It's a no-brainer solution to eliminate paper waste.

Most hotel companies these days have people who spearhead their sustainability efforts. At Marriott International, one of those people is Andrew Moffett whose all-encompassing title (Global Discipline Leader, Event Management) doesn't reflect all the "green" pies he has his hands in: helping to develop Marriott's green-meetings philosophy; developing programs with partners and vendors to provide greener solutions; coming up with ways technology can further the sustainability efforts, both internal and external, and more. Here's a chat with the 19-year Marriott veteran.


"Which Marriott initiative are you most proud of?"

Our technology efforts. Technology has shifted how we as business owners and meeting attendees work with the hotel. About a year ago, we launched the Meetings Services App, a web-based app, at our North American properties. The planner receives a dedicated URL three days before their event, giving them one person on property with direct access to that meeting planner at the hotel. The app really is a request center for the meeting planner, to request more coffee, add more chairs, etc. We are launching it globally currently; started to deploy in Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Europe, and giving JW and Renaissance hotels their own branded solutions. We feel we have an opportunity to build more into the app now, such as bill review, and we are looking at adding documentation like group-room pickup. We want to build more paperless solutions in. All of these requests sent through by the meeting planner, we'll keep in the database for 120 days after the event. So if the planner has a question about the bill, or forgot what they ordered, the report can be run within the app, without the need to print out the details."

"How else are you helping meeting planners further their sustainability efforts?"

Meeting planners don't have to come to us and ask for the basics anymore; they expect us to do it, and we have standards in place to have our hotels follow these practices. For instance, in 2007 we launched a green-meetings program, and as the years have progressed, our hotels have dialed up the level. We don't even talk to you about what we use for pads and pens anymore, because we have products that are made from post-consumer waste. We would love to get away from putting a pad at every place setting; we're considering putting them at the back of the room, so they're there when a person needs it, but people who don't need it can't doodle on them, forcing us to discard the pads at the end of the session.

"What is the company's next sustainability goal?"

Overall, reducing the carbon footprint is still our opportunity. We want to redesign our event space, rewriting our standards around how we build event space through our designers, architecture and event teams, so we can host more virtual or hybrid meetings. We know that companies can't send all of their employees to a hotel. Are we building our space to accommodate a company that can only send a portion of their team to the meeting? And how is the rest of the company getting their message? Over the past year as we've been designing these new standards, this is a big undertaking. We have to build the space without adding a lot of cost. We have to do it in a smart way. We want to be great advisers to meeting planners.

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