In a one-on-one interview with Hotel News Now during SAHIC, Craig Mueller, VP of development for the Americas at IHG, talked about which brands resonate most in South America and why sustainability is a focus for the company.
QUITO, Ecuador—Sustainability was already a priority at InterContinental Hotels Group when the company acquired the Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas brand in February, but that addition to the portfolio has taken these initiatives to another level, according to IHG’s VP of Development for the Americas Craig Mueller.
“It’s just how they’ve built a brand really on two key things that go beyond just luxury travel and resort experiences: wellness and sustainability,” he said. “It’s interesting to see how focused they are and the stories they tell of their customers that really appreciate that aspect of the company and knowing that’s where they’re staying. The local, cultural things they do—the things from local farming and organic gardens, that sort of thing—you don’t see it everywhere in the industry.”
He said he was impressed to learn of a requirement for Six Senses hotels to budget for sustainability.
“They really step it up. We’ve kind of been stepping it up, our sustainability efforts, and at the same time, we can learn from them; they can learn from us,” he said.
IHG has been leading many trends toward more sustainable hotel operations, Mueller said, noting early adoption of such initiatives as eliminating single-use, plastic straws and miniature bathroom amenity bottles. The company also has sustainability in mind from a development standpoint, he said.
“We are very interested in getting our owners to build with environmentally safe products. We have a program that helps people save energy costs, reducing your footprint. All of those things we measure greatly and take very seriously at IHG,” he said.
Speaking with Hotel News Now during the South America Hotel Investment Conference, Mueller noted sustainability is particularly important in the ecosystems of the Latin America and Caribbean region.
“Think of a place like Galapagos. Sustainability is very important there,” he said. “But it’s something that we do no matter where we’re going. We’re interested in promoting that across all of our hotels.”
For more on IHG’s development focus on sustainability and in South America, watch HNN’s video interview with Mueller below.