HOT Confab Tinting Greener

Climate change will be one of the key talking points during the 8th annual Strategic Conference on Hospitality Operations & Technology next month. The get-together, also incorporating the Green Hospitality Conference, will be held at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas March 12-14.

Because HOT has grown over the past seven years, the general sessions, featuring top executives in lodging, will be held in a newly refurbished area of the Anatole, the elegant hotel where HOT has been staged for most of its life.

Built by legendary developer Trammell Crow 30 years ago, the Anatole is a Dallas landmark. During the past year, it has undergone a $40-million renovation, including the transformation of its storied Stemmons Auditorium and a complete upgrade of the Chantilly Ballroom and its 700 Tower guestrooms. In 2006, the Anatole added the Gossip Bar, a concierge lounge with sweeping views of downtown Dallas. The extensive renovation project is expected to be completed in May.

But the unique setting isn't the critical story in this intelligently hybrid HOT: The mix is what it's all about. The idea behind that singular blend is to give the thought leaders who routinely populate HOT an opportunity to shuttle between breakout sessions — 12 for HOT, 16 for Green.

Among the session topics scheduled for HOT: Keeping Guests Safe, Planning Your Bandwidth Future, Merging TV and Computer, Business Intelligence, and The Good, Bad and the Ugly.

Among the session topics scheduled for the green part of the conference: Energy Management, Green Design, Water Conservation, Alternative Power Solutions, and To Carbon Offset or Not.

Two years ago, HOT debuted 12 roundtables, designed to complement the sessions and provide an opportunity for one-to-one encounters. This March, they will cover topics including Internet technology, CRS, safes and locks, labor management, and database and campaign marketing. The roundtables present unique opportunities for vendors and operators to share insights about technology that affects operations.

This year's keynote speaker has a decidedly green slant. He is Daniel Esty, director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and author or editor of nine books. His latest book is Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage. Esty will focus on how leading-edge companies fold environmental thinking into their core business strategies.

His comments might well be controversial; climate change is still a matter of dispute in some circles. In late January, Esty told the New York Times that the United States “is slipping down” in terms of environmental performance. The U.S. is near the bottom of the Group of 8 industrialized nations — Switzerland, Sweden, Norway and Finland are, respectively, at the top — and 39th among the 140 countries on the list, which was made public at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Esty, who was lead author of the environmental report, said the U.S. is slipping because of low scores on three different analyses of greenhouse gas emissions and a “pervasive problem with smog,” according to the Times.

James Connaughton told the paper that the Bush administration was addressing the problem with ozone by way of new rules to curb ozone-causing chemical emissions from power plants and the burning of diesel fuels. Connaughton is chairman of the White House's Council on Environmental Quality.

An associate of Esty's calculated that a country's wealth, reflected in gross domestic product per capita, tended to correlate with a strong performance on indicators such as sanitation, indoor air quality and combating disease. At the same time, Christine Kim told the Times there was a correlation between such wealth and a poor performance relating to greenhouse gas emissions and agricultural policies.

The sponsors of the conference are Amadeus, Amana, Comverge, Energy Eye, Evolut-ion by Orbeco, Extenway, IDeaS, INNCOM International, Kohler, Koni, LG Electronics, Lodgenet, Lutron, Pegasus Solutions, Philips, PROS, The ReFinishing Touch, Shubin & Donaldson Architects, SoftBrands, SynXis and Telkonet.

GETTING INTO GHC/HOT

Registration for the 8th annual Lodging Hospitality Strategic Conference on Hospitality Operations & Technology, presented in conjunction with the Pineapple Hospitality/LH-sponsored Green Hospitality Conference, costs $495. The event will be held at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas March 12-14, with concurrent sessions for both conferences. To register, go to www.lhonline.com and click on www.lhconference.com. For more information, call Nick Diligente at 216-931-9659 or e-mail nick.diligente@penton.com.

GREENING THE WEEK

Pineapple Hospitality, co-sponsor of the upcoming Green Hospitality Conference in Dallas, is declaring March 9-15 Green Lodging Education Week. It's an opportunity to “lead and educate the hospitality industry on the most important issue we will face in our lifetime,” says Ray Burger, Pineapple Hospitality president.

Besides the Green Hospitality Conference, co-sponsored by Lodging Hospitality magazine, the second week of March also features the Hotel Investment Conference, presented by Hunter Realty at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis Hotel March 9-11, and the Hotel Developers Conference at the Green Valley Ranch, Resort & Spa in Las Vegas March 11-13.

That's a lot of green to absorb in one week, but Burger maintains it's absolutely necessary. This confluence of conferences aims to provide hotel owners, managers and franchisors with information about green programs, products and solutions, green development and the concept of environmental sustainability.

“Anyone in this industry who embraces green will find that it is rewarding on social, environmental and economic levels,” says Burger. “We hope Green Week will continue to grow, and that this is only the first annual commemoration of this important week-long observance.”

Dan Esty, author of Green to Gold and a featured speaker at both the Green Hospitality and Hotel Developers Conferences, believes that the timing is perfect for joining environmental education initiatives and hospitality. “The case for going green has never been so compelling,” he says.

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