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Telling Your Hotel’s “Green” Story: Developing an Effective Communication Strategy to Convey Environmental Values

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Abstract

Many lodging companies are spending substantial time and money on environmental initiatives. Often these firms do not get the support, recognition, and respect they deserve for their efforts. Based on a study of the “green” communications of 90 hospitality organizations, this tool provides practical guidelines to help hospitality firms develop effective communication strategies to explain environmental initiatives to employees, customers, clients, owners, franchisees, investors, and other important audiences. A sound communication strategy should tell a compelling story about the company’s environmental values, goals, programs and practices. This tool compares and contrasts three green story lines: the environmental story, the financial story, and the service story. It then explains seven focus patterns through which each story can be told. Each of these patterns has a different dynamic between communicator and audience: teacher-student, coach-player, friend-friend, salesperson-customer, cheerleader-fan, host-guest, and statesman-citizen. The tool also discusses four principles to help managers choose the best media, channels, and timing for their communication strategies: combine multiple media, minimize audience effort, encourage audience participation, and retell the story. By applying these guidelines, managers can convince internal and external audiences to actively support, implement, and honor the company’s environmental initiatives.

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2012-04-01

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Cornell; tools; environmental initiatives; green; sustainability

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Required Publisher Statement: © Cornell University. This report may not be reproduced or distributed without the express permission of the publisher.

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