The year is 2008. The economic downtown has hit, and the Super 8 in Ukiah, California, is struggling. The challenge was that not as many people were traveling, and the owner, Raakesh Patel needed to get creative to keep his doors open.
Other hotels opened nearby in the time that followed – Marriott’s, Hampton Inn’s, those that were “affordable” without being considered a truly “budget” property. For Raakesh, it all started with research.
“We started by adopting very simple changes to our operations in an effort to save money”, say Patel. “The obvious place to begin was with a comprehensive recycling program.” Patel’s recycling efforts took form and saw an immediate return to his bottom line, with an estimated savings of over $10,000 per year. With this success, Raakesh was eager to search for new ways to make his hotel greener, and attract a new customer base.
A quick list of things that the hotel has implemented since are:
• Replacing bulbs with LED lighting, thus saving on his utility bills;
• Changing to bio-degradable chemicals, which are easier on the environment;
• Updating the weather stripping on the hotel, to help save energy costs;
• Adding a grey-water system, so that water used from washing is re-directed into an 800-gallon tank and re-used in his
• Solar heating was installed in 2015-2016; which in his opinion, will pay for itself within 7 years (based on his energy
savings) – the solar panels also heat the outdoor swimming pool;
• An electric vehicle charging station was installed to attract guests with a green-conscious mindset.
Because of Raakesh’s initiatives, the Super 8 in Ukiah has been recognized with many accolades – it is the greenest Super 8 in the U.S., and has been awarded with 4 Green Keys from our Eco-Rating Program. He also sits on Wyndham’s Advisory Board to help with green and sustainability initiatives chain-wide.
And it doesn’t end there with “feel good” sustainability efforts. Raakesh’s property has seen a decrease of up to 15% in the hotel’s operating costs, while increasing business. “With so many other hotel companies hanging their flags close by, it is fantastic to see that local companies are recommending us to travelers. Other green tourism businesses, like local wineries for example, recommend us when they are asked by a tourist where to stay, versus our competition, because we are the greenest property in our county.”
We can’t wait to see what Raakesh has up his sleeve for future efforts!