Hospitality Hive

Updates, opinions, and news for anyone working in Orlando's Hospitality community

Earth Day and the Orlando Hospitality Industry

Do you think there’s any connection?

But, of course!  Even though some would think that the tourism and hospitality industry here in Central Florida causes only constant traffic congestion, major air pollution, and basic overall mind fog [and yes, I do realize that mind fog is only damaging to oneself, and not the earth in general.  Or, is it??] due to the sheer number of water parks, rides, and other brain-and-money-sucking tourist attractions we pride ourselves with [oopsie; did the Hive just admit to those sins???], I’m here to tell you that at least one local organization is a big – make that HUGE – player in the global landscape when in comes to decreasing the carbon footprint of our many central Florida hospitality blessings [there, wasn’t that a better way to refer to all those reasons we welcome tourists here?].

It’s called Clean the World, and wow, does it ever do a great job in that monumental task.  Founded in 2009 after Shawn Seipler, who was a frequent traveler for his tech company job, spent a lot of his travel time pondering where the half or barely used soap bars and bottles from his hotel rooms were going.  His investigation discovered that it was all going to landfill.  “Ugh!”  Well, I’m sure his exact words were more intelligent than that, but I think you’re getting the picture here, right?  One man.  One planet to save.  One ingenious and enormous idea.  Plus a whole lotta unused soap and shampoo from all the area hotel rooms.

soap bars

His mission?  Not only to recycle, thus saving the environment from unnecessary waste, but to also repurpose all those half used products.  You can read further about the amazing story and journey of Clean the World by visiting the link provided.  But in short, here is the Mission Statement of this incredible local not for profit:

1]  Collect and recycle soap and hygiene products discarded everyday by the hospitality industry and other sectors that generate environmental waste.

2]  Through the distribution of these and other donated products to impoverished people [all over the planet], prevent millions of hygiene related deaths each year, reduce the morbidity rate for hygiene related illnesses, and encourage vigorous childhood development.

Or in simpler terms, clean the world, save lives.  Give hope with soap.  Both tag lines taken from their own vision.

But we all know nothing is as simple as it sounds!  It takes a lot of commitment from hotels and other establishments just to participate starting with the housekeepers who have to gather the partially used products and get them to the proper recycling receptacles within their facilities.  Then said facility has to get the product to downtown Orlando where Clean the World accepts the products, sorts, recycles, sterilize, and repurpose it all.  Then there’s the packaging and distribution to all those needy areas around the world that are currently accepting said products.  So you get the picture here, right?  The cycle plays out on so many levels, and to date there are over 65 hotels just in Central Florida alone that participate, but multiply that by chain brands known around the world and you’ve got a starter-kit of how large this project has grown since its’ 2009 inception.

Here is a great example of how Hyatt Hotels participates on a global basis:

So, are you excited enough to want to help?  They list lots of easy ways on their website including the one that I’ve participated in which is to get thyself down to their headquarters and pitch in!  What better way to get involved in Earth Day 2017, or heck just any day of the year.

So, to borrow the excellent tag line you find on the Earth Day Network official website:

Stay connected.  The earth needs your help.



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Meetings Mean Business

I realize that may not be shocking news to anyone, especially those that follow me here in the Hospitality Hive where I discuss and diss about all aspects of the hospitality industry – many times from my perspective as a professional meeting planner.  But to further prove the economic impact of why meetings and events matter, let’s chew on a few of these recently released facts [2015 data from the US Travel Association]:

  • meetings and events is one of the largest sectors of the entire U.S. business travel industry, accounting for over 12.9% of all travel spending in the U.S. economy
  • there are over 1 million U.S. jobs connected to the meetings and events industry
  • those jobs result in an annual payroll topping $31.9 billion
  • most recent figures show attendees at meetings & events spending a whopping $121.9 billion dollars [out of a total of $296.3 billion spent overall on business travel], all going into the U.S. economy

Wow. That’s a whole lotta numbers. And if you’re like me, meaning you generally lose track of zeros once they surpass whatever is in your current [tiny] paycheck, then you might already be wondering why I’m bothering to make your head spin with all those stats.  Well, April 6 has been designated Global Meetings Industry Day, and that designation is not just here in the Hive territory of Central Florida, it’s everywhere.  Worldwide.  The entire planet, thus the inclusion of the adjective ‘Global’.

Yep, the biz of meetings is booming just about everywhere.  So much so that in 2009 the U.S. Travel Association finally got really serious about it (perhaps because the economy was tanking back then?) and created a coalition called, the MMBC – Meetings Mean Business Coalition – to showcase the value and impact the meetings industry has on businesses, economies, and communities. Whatever the reason for the birth of that coalition, it was about time.

Of course here in Orlando none of this is really news to us.  Even though we are oftentimes referred to as the family vacation capital of the world, we are also one of the most popular convention destinations, ranked consistently by meeting and convention planners in the top ten most desired cities to host a business program of any size or format.

So, what are we doing here in Orlando to celebrate GMID?  So glad you asked!  I’m very proud to be a founding member and two term Past President of the local chapter of Meeting Planners International, the premiere global association for meeting planners and suppliers worldwide.  This year our chapter is sponsoring a top notch educational program called Harnessing the Power of Partnerships.  MPI has, for years, been the affirmative voice of the industry, and our local chapter offers multiple programs on a monthly basis that educate members and newcomers to the industry on the business of meeting management.

And while we’re on the local topic, here’s another statistic that might blow your mind: according to the 2014-2015 Annual Report from our Orange County Convention Center, delegates attending conventions and trade shows hosted at the OCCC spent more than $2.2 billion in our local community during that fiscal year. 

So I thought it fitting that on this one day of the year devoted to Global Meetings I’d mention all this as my way of continuing the dialogue started by the U.S. Travel Association.  You can call this little education your entry level class to Meetings & Events, 101.  And if you’re interested in some of the global events taking place here is a link to many of those:

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