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7th Year Nr. 73 - Tuesday, July 23rd 2019.

NEWS’N TRUTHS

Stephanie Moss

 

By Viviane Vogels

 

  …from across the colorful world of Meetings & Motivational Events.

 

IS GREEN TRAVEL DEAD?

People think being green means making sacrifices or paying more, that's not necessarily true.

greenApparently, a lot of travelers feel the same way. A vast majority of them - 85 percent - consider themselves to be "environmentally conscious," according to a recent survey. Yet most of them now say they're unwilling to pay a premium for being green. They expect them to be good stewards of the environment in which they operate, according to the study.

No one is saying that being environmentally responsible is irrelevant when you travel. On the contrary, it's that being green is so important that it shouldn't become another marketing gimmick. It should be a part of what you do every day - part of every travel company's DNA.

That's why green travel as we know it, with the hotel touting its use of recycled water, the airline bragging about its use of alternative fuels or theme park buzzing about its new light bulbs, is well on its way to becoming history.

So where does that leave you? Here are a few thoughts about traveling in a post-green world.

Don't allow a travel company to cash in on your conscience. Being green shouldn't be a reference to the color of your money. But it often is. Several airlines, including Air Canada, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin America, now offer programs that allow you to offset your share of carbon dioxide emissions from a flight - for a small fee. Sounds awfully tempting. But it's absurd. Think about it: Would you be willing to voluntarily pay an extra $30 to your pharmaceutical company to clean up one of its toxic dumps? If anything, you would think twice before buying another one of that company's products. Which is exactly what travelers ought to do when faced with an offset option: run to the competition. Travel companies should be offsetting their own carbon, not ‘guilting’ you into paying yet another surcharge for it.

Ask why they're "green" in the first place. Sometimes the answer isn't so obvious. A fuel-saving initiative might benefit the environment, but it can also help a company's bottom line. A cruise line like Royal Caribbean, which has a fairly greenaggressive environmental program called "Save the Waves" probably wouldn't have taken such actions if it weren't for a five-year investigation that led to the company pleading guilty in federal court to dumping thousands of gallons of oily bilge, dry-cleaning fluids and photo-developing chemicals into the ocean.

Pay attention to what they don't say. It's unbelievable that hotels continue to advertise the fact that they're "green." At a time like this, shouldn't they all be embracing basic concepts like sustainability and good environmental stewardship?

Look at a company's entire environmental record. When a travel company claims to be environmentally responsible, it's important to look at its whole record - not just its recent record of greenness. The best companies are consistently, and quietly, green.

Personally, I'll be happy to travel in a green lightened world. Hotels won't be able to monetize my environmental sensibilities. Airlines will strive for a long-term positive environmental record instead of scoring a few fleeting points with tree huggers. Same goes for cruise lines and car rental companies.

Kermit had it all wrong. Maybe it is easy, being green.

REVISITING THE BUSINESS CENTER

The hotel business center is that menial after thought of hotel space. Why is it so often neglected? More often than not, it is typically a row of computers against a wall, or a couple of “quaint” workstations - awaiting upgrade. It begs for a complete rethinking as we dread visiting it in its current sad state.

Why has this necessary amenity fallen off the trajectory and evolutionary path of the rest of technology? Why are we business travelers still trudging downstairs to fumble with foreign, outdated printers and fax machines in covert, under-serviced, uninviting spaces specifically designed for a single purpose?

The modern business traveler has little time and less patience for learning new systems in dark, windowless rooms that look like reclaimed storage closets. From the occasional traveler to the ubiquitous road warrior, wired or wireless, we are mobile and tech savvy! Blackberry in cabs, trains and buses, laptops in the airport lounges and coffee shops - its all about staying connected on the fly. We rely on it! In fact, many business travelers find themselves more productive on the road than at work or home because, at the end of the workday on the road, they return to their hotel room and continue working.

Business CenterAll of this productivity, all the liberating feeling of working as we wish, uninterrupted by doorbells, attention seeking children, bill paying and dog-walking typically comes to a crashing halt whenever  we need to print, fax, make copies or do whatever other mundane task still occasionally, inevitably, comes up when working out of your hotel room. These tasks would take a few moments in our employer’s office (or even our desk at home), but on the road - down the elevator we go, laptop in one hand, coffee in the other, to work out of what feels like a high school computer classroom with questionably nicer finishes.

Modern hotel design commits to providing guests all the comforts of home, doing what they want to do, when and where they want to do it. Spaces are designed to be open and flexible – warm and inviting to the variety of uses that make hotel environments dynamic. Smart hoteliers and designers will provide this same comfort to their esteemed business traveling guests.

Good hotel design offers service and convenience to the guests. Are you interested in dining in the restaurant lounge? Meeting colleagues or clients in the lobby? Grabbing a drink with friends by the pool? Provide the same level of service and convenient offerings to the business traveler – who needs to reprint tomorrow’s recently changed client presentation. It will improve the business guest’s experience and will boost hotel revenues by repeat stays. Make it a “Business Lounge” not a “Business Center.”

