In the hotel business, green building is important, particularly since many larger corporations and business travelers have embraced—and sometimes even prefer—sustainable accommodations. Concord Hospitality Enterprises has taken this fact to heart: the real estate developer and manager, which operates some of the most well-known hotel brands, including Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, Choice, Starwood, and IHG, turned toward sustainability in 2008 and hasn’t looked back. “We pride ourselves on developing some of the best-designed, most innovative buildings in the industry and then operating them in the top tier of best-in-class,” executive vice president Tim Osiecki says. “And in doing so, we have always been guided by our core values.” Below, Osiecki details his strategies in his own words.
Choose quality. We pay a lot of attention to details throughout design and construction and during everyday operations thereafter. On the design side, that involves smarter design, so our buildings have maintenance-free longevity and energy efficiency. On the construction side, it involves using higher-quality materials. The majority of our buildings are concrete and steel construction, which makes them perform longer and reduces noise, which is one of the biggest complaints of hotel guests. We also use premium materials where it makes sense, such as synthetic drywall to prevent mold on exterior walls and bathrooms. It costs more, but it makes sense. It’s “pay me now, or pay me more later.”
Stay innovative. We’re always looking for ways to build smarter buildings. For example, years ago, when everyone was putting wired high-speed Internet in hotels, we were putting in wired and wireless. We created wireless access throughout our buildings—in guest rooms, public areas, even outside. For the $10,000 it cost per building, it created so much value and guest loyalty we made it our standard. Now many of the hotel brands are starting to require wireless high-speed Internet as a brand standard. Since we adopted wireless as our standard five years ago, we have very few hotels that require retrofit upgrades.
Get the facts. In 2009, we developed our first LEED-certified Courtyard by Marriott and have since adopted [the USGBC program’s codes] as our culture. Every project in design or under construction today has been designed to LEED standards. There are three reasons to make this investment. First and foremost, it’s socially responsible. Second, our customers are asking for it, and while we can’t charge more for it, it provides a competitive sale advantage to sell. Third, there’s a return on the investment. The average 125-room Marriott Courtyard will require approximately $350,000 in additional costs to design to LEED standards, which will result in approximately $50,000 per year savings. That’s in today’s dollars, which we know will increase over time as energy prices continue to rise. The return on investment is compelling.
Create a culture. We have a culture that cares. If you’re a Concord associate, we help you when [you’re] in need. We have a Concord community foundation that helps associates get back on their feet when they fall on hard times, as was the case recently when an associate’s house burned down. We provided financial assistance to help them get back on their feet. By creating a culture of helping one another, we become a family. Concord associates feel and appreciate that, and our company is the best because of it.