Special Events
Just How Green Are You?

Just How Green Are You?

Event planner Joella Hopkins, founder of Los Angeles-based Simply Mumtaz, says social and association clients are far ahead of corporate clients. But the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Kissimmee, Fla., is finding its share of business groups warming to eco-friendliness.

Both Simply Mumtaz and Gaylord are part of a trend that doesn’t take just an eco-friendly step or two and then call it a green day. Instead, event professionals are beginning to take comprehensive approaches to going green.

Last year, Hopkins chose Earth Day, April 22, to launch her "Eco-Chic" program. For a flat consulting fee ranging from $250 to $500, depending on the scope of the event, Hopkins provides a "green map" recommending ways event planners can "green" their event. The map covers elements including logistics, catering, decor, entertainment and furniture. "A lot of people want to do green on their own and not necessarily have a planner do it for them," Hopkins says. "That’s good news for the environment; we are teaching people great lessons they can use for their events."

AS GREEN AS YOU WANT TO BE

Eco-Chic offers green maps that create 100 percent eco-friendly events for its "dark green" clients as well as green touches for the "barely there green" clients. So far, association and social clients are more eager to go green than corporate clients are, Hopkins says. "Corporate has been slow to ask or be really interested in going green," she notes. Also, more clients are "barely there" than "dark green." Having green elements in their events "ends up being something they are proud of," she notes, "but does not initially set out to be one of the main objectives of the event."

The Gaylord Palms has engineered eco-friendliness throughout the property. In February, the hotel was named a designated property in Florida's Green Lodging program, which recognizes the property's work to conserve water and energy and to reduce waste.

MEET GREEN

The 1,406-room Gaylord Palms has identified nearly 50 separate initiatives in what it dubs its "Eco-Logical" program. According to recent research, 67 percent of meeting and incentive professionals have taken environmental considerations into account when planning a conference or incentive program, notes Keith Salwoski, the hotel's public relations director. "Gaylord Palms is working to increase that average," he says.

For the full story, see the May issue of Special Events Magazine.

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