Skift Take

The masses of attendees boarding flights and using cars is a big reason why events have such a negative environmental impact. Transportation needs to be a central focus for planners looking for greener events.

There are hundreds of different ways to make meetings slightly greener. Reducing paper signage, doing away with those free plastic water bottles, and opting for reusable cutlery are all common ways to reduce the environmental impact of a large meeting. While these choices are important, they seem relatively minor when compared to one of the central components of business events: plane travel.

Huge trade shows — you know, those really important ones that everyone has to go to — involve thousands upon thousands of attendees, most of whom will be boarding a flight to get to the event location. Once there, they will likely be using taxis or rental cars to get from the hotel to the venue and to everywhere else in between. The carbon footprint of just one of these conferences is immense, and it’s almost naive to call a meeting sustainable when nothing has been done to improve the way attendees travel.

Angie Ahrens, a sustainability committee member with the Events Industry Council, talked to Skift about the ways meeting planners are trying to reduce the harmful environmental impact of event transportation, and some of the things that are holding the industry back.

Check out this story, and many more, below.

If you have any feedback about the newsletter or news tips, feel free to reach out via email at [email protected] or tweet @ikcarey.

Isaac Carey, Travel Reporter

The Future of Events and Meetings

Making Events Green Starts First With Transportation: Getting rid of plastic straws is nice, but the biggest positive impact will come from cutting back on plane trips and the use of gas-powered cars. At first, these changes may seem overly inconvenient, but that feeling will lessen once attendee expectations start to shift.

Tackling the Abuse Problem in Hospitality Head-On: Abuse of staff is a problem in hospitality. And too often, it gets swept under the rug. What will it take for a zero-tolerance policy to actually be enforced — consistently?

Rethinking Luxury Hotel Design to Connect Guests With Nature: It seems like every hospitality brand these days is eager to jump on the wellness bandwagon. Most do so by adding a gym or throwing a yoga mat in the room. But some luxury hotels are taking a more esoteric approach, namely through biophilic design.

Around the Industry

Travel Agency Group ASTA Aims to Shield Hotel Guests From Resort Fee Pain: The American Society of Travel Advisors’ show of support for the Hotel Advertising Transparency Act of 2019 indicates growing distaste among agencies, as well as the general public, for resort fees, particularly when they are not disclosed up-front. Such support is a logical step for the organization, which has long advocated for pricing transparency.

Why the Hot Springs Movement Is Gaining Steam in the United States: The ancient Greeks did it. So did the ancient and not-so-ancient Romans, Japanese, and Chinese. Heck, even some of the founding fathers of the United States did it too. But despite its illustrious past, the idea of taking the waters has never really caught on in the United States, until now. Hot springs could be on the verge of a major wellness moment.

Iconic Boutique Hotelier Liz Lambert Out at Standard’s Bunkhouse Group: Standard Hotels buying into Bunkhouse Group seemed like a perfect match, one boutique hotel innovator investing in another. The goodwill seems to have soured since then, and it’s difficult to know exactly what happens to the Bunkhouse brand without its founder.


Travel Reporter Isaac Carey [[email protected]] curates the Skift Meetings Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Wednesday.

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Tags: climate change, meetings, meetingsiq, sustainability

Photo credit: A Delta aircraft flies over Florida. When it comes to addressing sustainablility, event planners can make the biggest impact by finding greener transportation solutions. Eric Salard / Flickr

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