By: John Iannini, CITP, CTC

Sustainability is a crucial ingredient of Meliá Hotels International’s positioning as a company in both the present and the future. It is regarded as one of the backbones of the company’s business model, since it ensures the sustainable creation of economic value.

We do not aim to be the best hotel company in the world, but we do aim to be a standard bearer for achieving a better world, contributing to and supporting the sustainable development of the communities in which we operate and the people that form part of those communities, leaving a legacy to be enjoyed by future generations.

To achieve this one must be very aware of the environment, and there is no better way than through listening to stakeholders. We believe that greater awareness of our stakeholder concerns and expectations will drive our development as a company, will benefit us all and will allow us to continue to grow together, evolve and adapt to our environment and to the times.

By working alongside all of our stakeholders – our staff, our suppliers, our customers, our hotel owners and our shareholders – we are prepared to take a proactive role in the industry by focusing on cooperation and partnership with different social organizations in seeking solutions to environmental, social and cultural deficiencies which will drive us towards a society where responsibility is shared and where the needs of all are covered in a more balanced, just and long-lasting way.

First, we are well aware that the natural environment is a key factor in this commitment to sustainable development. We will only be sustainable if we are able to identify the environmental impact of our operations both on a local and a global level, aiming to make environmental management a part of our daily routine.

Second, our commitment is also a social commitment. We understand that our activity will only be sustainable if we are able to make a contribution to the reduction of social differences and poverty through providing opportunities for mutual economic growth. We will be sensitive to the social needs of our staff, and aim to share our commitment with them, providing space for their concerns about solidarity, voluntary work and cooperation.

Third, and by no means last, we are committed to the conservation of both the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of the communities in which we operate. We will remain fully involved in local life, integrating the cultural, culinary, and artistic characteristics of each location, respecting and defending the historical heritage as if it were our own. We will also be a catalyst for local development, protecting the roots of society and aiming to get our customers involved in the discovery and conservation of the rich cultural wealth in each destination.

This year Meliá Hotels International has drawn up a Sustainability Roadmap and selected elimination of single-use plastics as its first set of priorities to be implemented during the remainder of 2018.

  • Replace plastic water or drink bottles with glass bottles (preferably returnable or tetrabrick) and install water dispensers in certain areas depending on the needs identified in each hotel and corporate office.
  • Remove plastic bags from bins in guestrooms. This does not apply, at the moment, to plastic bags in toilet bins
  • Replace single-use plastic cups, cutlery, plates and coasters with others made of alternative materials that can be washed and re-used or those made of compostable cardboard for single-use
  • Completely eliminate plastic straws and have alternatives available for customers when they request them, or for drinks that require them. The Company is also currently considering additional measures to be added to these first set actions.

At Meliá Hotels International we believe that sustainability is the key factor that will allow tourism to continue to be the driver of economic development in many countries. We are committed to seeking constant improvement so as to guarantee our future, adopting a humble attitude, which allows us to continue to learn as we move forward. We want this approach to help us strengthen our relationships with our stakeholders, becoming something, which makes us different from others – a more sustainable, more stable and more solid company and more attractive to all with whom we come in contact.

About John Iannini:  John Iannini, CITP, CTC, is Vice-President Business Travel Meetings & Events Americas, Meliá Hotels International and is also serving as SITE Foundation President in 2018. John’s 30-year career in the incentive travel industry includes leading his own third party incentive travel company before joining Wyndham Hotel Group’s global sales team as a subject matter expert for the incentive market. In 2010, he joined MeliáHotels International wherehis expertise in global meetings and events has been key in leading Meliá’s field-based sales team to develop business from all group market segments.

Melia Hotels

Meliá Hotels International is Spain’s leading hotel company and one of the largest hotel companies in the world, with seven famous brands and more than 370 hotels in 43 countries on 4 continents. he company currently operates more than 370 hotels in 43 countries and 4 continents under its brands: Meliá, Gran Meliá, ME by Meliá, Paradisus, Innside by Meliá, TRYP by Wyndham, Sol Hotels and Club Meliá.