Cornell Research Summit Examines the Challenges of Sustainable Hospitality Operations

Feb 22, 2011

Contact:  Glenn Withiam, 607.255.3025,

Cornell Research Summit Examines the Challenges of Sustainable Hospitality Operations

Ithaca, NY, February 22, 2011 – The fundamental contradictions of sustainability in the hospitality industry formed a major focus of several presentations at the Cornell Hospitality Research Summit (CHRS), which aimed at improving both the industry's sustainability and profitability. The CHRS presentations on sustainability are summarized in the newly released conference sustainability proceedings, available at no charge from the Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) at

As explained in the proceedings, "The Challenge of Hotel and Restaurant Sustainability: Finding Profit in 'Being Green'," the contradictions involve finances, operations, and marketing. Hotels and restaurants would save money from many sustainable practices, but often lack the capital to invest; operators that wish to improve practices lack measurement and benchmark standards; and guests expect hotels and restaurants to operate sustainably but don't use that as a decision factor in choosing a property.

Speakers at CHRS, held in October at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, provided numerous strategies and examples of ways for the hospitality industry to move ahead on sustainability. To begin with, no sustainability program makes sense if it does not have a favorable cost-benefit ratio. For new hotels, sustainability starts with design. Hotels can be designed with the greatest possible efficiency, and that assists with sustainability even in the absence of outright "green" practices. An efficient design not only conserves resources, but it can make a hotel more viable (and profitable). However, when design is focused through the lens of sustainability, a new product emerges that should appeal to guests of all types, regardless of whether they are concerned about sustainability. Energy management should be integrated into hospitality operations so that it responds to actual building use, but at the same time the industry is still struggling to find benchmarks for "green" operations. Guest room energy management must be at the forefront of sustainability efforts, without interfering with the guests' convenience and pleasure. Food-service operations also face sustainability issues, complicated by guests' interest in healthy food and local sourcing. Finally, sustainability includes not only environmental issues but also the preservation of local cultures.

The CHRS was made possible by the following sponsors: Avaya, Charlie's Grilled Subs, Hotel Business,,, (HNN),, and J.D. Power and Associates.

                                                 *SAVE THE DATE for the next CHRS: October 3-5, 2012*

Thanks to the support of the CHR partners listed below, all publications posted on the center's website are available free of charge, at

About The Center for Hospitality Research
A unit of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, The Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) sponsors research designed to improve practices in the hospitality industry. Under the lead of the center's 81 corporate affiliates, experienced scholars work closely with business executives to discover new insights into strategic, managerial and operating practices. The center also publishes the award-winning hospitality journal, the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly. To learn more about the center and its projects, visit

Center Senior Partners: Hilton Worldwide, McDonald's USA, Philips Hospitality, SAS, STR, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, and TIG Global

Center Partners: Davis & Gilbert LLP, Deloitte & Touche USA LLP, Denihan Hospitality Group, eCornell & Executive Education, Expedia, Inc., Forbes Travel Guide, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Fox Rothschild LLP, French Quarter Holdings, Inc., HVS, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group, Jumeirah Group, LRP Publications, Maritz, Marriott International, Inc., Marsh's Hospitality Practice, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Proskauer, Sabre Hospitality Solutions, Schneider Electric, Southern Wine and Spirits of America, Inc., Thayer Lodging Group, Thompson Hotels, Travelport, and WATG

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