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dispenser amenities and marina grand beach hotel partners for a green bulgaria

Partners for a Green Bulgaria

Our new partners at the Hotel Marina Grand Beach are leading the way to inspire hotels across Europe to improve environmentally sustainable tourism practices.

The hotel is centered in the Golden Sands Resort, one the most sought-out and beautiful resorts in the country.  The Black Sea shoreline is literally footsteps from the hotel and the resort’s other activities are also in very close proximity.  Whether guests are looking to play golf, go boating, experience a jeep safari, or any number of motorized water sports, all are available without having to stray too far from the hotel. 

The Black Sea is only the beginning of the entertainment available at the Hotel Marina Grand Beach.  As Bulgaria is a gateway between the East and West, the Golden Sands Resort offers guided excursions to the nearby cultural and natural wonders of Bulgaria, as well as more involved voyages to many regional tourist attractions including Istanbul and Cairo.

General Manager Elitza Goranova’s quest to further her properties’ eco-orientation, after the hotel introduced a policy avoiding the use of single-use and disposable items, brought our companies together.  Being unable to attain a suitable sustainable amenities program in Bulgaria, she contacted us after noticing our referrals from “many other leading tourism enterprises”.  This led to the Hotel Marina Grand Beach to outfit their entire property with our AVIVA Dispensers.

Long before coming in contact with us, the Hotel Marina Grand Beach had been making great strides towards their goal of sustainable operation.  They have achieved a Certificate of Energy Effectiveness Class “A” by implementing an effective guestroom energy management system: an energy saver switch system that controls the operation of the rooms’ light and heating/cooling system, as well as a balcony door sensors that disable the Heating, Ventilation and Air-conditioning system when left open, and only purchasing energy efficient appliances.  They have also implemented a waste management and recycling system to minimize waste generation of their own accord and before any formal regulations were in place and without assistance by the municipality. In addition they use dual-flush model toilets that conserve water, encourage customers to participate in programs where they can have an impact on water, energy, and waste management.

In many parts of Europe, and even more so in Asia, we have seen the utter destruction that has been caused by the mass tourism that is attracted by the lush landscapes and historical sites that can be found in these parts of the world.  An example of such tragedy can be found in the Maldives’ Thilafushi Island, where the waste from tourism has created an environmental disaster and sparked a global outrage (http://www.dispenseramenities.com/news/garbage-island/).  For this reason we cannot overlook the importance of hotels like the Hotel Marina Grand Beach taking on the responsibility of not only providing an excellent experience to the travelers that want to see the Golden Sands resort and the Black Sea, but going above and beyond in making sure that the experience they provide does not take away from the environment and general health of the region.


Three Displays, Three Products, and Three Awards, at the HI Connect Trade Show 2013

Our second trip to the Nashville, Tennessee, HI Connect Tradeshow turned out to be a big success!  Now in the second year of its patented vignette layout, the show was quite well attended and displayed some fascinating concepts from some of the top designers around North America.

Our International Sales Manager, Andrew Davis was in attendance and presenting three of our different product lines throughout three award winning vignettes!  The HI Connect tradeshow has an award system titled “the people’s choice awards” which are voted by attendees during the show.

The “Best Bathroom” award was presented to the WJ Weeks Architecture firm and their collaborative “D2 Luxury Bathroom” vignette (shown right).  A host of suppliers including Dispenser Amenities contributed to this vignette, with our customized AVIVA Dispensers prominently displayed in the shower, at the vanity, and above the bathtub.  We were so happy to be a part of this achievement and prove to the world that sustainable amenities programs are well-suited to a luxury environment!

Secondly, we were one of the featured vendors in DPOV Interior’s “C5 Upscale Bathroom” award winning vignette (shown in feature image).  Recognized for the most interesting use of lighting, this well-lit environment suited our brightly customized iQon Dispenser perfectly (shown right).  This bright and colorful environment was a perfect setting to demonstrate the versatility of the iQon unit.  By simply inserting the colorfully printed insert into the front of the iQon unit, the dispenser matched the bathroom décor perfectly.

Finally, as a featured supplier in the HVS Design “D13 Wellness Suite Guestroom”, we were a part of securing the “I Need That In My Hotel” award.  The Wellness Suite was a beautifully design concept which featured a traditional brown leather and wood concept giving way to a very contemporary blue and white text-covered wall paper in the bathroom accented perfectly with our Nickel Wave Dispensers near the doorway.

