This is a shout out to friends at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, particularly the team leading this year’s Hotel Ezra Cornell, and especially Carmel Bendit-Shtull (she invited me to moderate this panel and for several months helped us plan it all out). The panel included Diana Dobin, President & Chief Sustainability Officer, Valley Forge Fabrics, Inc.; Bennett Thomas, SVP – Corporate Finance & Sustainability, Hersha Hospitality Trust; Eric Ricaurte, Founder, Greenview; Uttam Muthappa, Founder, Ithica Hospitality Consulting; & me (Panel Moderator). I will share a video of this if and when it is made available.
Until then, a quick recap. What we set out to do was share our collective views on the hospitality industry’s unique opportunity to fill a void that seems to be forming in the wake of the recent presidential election in the USA. We noted how 2016 was a year of such transformative change on so many fronts important to our industry that it would have been difficult to single out one that is more important than all the others. We chose to focus on this one. Sustainability has come to mean many things across our industry, so we took this opportunity to say why this topic matters more now than ever, and why our industry has a unique opportunity to lead the way. We used a macro lens for part of the discussion, looking at globally coordinated efforts our industry is taking to address climate change; we linked that to efforts in the supply chain, and at the guest experience level, addressing wellness, conservation, community as they relate to hospitality operations.