Certified Sustainable Business: Holiday Inn Express (VOC)

October 2019—Holiday Inn Express Sedona-Oak Creek is now a Certified Sustainable Business at the Conservationist/Bronze level by the Sustainability Alliance.

Before Holiday Inn Express Sedona-Oak Creek opened in 2016 on the site of an older motel, General Manager Tony DeLuca and his team completely revamped the facility. To save energy, they replaced three central air units plus the individual air conditioners in every guest room. They also replaced a number of appliances and switched almost all the lighting to LED. They monitor power use through the company-wide IHG Green Engage program.

Cleanliness is key to the lodging industry, and many hotels use toxic cleaning products that can contribute to indoor air pollution. Not so at the Holiday Inn Express. They use a line of Ecolab products that includes a hydrogen peroxide-based disinfectant (which degrades to hydrogen and oxygen) instead of chlorine bleach.

To reduce plastic, they signed on to Straw Free Sedona and provide several places where people can refill water bottles. They have replaced coffee stirrers with wooden stir sticks and plan to switch to paper plates instead of Styrofoam for the breakfast buffet.

Like many lodging establishments, they encourage guests to opt out of having linens changed every day but they also provide their members an incentive, 500 points. The style of rooms is Scandinavian, bright and uncluttered, which tends to use less material, and now they allow dogs. Rather than providing all those mini-bottles, their showers have a refillable dispensers for body wash, shampoo and conditioner.

Holiday Inn Express is very involved with the community. Every two years, they donate retired linens to Angie’s house, which serves residents affected by substance abuse, homelessness and mental health issues. They allow school buses to drop off kids in their parking lot, and they provide refreshments for the Alzheimer’s Run/Walk. The Sedona Village Business Association meets there, and Sales Manager Crystal Hoyle volunteers her time to support that effort. Hoyle also ran a successful hotel-sponsored blood drive this year for the Village of Oak Creek.

Keeping good staff is important so they have a number of noteworthy employment practices. They offer one-week paid vacation and an opt-in healthcare program. Employees can attend training online. According to Maintenance Supervisor Scott Swenson, the General Manager, Tony DeLuca, “is really good about an open-door policy. He makes sure you get the training and doesn’t micro manage. He gets great staff who can do the job.” Employees can take home any extra breakfast food. Not surprisingly, the core housekeeping staff has worked at the hotel for a long time.