We are thrilled to welcome the Prestige Hotels & Resorts suite of properties to the Sustainable Tourism family! Over the next few weeks, we’ll be debuting all of their locations on our blog. To kick things off, we’d like to introduce Prestige Vernon Lodge, located in the beautiful North Okanagan region of British Columbia.
One of our jobs here at Sustainable Tourism 2030 is to celebrate the sustainability success that a business is already achieving, and to cheer them along their sustainability journey. As you’ll see, Prestige Vernon Lodge is up to some pretty remarkable things! Read on to find out more about how they’re doing their part to become a sustainable destination in the North Okanagan.
Tell us a bit about the Prestige Vernon Lodge. What makes you different?
The Lodge (as locals call it) has long been known as ‘the’ place to stay in Vernon. One of the main reasons why is because of our beautiful garden atrium, which contains nearly 1000 plants and provides guests with a tropical oasis to enjoy during their stay. The atrium is also home to our pool and hot tub, Lodge Kitchen and Bar restaurant, and is surrounded by guest rooms and gathering spaces. The atmosphere is warm, inviting, and a welcome retreat especially in cold winters. We’re pleased to be part of the Prestige Hotels and Resorts collection of 15 properties across BC, and one of four Prestige properties in the Okanagan Valley.
Why is sustainability important to your business?
As part of such a large accommodation-based company with a significant impact on BC’s tourism industry, we feel that we have a large role to play in its continued growth. Therefore, we take the topic of sustainability and green practices seriously, and have placed increased importance on it in recent years. We want to ensure that our company has the smallest environmental impact possible. We take such pride in the beautiful province that we call home, and we want to see it continue to thrive in the years to come. It’s amazing natural experiences and scenic beauty are unparalleled, and we feel that it’s our responsibility not only as business owners – but also as residents of BC – to do what we can to take care of it through employing sustainability practices as best we can.
Why did you join Sustainable Tourism?
We have been part of various green programs in the last decade, however we felt they were lacking in their level of support and guidance that we needed to continually evolve our sustainability practices. It was a well-thought out and strategic decision to partner with Angela and the team at Sustainable Tourism, and we feel that it’s been a very positive one. Not only do we receive hands-on support, but they are always available to answer our questions, provide insightful recommendations, and work with us to ensure we’re making the best possible decisions we can. They help us identify areas for improvement, and also celebrate the practices that we are already doing well.
What sustainability related projects, policies or initiatives do you most want travellers to know about?
For many years we’ve offered what we call the Go Green program, which allows our hotel guests to opt-out of housekeeping services in exchange for a restaurant dining credit or Prestige Rewards points. By taking this proactive approach to reduce the demands on our housekeeping team, we are able to lower our environmental impact. Some of the most obvious benefits include reducing the amount of laundry detergent we use; limiting the use of cleaning chemicals; and lowering our water and energy consumption. In addition to the Go Green program, we have made several other improvements at the hotel (and many other Prestige properties across BC) which include:
- Transitioning to LED lights and fixtures
- Installing low flow shower heads and lower flow toilets
- Using hand dryers instead of paper towels in public washrooms
- Opting for eco-friendly cleaning products and eco-friendly amenities
The biggest impact on our sustainability initiatives is our staff. They are the catalyst to change. As we implement sustainable initiatives it is staff behaviour that contributes to using less resources. Green training is an important part of our onboarding process – whether it is the cleaning practices or remembering to offer the Green Program, our staff are the champions of our efforts.
What are some goals and/or actions you plan to take in the future to further increase the sustainability of your business?
We need to further communicate our initiatives and goals with our staff. For 2020 we are planning to institute a Sustainability Committee run by staff with management participation. We also are working towards a communication plan with our guests to have greater participation in guest-led green initiatives. We will be setting stretch goals to plan for future initiatives in the next 10 years including carbon footprint monitoring. We look forward to continuing to be a good corporate citizen and evolving our sustainability practices to reduce our impact on the earth.
Thanks to Prestige Vernon Lodge for all that you are already doing to be sustainable! Transitioning to more efficient and environmentally-friendly products, creating a beautiful green space for your guests, and focusing on your team are all admirable actions with a measurable positive impact on the environment (and your employees and guests!). Learn more about the Prestige Vernon Lodge sustainability journey on their website here or check them out on Facebook here.