All in all we made a pretty good showing at HI Connect, showing up with three of our different product lines and leaving with three different award titles.


quail lodge golf club dispenser amenities

The Quail Lodge and Golf Resort Re-Launches with a $28 Million Renovation Including Custom AVIVA Dispensers

The Quail Lodge saw some tough times after the economic disaster in late 2008 and by the end of 2009 the tough decision was made to close the lodge.  General Manager, Sarah Cruse was quoted saying “Closing Quail Lodge was a difficult decision, but operations were not sustainable under the former business model and given the state of the economy in 2009”.

In August, 2012, the decision was announced to re-open the hotel under the new brand, The Quail Lodge and Golf Resort.  Barry Design Associates was brought in to re-vamp the interior of the lodge, while KemperSports Management was brought in to manage the golf operations.

The interior design changes saw each guestroom now having its own private deck overlooking either the golf course, garden, or lake, and select suits at the offering a fireplace.  Each guest bathroom at the lodge sports an attractive, custom-labeled AVIVA III Dispenser.  The lodge can now cater for weddings and receptions up to 600 guests and boasts 3 restaurants including the award-winning Edgar’s.  It also features a European-style spa with steam rooms, hydrotherapy tubs, and Vichy Showers.  The lodge has seen very favorable reviews having their staff described as “nice people go out of their way to please customers (even if it means helping them book with competing golf courses).  One comment submitted to their Facebook page, by Mark Smith, described his stay as follows:

My wife and I have never enjoyed such service and solitude as staying here with the cool little ducks hanging around. Playing the course here was special but the close proximity to and be able to get a nice tee time at Pebble Beach Golf Links was awesome! The shopping in Carmel was enjoyable. We then visited Monterey and then the Aquarium which made the visit really nice. I highly recommend staying here.

The golf course at the Quail Lodge and Golf Resort did not close with the lodge and remained a popular golfing destination throughout the lodge’s renovation.  Since its management has switched to KemperSports it had not only retained its popularity, but increased it.  The course, as described by reviews on TripAdvisor and Facebook, offers a moderate to easy golf experience, and was also named the 2nd best new and improved feature to Monterey County by the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau as well as being featured on the Ellen show, Thursday, May 16th, where the entire audience received a free trip to the resort.

The Quail Lodge Men’s Golf Association offer sponsorship opportunities to young men who demonstrate exemplary golfing and academic skills.  These candidates receive a free membership to the club as well as a financial gift to put towards education.  The resort also offers “June Junior Golf Camps” for children and young adults who want to learn the sport.

The outdoor fun at this resort does not stop at golf!  The resort continues to host its legendary motorsports and motorcycle gatherings, this year’s motorcycle gathering having already taken place on April 9, 2013.  The event honored three-time champion of 500cc World Championship and one-time winner of the Daytona 500, Wayne Rainey.  The Quail Motorsports Gathering is scheduled for August 16th, will honor 100 years of Aston Martin, and feature a retrospective of Automobili Lamborgini Celebrating 50 years.  Also now offered by the Quail is a scenic off-roading LandRover tour with an experienced instructor.

We are thrilled to have our part in this spectacular brand’s re-launch!  The Quail Lodge and Golf Resort is certainly one of our most exciting customers.  With such a beautiful surrounding and being located in one of the most breath-taking and sought out locations in the world, we are certain that it will be smooth-sailing for the Quail from now on.

The Quail Lodge and Golf Resort is owned and managed by the Peninsula/Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels Limited.


people dressed in outdoor wear standing beside middle point woods western lake erie islands national area sign dispenser amenities

Dispenser Amenities recognized for support of Pelee Island Conservation

On May 11, 2013, The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) held a recognition event on Pelee Island in appreciation of the donations by Dispenser Amenities to help fund the ongoing conservation efforts carried out on the Island by NCC.  The event coincided with the Spring Song Bird festival that is held annually during the peak of spring migration where teams on bicycles list the species that they see in a 24 hour period from noon Friday to Noon Saturday.  The winning team always has seen well over 100 different species in this “day”.

