Preferred Hotel Group has added a new eco-focused hospitality brand to its portfolio. Beyond Green is launching with 24 founding member hotels, resorts, and lodges that combine luxury with sustainability.
“The events of 2020 fall into that black swan category, forcing us to think more creatively, be more nimble and reinvent on a daily basis,” said Preferred CEO Lindsay Uberroth during the official presentation of the new brand. “This new now has bought a seemingly collective commitment among hotels globally, to focus on moving ahead with one area, and that one area is sustainability.”
The company consulted with travel advisors, meeting planners and loyalty program members, and determined that the pandemic has made travelers more conscious of the impact their choices will have on others. “When they begin to travel again, they're willing to pay more for a sustainable experience,” she said. In February, Preferred acquired Beyond Green Travel and added it to the company’s portfolio, along with PHG Consulting.
“A sustainable brand is genuine, transparent and accountable,” said brand leader Costas Christ, adding that the brand will follow three core pillars: “Environmentally friendly practices that go beyond the basics; protection of natural and cultural heritage, whether urban, rural, land or sea; and contributing to the social and economic well-being of local communities.” Any property coming into the brand will undergo an initial property assessment against those three pillars to determine what are they doing that is innovative and creative in these spaces, he added, and will be inspected every two years. “And not only are we guided by our three pillars, but we are also guided by 54 detailed sustainability indicators that all of our members need to achieve that are directly aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” he said, “as well as with global sustainable tourism standards.”
Examples of these requirements include management of overall environmental operations to establish benchmarks and set additional sustainability goals, such as carbon emission reduction targets; elimination of plastic water bottles and reducing single-use plastics; support for biodiversity conservation initiatives and restoration and protection of natural habitats; embracing local cultural vernacular in design and décor and supporting the preservation of cultural heritage sites; a demonstrated priority to hire locally according to fair wages, benefits and nondiscrimination policies that meet or exceed legal requirements; and priority to purchasing goods and services from locally owned and operated businesses.
With plans for growth over the next 24 months, Beyond Green launches with 24 founding members in 15 countries:
- &Beyond Bateleur Camp (Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya)
- &Beyond Beyond Mnemba Island (Zanzibar, Tanzania)
- &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge (Namib Desert, Namibia)
- Aristi Mountain Resort (Zagori, Greece)
- Ashford Castle (Co. Mayo, Ireland)
- Bentwood Inn (Jackson Hole, Wyo., U.S.)
- Blancaneaux Lodge (Mountain Pine Ridge, Belize)
- Borgo Pignano (Tuscany, Italy)
- Bushmans Kloof (Western Cape, South Africa)
- Cavallo Point (Sausalito, California, U.S.)
- InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa (Bora Bora, French Polynesia)
- Islas Secas (Gulf of Chiriquí, Panama)
- Post Ranch Inn (Big Sur, California, U.S.)
- Ted Turner Reserves Vermejo (Raton, N.M., U.S.)
- The Brando (Tetiaroa, French Polynesia)
- The Ranch at Laguna Beach (Laguna Beach, Calif., U.S.)
- Three Camel Lodge (Gobi, Mongolia)
- Turtle Inn (Placencia, Belize)
- Wilderness Safaris Bisate Lodge (Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda)
- Wilderness Safaris DumaTau Camp (Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, Botswana)
- Wilderness Safaris Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp (Kaokoveld, Namibia)
- Wilderness Safaris Linkwasha Camp (Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe)
- Wilderness Safaris Mombo Camp (Okavango Delta, Botswana)
- Xigera Safari Lodge (Okavango Delta, Botswana)
Uberroth noted that “many” other properties in the Preferred portfolio already meet some of the standards for inclusion in Beyond Green, but the vetting process has been made more challenging by the pandemic and resultant travel restrictions. “The importance of vetting, making sure that hotels are meeting the brand criteria, that's that's an incredibly important part of this,” she said. “The 24 founding members that we’re announcing as part of this brand today had already been pre-vetted.” With the debut completed, the company will now look to help existing hotels in the portfolio dual-brand with Beyond Green. “This is not dissimilar from an Historic Hotels of America brand where if they meet the criteria, they can use this as another platform from a marketing and sales standpoint for that traveler that is looking for this type of experience,” she said.