Holiday Inn Express Sedona-Oak Creek Advanced to Innovator/Silver level Sustainable Business Certification
May 25, 2022
Holiday Inn Express Sedona-Oak Creek is now a Certified Sustainable Business at the Innovator/Silver level from the Sustainability Alliance.
Holiday Inn Express Sedona-Oak Creek (HIES) shows that consistent small improvements can add up quickly. The hotel earned Bronze certification in 2019, but the team didn’t stop there. They continued to develop their sustainability practices and have now achieved Silver level recognition. General Manager Danielle Sonn sees the importance for both the environment and the business: “Visitors want the wellness experience, and sustainability is a key part of that.”
Climate and Energy: The hotel has continued the careful management of power and water noted in their original certification, with ongoing practices such as using blackout shades to reduce heat load and setting guest room thermostats at moderate temperatures. They also now provide a Tesla charging station for guests, and Groome shuttles can pick up area riders at HIES whether they are staying at the hotel or not. Even though the Verde Shuttle route does not include the Village of Oak Creek, many staff choose to carpool and conserve fuel. To reduce truck trips, their Sedona Recycles cardboard dumpster is only emptied when full.
Pollution and Waste: Recognizing the recent chlorine shortage as an opportunity, HIES converted their pool to saltwater. Health-focused practices initiated during Covid have been made permanent, such as daily cleaning of air filters in guest room HVAC units. They removed in-room extras like notepads, and laminated all the signage so it can be cleaned and reused. This saves money, reduces waste, and simplifies room servicing. Adding to their existing refillable shower amenities, the hotel is transitioning lotion and hand soap from single-use packaging to refillable dispensers. Almost everything used in the operation is purchased in bulk. “We try to use as little resource as possible,” explains Sonn.
Ecosystems: To reduce extra laundry and preserve guest towels, bathrooms display a QR code with instructions not to wipe red dirt on the white towels. Retired linens are used for cleaning. There is very little food waste: The kitchen crew has been trained to adjust breakfast quantities according to the number of guests, and any extra food is offered to staff.
Staff and Community: Sonn is very involved with the staff and strives to be visible and available throughout the property. She attends daily housekeeping check-in meetings and shows up in breakfast area each morning. Staff morale is a high priority. “We want to keep people happy,” says Sonn. All job roles have regular shifts and almost all are full-time. There were no layoffs during COVID, and individuals are able to change job roles if they prefer a different position. HIES is a member of the Sedona Chamber and the Lodging Council. They participate in the Sedona Trail Keepers program and donate free room nights for many charitable causes. Staff members pick up trash on Earth Day and plant trees on Arbor day.