Four staff members from Dispenser Amenities, Ian Wallace, Heather Manness, Liz Giles and Mort Giles enjoyed a tour of three different areas being restored by NCC staff led by Conservation Biologists Mhairi McFarlane and Jill Crosthwaite.  The Island has an area of approximately 42 square kilometers or 16 square miles and the Nature Conservancy now protects over 1000 acres of forest, alvar and shoreline area.  The NCC staff and volunteers have now restored some 50 acres (19 hectares) of forest and shoreline as well as a relatively new parcel which is being changed from agricultural field to native forest.

Mhairi McFarlane proudly says, “Every native tree we plant is there to help the migrating and endemic birds and wildlife have an easier, better existence, whether they just spend a day on the island or a lifetime.”  Mhairi, Jill and countless other staffers and volunteers have made great strides in controlling such invasive species as Garlic Mustard in the forests and Common Reed along the shorelines of the lands they protect.  They continually plant seedling trees and other native species to improve the bio-diversity of the Island.An initial donation to the Conservancy by Dispenser Amenities is being used to upgrade the Ivey Research Station which is used both as living quarters and research area for those working on the Island.  Biologists use the station to coordinate various seed distribution and research initiatives that are an ongoing part of their work.  When we visited the station we met a pair of graduate students who were studying the very rare Blue Racer Snake which is believed to exist only on Pelee Island.  As we enjoyed a delicious lunch, they were thrilled to tell us that they found two more Blue Racers that morning.

The Nature Conservancy presented Ian Wallace with an inscribed photo recognition which we proudly display in our office.  As well, a permanent signage panel on the Island beside the Ivey Station and Middle Point Woods protected area tells all visitors of the help provided by Dispenser Amenities thanks to our many customers.


The Top Ten Hotel Pet Peeves

This March Dispenser Amenities’ Executive Account Manager, Liz Giles, went to the Asian American Hotel Owners Association and was fortunate enough to catch Colin Powell’s speech about his top ten suggestions for hoteliers.  The speech was a hit at the show, so Liz returned and told me all about it.  His list of problems was published by lodgingmagazine.com and, when I took a look at it, I had to agree with Liz.  Not only were his suggestions pretty funny, but they also made a lot of sense:

1. In the shower, give me one handle that tells me where hot and where cold is. I don’t need a sprinkler system. I don’t need a Jacuzzi.

2. I’m an old man. In the middle of the night, when I wake up, I need big red letters on the clock of the clock radio to tell me what time it is. If it needs instructions, it’s the wrong clock radio.

3. Give me a simple coffee maker…I don’t need all those fancy espressos and the rest of it. All I want is a cup of coffee in the morning, nothing else.

4. I can’t read that well without my glasses. When I go into the bathroom, I don’t know which one the shampoo is, I don’t know which one the conditioner is, I don’t know which one the body lotion is. I end up putting bad body lotion on my head. Would it be so hard just to put a big S on one and C on the other?

5. I don’t need a scale in my bathroom. I can wait until I get home to weigh myself. It is not that pressing a matter and I don’t like the answer anyway.

6. How many people actually watch television in the bathroom? Come on. If you do, you need to see a doctor—you’re staying in there too long.

7. For some reason, a few years ago, everybody decided that a bed needed 12 pillows. All we want is a single pillow to rest our head on and we spend 10 minutes throwing pillows off the bed into the corners.

8. Just put the light with a switch and put the switch at the bottom. Don’t make me reach up, burning my fingers, to turn it on and off.

9. Don’t buy any of those Japanese toilets…I don’t know what to do with all those buttons. And I’m afraid to use it. I don’t know what it might do to me. Who said we needed Japanese toilet seats
with a space control system on it?

10.  I cannot believe I can still go into a hotel and when I go to the desk and set up my computer, smartphone, and my iPad, you still make me crawl under the desk to plug them in.

