Cornell Hotel School’s Student Sustainability Competition
-Deadline 10/19 - Sustainable Product Innovation for the Hospitality Industry Competition
Your task is to develop a new sustainable product (or a service) for a fictitious full-service hotel company.
This U.S.-based hotel company has existed for 25 years, with a recent expansion through franchising of some of its brands. Currently the company has a portfolio of approximately 500 properties ranging from Midscale to Upper Upscale, with a mix of franchised and managed properties, located in North America, Europe, Asia, and South America. The company had developed some energy efficiency and corporate social responsibility initiatives in the past, but they were disjointed and started through grassroots property-level initiatives.
Your team of 3 to 5 members within the company is responsible for developing one new sustainable product (or a service) that can be launched throughout the entire organization. You have complete flexibility in applying the new concept to either front of the house and/or back-of the house operations at a hotel. Some suggested areas for developing new product concept includes:
- Energy management (i.e.g., energy conservation, alternative energy, insulation, monitoring systems, co-generation, low energy appliances, energy procurement, demand response);.
- Waste management (i.e.g., recycling, reduction, re-use);
- Water management (i.e.g., efficient fixtures, monitoring systems, linen/towel re-use signage,
- on-site treatment/use of grey and black water); • Supply chain management (i.e.g., use of recycled and biodegradable products, use of certified suppliers);
- Sustainable facility design and/or renovation (i.e.g., locating buildings to take best advantage of sun & air circulation, type of windows, facade, doors, use of roof, access to public transport);
- Environmental protection and enhancement (i.e.g., protection of native habitat during and/or following construction, restoration of native habitat, wildlife-friendly measures, etc.);
- Cultivation of ‘sense of place’ (i.e.g., growing food on site, use of vernacular architecture or region, use of local materials & style in construction, promotion of local heritage and attractions, use of local suppliers);
- Community engagement (i.e.g., sponsorship of scholarships or projects or charities, management & skills training programs for local residents);
- Guest engagement (i.e.g., guest participation in energy/water monitoring practices, environmental/social education for guests, guest participation in local projects, participation in on-site replanting or removal of exotic species, provision of on-site tours, integration with loyalty/frequency programs, and maybe social media or mobile applications);
- Employee Engagement (i.e.g., incentive programs for employee participation, programs for encouraging sustainability at home by employees);
- And so on …
All Cornell undergraduate and master’s students are eligible to participate in this competition. Each team should have between 3-5 members. Assume that your team has spent the last 12 to 18 months working on the above assignment and prepared a new sustainable product for the company. As a submission to the competition, your job is to prepare a presentation describing the product you supposedly have developed for the hotel company. The presentation should
(1) include a description of the situation where the new product (or service) concept can be applied;
(2) describe the new concept in sufficient detail and explain how it improves one or more specific performance metrics related to sustainability and corporate social responsibility. The description should also include a competitor analysis for the proposed concept. In other words, it you should be discussed how the proposed new concept will compete with other available alternatives and how it is different/better than existing options.
(3) include a business plan (the proposed concept should at the minimum be cost neutral to the organization in medium to long term – i.e., should be able to recover all initial investment within the next 5 - 7 year period). The business plan should clearly state all assumptions and related financial calculations. Furthermore, the business plan should be able to argue the case for the new concept above and beyond cost/financial measures only and discuss the new value proposition for the organization (e.g., allow new offerings for guests; increased willingness-to-pay for guests, etc.).
(4) include an implementation plan. The implementation plan should include descriptions of how the new concept will be rolled out to various properties (including training, changes in operating procedures, etc.). Finally, the implementation plan should also include a discussion of impact on guests by introducing the proposed concept.
Submission format The submission should be in the form of a PowerPoint presentation that if presented orally would not exceed 20 minutes (hint – use up to 30 slides).
Deadlines The presentation must be submitted by October 19th.
The finalists will be selected and notified by October 26th.
The finalists will be invited to either formally present their submission OR asked to prepare a poster for informal presentation to the attendees of the Sustainability Roundtable.
Prizes and Judging
First Prize (1): $2,000.00
Second Prize (1): $1,000.00
Third Prizes (2): $500.00 each
The winners will be selected by a voting process of the attendees of the Sustainability
Roundtable held November 1st and 2nd.