Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Goes GreenNovember 1, 2010 By: Alissa Ponchione
When it comes to sustainability and going green, the Parsippany, N.J.-based Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has the environmentally friendly market cornered, especially now with the introduction of its new eco-friendly menu and organic cocktails, beers and wines in its 100 North American hotels.
The menu, designed with the help of MarkeTeam, the Mission Viejo, Calif.-based beverage promotions development firm, is made with all natural and recyclable materials. The cover, made from 100 percent cotton fiber, is printed with vegetable based inks and finished with water-based coating while the inside is made with recycled chipboard that is 100 percent post-consumer recycled materials. All materials are FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) Certified, Green-e Certified and carbon neutral. Additionally, each menu page not only features organic beverages but also contains an “Eco Tip” such as “Did you know it takes one 15 to 20 year old tree to make enough paper for only 700 grocery bags?”
For this to come to fruition, Wyndham partnered with GreenBar Collective, a California-based artisan spirit distillers, to feature cocktails made with TRU Vodka, Fruit Lab liqueurs and Crusoe rums, the company’s products. For each drink sold, GreenBar will plant a tree in the rain forests of Central American on behalf of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts.
While implementing these green initiatives into Wyndham’s brand philosophy, it’s no surprise, then, that Wyndham’s Vice President of Food and Beverage, Fernando Salazar, feels the sustainability efforts “reflect a broader shift in the hotel industry to cater to the needs of eco-conscious guests.”
For his part, Salazar hasn’t entered into this “going green” zone lightly, especially when it comes to quality and pricing. The organic cocktails, which range between $8 and $10, could have been a cause for concern in the tight economic climate, and yet guests seem interested in these products. After a six-month test run at one of the properties in New York City, Salazar found that guests ordered organic premium cocktails 2 to 1 over conventional cocktails, pricing the organic at $1 premium. Salazar says were willing to pay the extra amount, even being complimentary that Wyndham offering quality organic drinks. In fact, it’s the quality that counts. “[It] has to exist to be able to be part of the program,” he says.
Developed in collaboration with mixologist Kim Haasarud, owner of Liquid Architecture, the cocktails on the menu are classics with a fresh and organic twist, including the Margarita Fresh (Tierras Organic Tequila, Citry organic orange liqueur, agave nectar, organic lime juice), Strawberry Thyme Lemon Drop (TRU Organic Vodka, strawberry puree, Citry organic orange liqueur, organic lemon juice, sugar), Hibiscus Mojito (Crusoe organic rum, “Crism” Organic Hibiscus Liqueur, organic agave nectar, lime, mint and soda) and more.
Also on the menu are local beers, organic wines and products that remain shelf stable. What’s more, each property has the ability to personalize the program, choosing craft and organic beers from local breweries, creating supplementary hotel promotions and developing food items that also embrace the sustainability of the drinks menu.
Staff must be trained in the ins and outs of the new drink menu, says Salazer, as they’re the unofficial spokespersons and best salespeople for Wyndham’s green initiative. Such investment in a long-term eco-friendly initiative reaps rewards that go beyond the bar, he notes. The hotel company’s staff and management are constantly brainstorming green concepts and company-wide programs, including green uniforms, energy efficient lighting, a linen reuse program, and recycling and water conservation practices.
It seems that Wyndham Hotels & Resorts is creating a friendly green environment without having to give up the quality of its ingredients or compromising its already well-established beverage program. The appeal to the eco-conscious guests looking for a place that caters to their evolving environmental consciousness but doesn’t skimp on the quality and prices they’re used to is undeniable.