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Aqua-Aston Hospitality Advocates for Sustainability

During the last year, the company has been using technology to enhance the sustainability of its 25+ properties across Hawaii.
pool view of aston kaanapali shores hotel
Aston Kaanapali Shores hotel (Image Credit: Aqua-Aston Hospitality)
pool view of aston kaanapali shores hotel
Aston Kaanapali Shores hotel (Image Credit: Aqua-Aston Hospitality)
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For the past year, Aqua-Aston Hospitality (an operating business of Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation) has been advocating for sustainability and responsible travel with brand-wide shifts at their hotels and resorts in the Aloha state. To learn more about these green initiatives, HT spoke with Theresa van Greunen, assistant vice president of corporate communications for Aqua-Aston Hospitality.

Why is sustainability important to your brand?

As a Honolulu-based company with 25+ properties across Hawaii, sustainability has long been a core value of the Aqua-Aston Hospitality brand. Hawaii’s land and oceans are home to some of the most delicate eco-systems in the world, so we want to ensure we’re doing our part to equip guests on how to be responsible travelers in the Islands and beyond. Since 2017, we’ve led the state’s reef-safe movement with the #ForOurReef campaign where we’ve distributed countless samples of reef-safe sunscreen. More recently, we’ve even completed a shift away from single-use plastic at all properties by introducing bulk bathroom amenities in partnership with Hotel Emporium.

What are some ways you're using technology to make the brand more sustainable?

We just completed sustainability enhancements at Aqua Palms Waikiki which has helped slash energy consumption by 45 percent. We worked with Ameresco, a renewable energy company, to implement efficient technology including a central plant cooling tower. The new cooling system is estimated to save around $75,000 annually and contributes toward Hawaii’s 2045 carbon neutrality goal. Additionally, Aston Maui Hill recently installed photovoltaic panels on their roof and Aston at Maui Kaanapali Villas completed a sustainability project which cut CO2 emissions by more than 30 percent. Brand-wide we also integrated a contactless intelligent text messaging platform where guests can communicate quickly with our property teams. This change has reduced our use of paper, as hotel folios and in-room materials are now available online and via text.

Is it difficult to find/implement these technologies?

With a huge shift toward sustainable practices within the hospitality industry and globally, the technologies that Aqua-Aston has implemented are easy to find and use. Plus, methods, like working with Ameresco and our contactless text messaging platform, have resounding cost-saving benefits.

What advice would you give to other hotel brands who are just starting down the road to sustainability?

Keep going! All sustainable choices, big and small, have a huge impact on the hospitality industry. Whether it’s refraining from using single-use plastics to educating guests on how to travel responsibly, these efforts all have a positive outcome for our world. We hear more and more about the dangers of pollution and climate change, so it’s encouraging to work toward the same goal of protecting and preserving our environment for generations to come.

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