After reading this, I decided to do a little research of my own about the subject.  By looking through complaints about many of the top-rated hotels on Tripadvisor, I decided to exclude all of the 1- 3 star hotels because the complaints for all of them were obvious hygiene issues.  I decided to look into what concerns guests when they are staying at a well-respected hotel.  After reading many reviews of some of the top rated hotels on Tripadvisor and Travelocity, and getting some feedback form our own Eco-Travelers Facebook page, I have come up with my own official top ten peeves of hotel guests:

#1 – The Fear of Bed Bugs

People are absolutely terrified of bed bugs.  There has been so many mentions of them in the media and health networks that any small irritation to the skin, unexplained blemish, or unidentified insect, will immediately draw accusations of bed bugs. Although there has never been a case of infectious disease caused by the bites, they are very itchy and excessive scratching could lead to an infection.  The fear of bed bugs in the hospitality industry is a much wider spread problem than the bugs themselves.

#2 – Not Having Control over the Temperature in the Room

Some people are very sensitive to temperature one way of the other.  At the exact same temperature some guests may feel hot, while others feel cold.  The guests not having control over the temperature in the room almost always will lead to complaint from a minority of guests. 

Even when the guest do have some control over their room temperature, there have still been some complaints that the thermostat will not go high or low enough.  There are some “hack” solutions posted online such as this blog – www.boardingarea.com/blogs/viewfromthewing/2010/02/24/overriding-your-hotel-rooms-thermostat-settings/ – Which explains how to override the controls.

#3 – Disruption from other Guests

In regular size hotel rooms with one wall separating the living rooms, noise is one of the most common complaints from guests.  Whether it is a loud television show, movie, talking, or partying, hotel guests hate to be able to hear each other.  Open doors in the hallway to other guest rooms will increase this type of complaints exponentially. 

#4 – Noise from Machines or Equipment in the Hotel

As mentioned in peeve number three, the guest love to have control over the temperature in their room.  What they don’t like however, is any noise at all that is created from this luxury.  A small hum or rattle will be enough to have some guests going completely nuts, unable to sleep, and up early in the morning writing bad reviews on Tripadvisor about the Hotel.

Also in this complaint bracket are rooms that are located close to ice machines, car-park stations, or any other hotel amenity that tends to make noise.  There are countless terrible reviews posted across Tripadvisor from guests who have encountered this problem.

#5 – The Size of the Room or Bathroom

One of the top complaints on travel forums are from guests who feel that they have somehow been misled about the size of their room. For the most part the complaints stem from the comparison of the price that the guest paid compared to the size of the room they expect for that price.

#6 – The handling of Complaints by Staff

Most guests feel that their complaints should become the number one priority of the hotel’s staff once they are announced, and they likely should be.  According to many reviews this becomes the “do or die” moment when the hotel brand can either earn the advocacy of the guest or their active opposition.  With an apology and appearance of concern alone, the staff can usually win over the guest even if their original concern cannot be completely rectified.  Any kind of rudeness or dismissal of the complaint will almost always earn the brand a former guest with bad things to say both online and in person.

#7 – Coffee

The world’s number one addiction can play a big factor in hospitality.  The fact is:  Without their coffee at the perfect time, temperature, and flavor, people can become very grumpy.  Most coffee-related complaints stated that they had wait too long to get their beverage, the coffee was cold, or the coffee maker was too complicated.  The vast majority of people are looking for their regular black coffee with cream and sugar available.  Fancy cappuccino and espresso machines often lead to more complaints than compliments.

#8 – Wireless Internet Difficulties           

Wireless internet is very troublesome for some people.  Many people have had it set up in their home and/or office and have not connected to a new network in a very long time.  When they go to set up the connection at the hotel there are often difficulties with entering the password, choosing the right network, or especially if there is a more complicated procedure like a browser authentication code. 

Also, hotel wireless networks have been known to become overloaded during peak periods causing the internet experience of the guests to become compromised.  This can enrage guests who rely on that connection to check on loved ones, send other critical messages, plan vacation activities, or connect to their work.

#9 – Room Service Delays

When it comes to food and drink people can be very impatient.  While they will maybe be willing to wait if ordering a full-course elegant meal, when it comes to simple snacks and drinks they are not willing to wait for very long at all before becoming agitated.  The higher the price the guest paid for the room the more they are expecting to be pampered and the faster they expect to be served. 

#10 – Wait Time Checking in and out

People are often a little more patient with the checking in procedure than they are with the checking out procedure.  When they are beginning their voyage home, there is a very good chance that they may be a little grumpy that the vacation is over.  Also complicating the impatience of guests checking out is that they feel that paying the bill should be made as simple as possible for them.


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