hazards caused by the ones containing toxic ingredients. This also decreases the risk to employee health.

Spas and Dining

Hotel restaurants that offer fresh, organic produce and GMO-free meat and dairy products will appeal to a growing number of health-conscious diners. Similarly, the use of natural products in spa treatments will help to strengthen the facility’s aura of well-being.


This blog was originally published at stevefarzam.org.

The Guest Whisperer: How to Help an Angry Guest

In the hotel industry, a proactive approach is always the best course of action. It’s preferable to head off any potential issues in advance, as this will help to ensure a positive guest experience right off the bat. Unfortunately, even the best-laid plans will sometimes go awry, and seasoned professionals will find themselves in the unenviable position of dealing with an angry guest.

Considering the competitive nature of the industry, this is bound to happen, even to the best in the field. Luckily, those with the proper training can come out of the situation unscathed—sometimes even turning it to their advantage. Here’s how.

Put Those Listening Skills to Good Use

An irate customer may not be the best at communicating, but pay close attention to what she’s saying nonetheless. This will help to facilitate a clear and agreeable approach to the issue.

Don’t Belabor Points

Even if the problem was caused largely through the customer’s own fault, it will do no good to point this out to him. Instead, allow him to vent his frustration before taking the floor.

Develop a Thick Skin

The customer’s anger is usually not with the person they’re talking to but with the specific circumstance that initiated the negative response. Remember this even if voices are raised and tempers are running high.

Maintain a Calm Demeanor

It’s the customer service specialist’s job to keep a calm and professional demeanor. It won’t help matters if both parties become aggravated—this will only escalate tension.

Attempt to Fix the Problem

If there’s an immediate solution, then by all means, make it happen. If the situation is beyond the employee’s power to fix, then she should immediately alert the next-highest person on the ladder, and so on, until the situation is resolved.

Don’t Go Overboard

While placating the customer is a must, a sense of fairness has to be retained. For example, it makes no sense to offer a voucher for a free night’s stay simply because the room didn’t have a satisfactory supply of clean washcloths available. Make the compensation commensurate with the complaint.

Follow Up

Reach out to the guest a day or so later, just to ascertain that the situation was resolved. They’ll appreciate the gesture, and be more likely to speak well of the experience.