From insightful trends to personal viewpoints, each quarter a Hilton insider shares their thoughts.
Q: What does your role involve?
A: I lead a talented team of communicators, government affairs professionals and corporate responsibility experts responsible for protecting and enhancing Hilton’s reputation around the world through positive impact and authentic storytelling. I feel very lucky to be responsible for sharing the mission of a company that is incredibly committed to making the world a better place to travel.
Q: What changes have you noticed recently in the hotel industry?
A: Sustainability is higher on the agenda than ever – not just in our industry, but in every element of our lives. I have three young children at home, and I feel a huge responsibility to protect our planet for generations to come. My children – and their children – depend on us to set this example so that it’ll be second nature for them.
We are all making small changes in our own lives, whether it’s using a reusable water bottle or choosing to take the train instead of driving whenever we possibly can. So as businesses, we have to set the right example, just as we try to do what’s right and set the best example for our children in our personal lives.
Being responsible is no longer something you do to make yourself stand out – it’s an absolute imperative. The more businesses take a stance and set a good example by acting to protect our environment, the more of an impact we can have, and the more people we can inspire to come on the journey with us. I read a quote from a zero-waste chef named Ann Marie Bonneau recently that said “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” I think this rings true for every element of sustainability.
Q: What do these changes mean for Hilton and for your role?
A: It means it’s more important than ever to tell the stories of our amazing, entrepreneurial teams all over the world, who are already driving positive change through our hospitality mission.
Our hotels have long been committed to reducing their environmental impact, but this increased focus means it’s more important than ever that we encourage them to act and develop new initiatives to help support their local ecosystem and community.
Last year, we launched our Travel with Purpose 2030 Goals to cut our environmental footprint in half and double our investment in social impact. This commitment provides all 6,000 of our hotels with a way to track our progress and improve our practices wherever we can. Our properties use a tool called LightStay to record and measure environmental and social impact, share best practices, and inspire action that creates a better world to travel.
Q: What are the biggest challenges for Hilton when it comes to sustainability?
A: We’re present in 117 countries and territories across the world, and we have almost 6,000 hotels. Every location faces its own unique challenges, so we need to be mindful of this when we’re putting together a global strategy for sustainability – it won’t work if we don’t look at local context. Any guidance we give has to resonate and be relevant to every property, from China to the US to the UK to the Seychelles.
This is why, within our Travel with Purpose 2030 Goals, we have 23 individual targets, each focusing on a specific environmental or social issue. Some of these may be more relevant in some markets than others, but the goals provide guidance and clear targets which can be localised and easily activated – wherever the hotel.
Q: What do you think makes a great hotel?
A: In his research about Hilton, Stanford Business Professor and award-winning author Chip Heath writes about how our hotels have allowed 3 billion guests over the last century to “broaden and build” their world. He also noted that travel can be depleting, and a great hotel provides you with the “refreshment” you need to experience the full potential of any trip you are on. Hilton does that by hiring Team Members that are passionate about hospitality, and providing it to every single guest.
Q: What’s the best thing about your job?
A: I love working with teams across the world to drive our Travel with Purpose strategy and ensure we do all we can to reduce our environmental impact. It is truly inspiring to see our hotels’ commitment to our purpose, and in turn, it’s also incredibly empowering to ensure their efforts are recognised through storytelling.