Hotel chain launches green meeting program

Hyatt Key West Resort and Spa has launched Meet and Be Green, a new program that encourages guests and planners to make green choices for their meetings.

The program is one of the latest additions to Great Happens, Hyatt’s ongoing campaign to emphasize the power and importance of in-person meetings.

Hyatt Key West’s general manager, Fred Hoffman, said the Key West hotel hasn’t really suffered from the kinds of slowdowns seen in the meeting and special event businesses in other parts of the country because of the challenging economy.

Still, he said both the Hyatt-wide Great Happens and Meet and Be Green programs — the latter was launched just last month — are another way to set the hotel apart from the competition.

In order to Meet and Be Green at Hyatt Key West Resort and Spa, planners and meeting attendees will pledge to take these 10 steps to “go green” during their meeting:

  • Recycle during the meeting;
  • Use products with 100 percent recycled content
  • Print materials locally;
  • Minimize shipping;
  • Place materials such as handouts, notepads and pens in a central location so attendees can take only as needed;
  • Maintain room temperatures at an appropriate level;
  • Eliminate disposable water bottles;
  • Minimize use of other disposable products such as plates, cups, napkins, and utensils;
  • Select locally grown seasonal foods when planning the menu; and
  • Plan ahead for the meeting to make it easier and more economical to keep the meeting green.“Not every meeting planner has liked the concept,” Hoffman said, “but there’s a growing group of meeting planners that want to be green and want to participate in programs like these.”
  • In fact, he said it’s become fairly common for meeting planners to present a list of green “wants” for their clients. So far, he said, the majority of planners have embraced the move in Key West.

    While some of the initiatives are optional, other are in place for good — like bans on plastic water bottles and disposable plates, flatware and cups, other than for poolside drinks.

    Hoffman has two people on staff able to plan environmentally friendly events for the resort’s three meeting facilities — one of which boosts a beautiful waterfront view.

    Hoffman said the hotel’s two planners can help find the right products and suppliers and maximize efforts to reduce waste. The general manager said the hotel hosts 60 to 80 meetings annually, mostly for out-of-town groups, between February and July. It also sees hundreds of weddings and other special events.

    Meet and Be Green is one part of Hyatt’s larger pledge to conserve energy, minimize waste and create responsible, sustainable corporate practices to care for the earth and guests. The Hyatt Key West has one palm from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Green Lodging Program, and is applying for its second.