Will it all still fit in the same former closet? Probably not – so bring it into the open. Let loose the gates of guest-tech savvy and allow those exhausted business travelers a little space to breathe, see daylight, patronize the F&B, trade business cards and enjoy your hotel while the copier collates and staples. Conveniently located printers and other business electronics throughout the public areas, coupled with staff trained on the most basic office skills and technology use, will help to ensure that your guests can have their most tedious business travel tasks pleasantly attended to. Clearly it will not take all that much to make your business traveling guests, happy guests…we live in hope!

AUSTRIAN GOES MICE

Austrian LogoAustrian Airlines has once again underlined its support and interest in the MICE business with the organization recently of a workshop at the Brussels Casino.
Vienna is of course the number 1 destination for congress and meetings organizers so it is no surprise that Austrian is a privileged partner for all organizers who choose Vienna or other parts of Austria as their destination. Austrian offers up to 5 daily flights from BRU to VIE and of course flights from (almost) all European capitals and metropole cities helping you to bring your customers’ participants together in Vienna from all over Europe.

Next to Austrian, organizer Annelies Bakker had also ensured the presence of partners such as

  1. The Vienna Convention Bureau
  2. Austria Trend Hotels
  3. Grand Hotel Vienna & The Ring
  4. Mamaison Hotels

Austrian is also famous for its very dense network in Central and Eastern Europe and one thing is almost sure: if you have a destination you cannot pronounce – Austrian flies there. And these destinations also offer many interesting unusual features to discover. Hence also the partnership with mamaison Hotels, who have properties in major capitals such as Prague, Warsaw, Budapest, Bratislava and Moscow.  The Prague Property  recentlyl made the 15th annual Gold List 2009 of Condé Nast Traveler, as one of 710 of the World’s Best Places to Stay, scoring 87.1 out of 100 points on the overall list.

Austria Austria
Austria Austria
Austria Austria

Austrian is also back into the Middle-East with many new destinations and a luxury Business-Class Service on board of the Premiumjets.
The evening was a great success as far as attendance and business was concerned, the buffet was tasteful and the opportunity to learn about roulette and blackjack was fun!
Sales Manager Rimmert Gryseels was once again a great host even if I did loose all my money on the blackjack table!

www.austrian.com

GOOD AND INNOVATIVE IDEAS DON’T ALWAYS HAVE TO BE EXPENSIVE

…. Just original!
Catering to meeting attendees and business travelers who don’t get enough time on the beach, The Westin Resort, Aruba is now offering ‘Sand on Demand’.  Available upon request, personal sand boxes will be delivered to the resort’s heartmeeting rooms, or guest rooms, providing a touch point for attendees to feel the white sand from the Aruba beaches, while attending required meetings or working in their rooms.

As one in five business trips are taken for the primary purpose of attending a convention, conference or seminar, many road warriors only see the beautiful scenery of the destination from a window as a result of back-to-back meetings and functions.  By offering personal under-the-conference-table sand boxes, The Westin Resort, Aruba is encouraging travelers to experience a sense of the island by wiggling their bare toes in authentic Caribbean sand. 

10 PLACES TO SEE BEFORE ….. THEY DISAPPEAR

The American Website Concierge.com recently published a list of 10 places of interest that are under threat from the global warming effect, mass tourism or over development. These are 10 destinations that not only have to be seen but need to be treated with the utmost respect for future generations to be able to enjoy them as well.

    1. The glaciers in the Alps, in particular the Bosson Glacier near Chamonix. Scientist at the University of Innsbruck have calculated this glacier will have disappeared by 2030 if the current rate of melting continues.

    2. Kruger National Park in South Africa. The park in itself is not under threat but the animals most definitely are. For example, 30 years ago Africa still had over 200.000 lions, today this figure has gone down to 50.000.

    Kruger Park Everglades sunset
    Kruger Park, South Africa Everglades, USA

    3. Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve in Costa Rica. Deforestation and climate changes are tragically changing this jungle in the north of Costa Rica, home to over 30 different breeds of huming birds and 420 different orchids.

    4. Tanjung Puting Biosphere Reserve in Borneo. The tropical rainforest , home to 50.000 urang utangs, the endangered Asian elephant and the Sumatran rhino is being cut down at a high tempo.

    5. The Everglades in Florida. This fragile eco-system is completely dependable from water and that is a commodity we do not treat with the necessary respect and precaution. Because of irrigation and agriculture more than half of the Everglades have already disappeared.

    6. The Taj Mahal in India. The best known mausoleum in the world is one of the modern wonders of the world but is under severe threat of pollution which has turned the startling white of the façade into dirty yellow.

    Taj Mahal Barrier reef
    Taj Mahal, India Great Barrier Reef, Australia

    7. The north coast of Manitoba in Canada. One of the last places on earth where one can still observe ice bears in the wild. If nothing drastic happens these beautiful animals have less and less space to live and hunt and will be extinct by 2050.

    8. The Great Barrier Reef in Australia. This enormous coral reef which is even visible from space is so under threat from global warming that it will have totally disappeared in 20 years.

    9. The Atchafalaya Basin in Louisiana. The salt marshes of Louisiana and Mississippi are not only a beautiful nature reserve but they are also a natural safety barrier for the coastal towns such New Orleans against hurricanes and flooding.

    10. The eternal snowcap on the Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. You do not need to be an experienced mountain climber to climb this 6000 meter high mountain and that together with the breathtaking views of the Serengeti plains makes it such a popular tourist attraction.  But one has to climb higher and higher now to reach snow, probably also a result of global warming.

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