Behind the Scenes Jan. 15, 2011

GREEN AMENITIES

Rather than toss out used soap and shampoo after guests check out, some hotels are recycling the gently used amenities. The New Yorker Hotel recently partnered with Clean The World, a non-profit organization that collects, recycles and then distributes the used amenities to impoverished countries worldwide and domestic homeless shelters.

Swissotel Chicago has a different approach as part of its sustainable business practices. The hotel donates its unused amenity bottles to a local non-profit organization, Bin Donated, which picks up and then distributes the amenities to local people in need.

In addition to recycling, many amenity providers offer environmentally responsible products from the start. One example is Concept Amenities, which recently partnered with popular British brand FCUK (French Connection UK), to launch a new line, French Connection Bathroom. The array of high-end body products comes in sleek and modern packaging that is made with Eco Pure, an organic additive allowing plastic to fully biodegrade to water and carbon dioxide within years.

IN-ROOM INNOVATIONS

Wake-up systems in guestrooms have come a long way over the decades from wind-up Big Bens to increasingly complicated AM-FM clock radios to today's generation of electronic devices that do much more than ensure guests wake at the right time. And since Hampton Inns introduced its easy-to-use clock radio in 2004, much of the user frustration has been removed from the process.

The latest incarnation of hotel clock radios typically include iPod and iPhone docking stations that allow guests to play music from their devices in addition to recharging them. Hotel Technologies, a leader in marketing these amenity items, says it will introduce a new line of clock radios this year that accommodate the increasingly popular iPad. The machines will also work with iPods and iPhones. In addition, the company says the units will have an additional USB charging port that traveling geeks can use to charge other mobile devices.

THAT TIME OF YEAR

It's cold and flu season, and hotels have an obligation to do what they can to prevent the spread of illnesses in their properties. To help, Clorox offers a free Spread Prevention Kit that includes a cleaning protocols poster, flu prevention quick tips, customizable handouts and an absenteeism calculator that illustrates the cost saving in preventing illness.

The kit is available at www.cloroxprofessional.com/spreadprevention

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