November 24, 2010 // Franchising.com // Whitbread PLC, owner of Premier Inn, the UK's biggest budget hotel chain, assembled experts from across the sustainability and hotels sectors today to debate one of the most important challenges facing the industry – what is 'the Future of Sustainable Hospitality'?
The debate, hosted by Whitbread Chief Executive Alan Parker CBE at the firm's new Burgess Hill Premier Inn, drew together 50 leading names in hospitality and sustainability to explore answers to the questions: Is the hospitality sector doing enough? Do consumers care? And how can the hospitality industry make a difference?
In his last official act as Whitbread Chief Executive, Alan Parker, who retires this week, also formally opened the new Burgess Hill Premier Inn hotel and Beefeater Grill restaurant. The building – which is Whitbread's latest example of its 'Good Together' sustainability programme in action – includes a wide range of innovative design and sustainability features. It is believed to be the most energy efficient hotel in the UK today.
The 60-bedroom hotel has adopted the best-performing green technologies to deliver 70% carbon and 60% water savings.
Alan Parker said: "Good Together is designed to put us amongst the leaders in sustainable hospitality. It is a strategic opportunity for Whitbread and also a response to what we know our customers, our team members and also some of our most important investors want us to do.
"Our business model is to provide outstanding value for our customers. Our Good Together ambition is absolutely part of that. Customers don't want to pay more or to sacrifice quality for a greener choice and I don't think they should have to. At Whitbread we want sustainability to be something that everyone can engage with and an affordable option for everyone, every day."
The debate was chaired by Simon Calder, Travel Editor for The Independent and the expert panellists included Will Day, Sustainable Development Commissioner, Jan Peter Bergkvist, Executive Committee member of The International Tourism Partnership, Dominic Burbridge, Senior Manager for Hospitality at the Carbon Trust and Mark Anderson, Commercial & Property Director for Whitbread Hotels & Restaurants, whose team built the Burgess Hill hotel and who is leading on the roll out of Whitbread's sustainable buildings programme across its 580+ UK hotels.
The Debate was entitled 'The Future of Sustainable Hospitality Debate: Is the sector doing enough? Do consumers care? And can the industry make a difference?'. It was conceived and hosted by Whitbread as part of Whitbread's 'Good Together' programme and intended to support Whitbread's work towards more environmental and sustainable ways of working.
Good Together is Whitbread's corporate responsibility programme for driving sustainable performance across the business. More information at http://cr.whitbread.co.uk
Good Together was launched in December 2009 with the following targets:
Award-winning Premier Inn is the UK's biggest budget hotel brand with over 580 budget hotels and more than 42,000 rooms across the UK and Ireland. Premier Inn bedrooms feature en-suite bathrooms, TV with Freeview channels, and WiFi internet access. All Premier Inns feature a bar and restaurant; situated inside the hotel or adjacent, offering a wide range of food choices.
In 2008 Premier Inn launched in Dubai and is now open in Bangalore, India. On a domestic front, Premier Inn aims to be the largest provider of budget hotels within the M25 area by 2012.
Under the Premier Inn room offers, Premier Inn is offering rooms from just £29 (restrictions apply). Visit www.premierinn.com for full terms and conditions.
Premier Inn supports WaterAid, the international charity whose mission is to overcome poverty by enabling the world's poorest people to gain access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene education. Premier Inn, as part of Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants, aims to raise £1 million for WaterAid over the next two years. Details can be found at www.wateraid.org/whitbread