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Does “Green” Marketing Mean Going Into the Red?

by Michael Duffy, Creative Director, The Starmack Group, July 2008

So green is the new black, right?  In almost every industry across the board, there is a huge rush to not only go green but to tell your customers that you are going green.  Whether it is from consumer pressure or internal desires to shift management styles, companies of all types are trying to ditch wasteful habits in favor of more eco-friendly solutions. 

Unfortunately, whether vendors are simply hiking prices to capitalize on this "in" business, or whether green marketing does in fact cost more (because of lack of mass production), many applications are cost prohibitive.  In order to be successful, both business- and earth-wise, we need to look at green options that are also greenback friendly....

The hospitality industry has long been one of the largest producers of printed materials – menus, mailers, brochures, in-room materials, signage, etc.  The amount of material needed and eventually wasted is overwhelming…Over the last few years, many in this industry have been looking for ways to cut this production down.

One positive bright spot is demand for printed materials actually on the decline – more meeting planners and other booking groups don’t want bulky materials – they want e-files, etc.  Additionally, the sheer cost of printing so many materials has been prohibitive for some companies so they have sought more eco-friendly solutions to avoid printing.  However, one main crisis remains:  Alternate materials can be much more expensive than original materials

Savvy property owners and managers are now looking at ways to try to go green in stages without re-creating everything on property and breaking the bank.  For example, instead of choosing to re-print all property materials on recycled materials, one option is to slowly cycle new materials in as inventory dwindles, realizing that not every single piece has to be printed on recycled paper to make a difference.

One area where the hospitality industry will continue to benefit is from the ongoing proliferation of electronic delivery services, whether by email, web, phone or text.  To reduce production and printing, many owners and managers are turning exclusively to paperless checkout, reservation confirmation and special offer delivery.

Finally, guest communication is another key where hotels and resorts can go green without outlaying huge marketing dollars.  Do you really need printed room service menus in the room?  Consider an interactive on-screen display with a room service menu that customers can access when needed (an added benefit here is the menu can be updated without re-printing).

In the future, look to the hospitality industry to blaze new ground when it comes to reducing printed material waste.  Not only is better for the environment, the bottom line benefits as well!

The Starmack Group ( is a leading marketing firm specializing in the hospitality industry and works with clients such as Noble House Hotels & Resorts and Ritz-Carlton to identify new ways to creatively communicate with guests.


The Starmack Group



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