Tuesday, 9 October 2012

A seriously simple sustainable event practice

Look closely.

You're seeing some good sustainable catering steps forward: bulk cream and reusable mugs.

But you may also be witnessing a missed opportunity.

It's helpful many hotels and venues are becoming increasingly attuned to putting out reusable mugs. Yet at the same time they often provide back-up to go cups, just in case attendees need them. What impact could we have if we eliminated the "just-in-case-to-go" cups from standard break service?

A potentially huge one! Why? Many attendees will reach for the to go cup even if they're staying and could use a mug. This is because it can often look like it holds a bit more and attendees may not feel certain they can take a mug into a session space, even though they're staying on property and stewarding staff refresh rooms.  In some instances to go cups may even hold more and encourage higher beverage consumption, which can impact budgets.

So what say you? Should the to-go cup remain a choice? Would you be inconvenienced if the option disappeared? Have you already eliminated it? Any complaints? Any savings? Sound off!


Jeff Korhan said...

People like choices. Though you make a good point because in restrooms where there are dryers and paper most (men anyway) overwhelmingly choose paper.

So, it may be a matter of changing habits.

Shawna McKinley said...

Thanks Jeff. Indeed choice is good. Like your hotel linens: have a standard practice, leave a card about the option and leave it up to the guest. So is the standard practice to opt into reuse as daily changes are standard? Or out of standard reuse until the second or third night? Oh the psychology! With the cups I wonder if most would miss the choice? I'm not sure and it likely depends on the audience. I know for some events they don't, but for others we're always worried if we take the choice away attendees will feel they've lost something, and evaluate us negatively. The organizers of CTC's Media Marketplace event quietly removed all to go cups from buffets about 3 years ago. So far, no one has missed them, so here's hoping I didn't put a jinx on that! Thanks for your comment!

Christine Young said...

Hi...interesting. I agree with you Jeff that choices are great, but in the case f conference and meetings, choices can easily be made for the participants. I doubt that the removal of the to go cups would cause any major disruption and in the case of CTC Media Marketplace, nobody has even recognized. Whenever there is a move towards change there is always the chance of resistance and opposition, but at the end of the da if it is for a greater good , people will eventually jump on board. I worked as a hotel environmental manager for many years and implemented lots of new practices, saw resistance and then saw staff and guests mellow up and jump on board. I will say though that how you go about making the changes has a significant effect on the response you will get. Different strokes will work for different folks....it's all about knowing your audience/ clients. Thanks....christine young