Sustainability draws visitors to Portland

Nearly 130 Portland-area hotels bill themselves as green destinations for visitors.

It’s no surprise, as the meeting and convention industry increasingly makes environmental sustainability a cornerstone of its marketing message.

Green meetings and green tourism save money and helps bring new business to town.

"Sustainability is putting heads in beds," said Julie Ramey, sales manager for Hotel deLuxe, a 130-room historic hotel in Southwest Portland, near PGE Park.

Hotel deLuxe has embraced green practices through the reuse of linens, composting, recycling and green cleaning products. Throughout the summer, the hotel has routinely been full.

It’s easy to see why local business goes the extra mile to win certification through the Green Seal program for hotels and restaurants and other organizations.

In its 2010 annual state of the industry report, Portland-based Meet Green noted that 42 percent of 131 nationwide meeting planners who responded to a Meetings & Convention Research Survey said green initiatives saved them money. Another 37 percent anticipated cost savings with future events.

Specific examples of how green saves money include:

• Oracle’s 2009 OpenWorld conference in San Francisco netted savings of $850,000. Shuttles, walkable venues, reduced printing and other measures curtailed the cost of accommodating its 37,000 attendees.

• Intel Corp.’s 2009 Developer Forum saved $150,000 through reduced food and beverage waste during the event, which brought together 4,000 people.

• The Unitarian Universalist Association’s decision to reduce onsite paper use at its 2009 general assembly avoided $6,000 in direct costs. The group reported another $60,000 in savings from choosing a destination that did not require people to take shuttles between venues.

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wculverwell@bizjournals.com | 503-219-3415

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