The Arizona Hotel & Lodging Association (AzHLA) has not made a big splash about it yet but it is in the process of rolling out a Certified Green Lodging Program throughout 'The Grand Canyon State.'
According to Kristen Jarnigan, vice president of communications for AzHLA, seven properties have been certified and one other certification is pending. The Westin La Paloma in Tucson and the Enchantment Resort in Sedona are two of the properties that have completed the certification process. Jarnigan says the program has been introduced to AzHLA members but a more aggressive public relations/marketing push will not occur until at least 10 properties have been certified.
The Certified Green Lodging Program is open to any lodging property in the state but AzHLA members receive a discount. There is an annual fee of $100 for association member properties up to 150 rooms, $200 for those association member properties that have between 150 and 500 rooms, and $500 for association member properties with more than 500 rooms. Properties that are not a member of AzHLA must pay an additional $500 per year to participate. All fees are annual fees. Like other states that have green lodging programs, Arizona’s is points based. If a business scores 100 points, it receives certification for two years. If the score is less than 100 points, the property receives provisional certification with the understanding that it will accumulate the additional points within an agreed-upon time frame.
Jarnigan says AzHLA contacted leaders of several state green lodging programs for assistance in putting together Arizona’s program. Those running Connecticut’s Green Lodging Certification Program were particularly helpful, she says. Even though they pulled together the best parts of other state programs to create their own, AzHLA’s Certified Green Lodging Program is also very unique.
‘Sense of Place’ Section
“We added our own element—a ‘Sense of Place’ section,” Jarnigan says. “We want our properties to be recognized for preserving Arizona culture and history.”
Within the Sense of Place section, participants are asked whether or not they feature Arizona-made furnishings or artwork in guestrooms or common areas, whether or not they offer locally made or grown items in the property gift shop, and whether or not they give back to the local community (e.g. toy drives, sponsor walks, etc.).
In the Certified Green Lodging Program application, participants are also asked to complete questions in the following areas: Administrative Offices; Housekeeping; Waste Management; Landscaping and Maintenance; Heating, Air-Conditioning and Ventilation; Guest and Staff Rooms; Swimming Pools and Spas; Water Conservation; Education; Kitchen and Food; Energy; Other Initiatives; and Conferences and Green Meetings.
Possible Internship Program
The Certified Green Lodging Program is a self-certifying program. Jarnigan explained, however, that AzHLA is working on a partnership with the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University that could result in an internship program whereby interns would assist with on-site random audits of self-certified properties.
Those properties that participate in Arizona’s Certified Green Lodging Program stand to benefit in numerous ways from a marketing standpoint. Certified properties will be highlighted in the next Official State Visitors Guide and will appear on three different websites: www.letsgoarizona.com, www.azhla.com and www.arizonaguide.com. Properties will also be free to use the Certified Green Hotel Program logo in their own print or online marketing efforts.
In addition to AzHLA, partners in the Certified Green Lodging Program include the Arizona Office of Tourism, Arizona Tourism Sustainability Council, and Arizona Tourism Alliance.
This article first appeared on the Green Lodging News website. To sign up to receive the weekly Green Lodging News newsletter, go to www.greenlodgingnews.com. Glenn Hasek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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