Upcoming ACOM Event Calendar

April 2008

Idea Network
April 17, 2008
1:00 PM EDT
Hotel / Center Track: How to Deal with Outside Vendors
CVB Track: Community Outreach and Special Events Planning

May 2008

May 15, 2008
1:00 PM EDT
How to Deal with Difficult Conversations / Complaints

June 2008

2008 Summer Education Conference
June 26-28, 2008
Chicago, Illinois
Palmer House Hilton

July 2008

Idea Network
July 17, 2008
1:00 PM EDT
Hotel / Center Track: Procedures from Start to Finish for CSMs
CVB Track: Procedures from Start to Finish for CSMs

August 2008

August 21, 2008
1:00 PM EDT
Revenue Management

September 2008

Idea Network
September 18, 2008
1:00 PM EDT
Hotel / Center Track: Emergency Management
CVB Track: Housing Updates

October 2008

October 16, 2008
1:00 PM EDT
APEX Update

November 2008

Idea Network
November 20, 2008
1:00 PM EST
All Tracks: Discussion on Industry Article

January 2009

2009 Annual Conference
January 9-11, 2009
New Orleans, Louisiana
Westin New Orleans

A special thank you to the Annual Conference Sponsors:

Don’t miss the opportunity to have your name listed above. Please check out all of the sponsorship opportunities available. If you have any questions or are interested in sponsoring ACOM, please contact ACOM Headquarters.

Putting Green Practices into Action

By Tina Stark

A decade ago, serious implementations of green practices in any industry were virtually unheard of. Today, every business from accounting to zoo keeping has a green strategy in place. The travel and meetings industry is no exception, and perhaps it feels even more pressure as a business with one of the largest known environmental footprints.

But thinking green and doing something to show real results are two very different things. To successfully make an impact on global warming while dually saving their respective organizations money, hotels, event arenas, convention centers and other venues must consider various changes – both behind the scenes of their events and in high-profile, visible ways.

According to the fifth edition of the Professional Meeting Management manual (PMM5), a typical five-day conference with an average of 2,500 attendees uses 62,500 plates, 87,500 napkins, 75,000 cups or glasses and 90,000 cans or bottles. How do you minimize this kind of resource consumption? On top of that, how can you conserve water, energy and carbon emissions? The answer is to integrate green meeting practices at all planning stages – when setting goals and expectations, during behind-the-scenes setup and in ways that are visible to the attendee on conference days. Here are a few specific ways to do so:

1) Start “talking the talk” by setting goals that have green benefits. As green expectations are being increasingly included in RFPs, keep in mind that planners will seek out facilities that employ linen reuse programs, use energy-efficient lighting and recycle in guest rooms as well as meeting spaces. To really make sure green practices are set in motion, venues need to make green programs known to planners during the sales phase.

2) Practice green strategies even when you don’t have an audience. There are elements of putting on a meeting that attendees might not even see that can increase your savings. Reusing plastic floor covers for carpets, recycling palettes used to deliver materials and recycling directional signage are great ways to cut back on waste overall. Others in the industry have also donated surplus food to local shelters or soup kitchens and have contacted charitable services to reuse table centerpieces.

3) Increase awareness to attendees at meetings where green tactics were used. A recent survey by J.D. Power indicated that 75 percent of hotel guests were willing to participate in eco-programs, but only 63 percent say they were aware of such programs. Meeting planners, CSMs and hotel executives and representatives should all communicate in order to make green services more mainstream.

The bottom line is that it’s the meetings industry’s responsibility to educate ourselves, our business affiliates and the customers we serve on the benefits of green programs. While improving financial outcomes and creating an impact on the environment, CSMs, meeting planners and hotel executives alike can also increase their professional value by becoming green experts.

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