October 2013: African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel & Spa is piloting a green conferencing project that if successful will be rolled out to other African Pride Hotels in the group’s superior deluxe portfolio.
The hotel, located in the luxury lifestyle precinct of Century City in Cape Town, is the Mother City’s second largest conferencing venue after the CTICC.
Hotel GM Gary Koetser says the process of introducing greener conferences is relatively simple and something all hotels should be investigating, because there is often a fair amount of waste in conferencing.
“Just take flip charts for example; a conference can easily get through 20 metres of paper during their discussions and presentations. Our paper has always been recycled, but far better is to create no waste whatsoever.
“We’ve therefore replaced flipcharts and whiteboards with glass boards in all of our conference venues, and we’re using refillable markers instead of ones that have to be thrown away.”
Koetser says even if conference venues don’t want to spring for greener consumables, it’s easy to conserve energy with small things like opening window coverings and utilising natural light rather than electric lights.
African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel & Spa is going a step further, though, with retrofitting low-energy LED lights in all conference venues to reduce electricity usage.
Other initiatives that are part of the greener conferencing offering are using recycled paper for conferencing pads, ensuring that all venues have dual flush toilets and changing cloakroom taps to automated ones that do not waste water.
The venues also serve filtered water in refillable glass bottles rather than plastic water bottles, and serve only Fairtrade coffee to delegates.
The hotel is going so far as amending banqueting menus to reflect a greater use of seasonal produce with an emphasis on local suppliers and applying to SASSI for registration, although the hotel is already complying with the organisation’s sustainable fish guidelines.
Protea Hospitality Group Director of Sales, Marketing and Revenue, Danny Bryer, says making earth-friendly business choices is not a trend, but a revenue model that makes sense in the long term.
“We need to conserve resources where we can, because they are becoming scarcer and more expensive every day. In addition, companies also need to address the market demands for service providers and companies to demonstrate and instil green thinking and processes within their businesses and product offerings.
African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel & Spa will also be offering clients the option of adding a donation per delegate to their conference package, to be donated to the Endangered Wildlife Trust.