Tell us about Outrigger Hotels & Resorts.
Outrigger Resorts & Hotels is a “toes-in-the-sand brand” with a bold mission to be the premier beach resort company in the world. We currently have 33 properties in Hawai‘i, Fiji, Mauritius, Thailand, and Maldives. Each of our resorts have five iconic elements, or brand pillars including: a renowned beach location, a must-see beach bar, an authentic live-music experience, signature experiences rooted in local culture, and a commitment to conservation.
Our corporate culture stems from a platform called The Outrigger Way – founded 30 years ago – it’s a tripod of authentically caring for host, guest, and place with our values as our guide. It serves as a compass for key business decisions and helps to ensure that we celebrate the host culture in every destination we reside.
What does sustainability mean to Outrigger?
As a premier beach resort company, Outrigger’s link to the ocean is unbreakable. Because healthy oceans make for healthy communities, many of our sustainability ESG (environment, social, governance) and sustainability initiatives as well as our partnerships are connected to ocean conservation. We recently presented a new plan with baseline metrics for ESG goals across all Outrigger Resorts & Hotels with programmatic approaches and specific KPIs connected to 23 initiatives. 2023 will be a year of executing this plan.
What innovation or accomplishment are you most proud of from a sustainability standpoint?
Since 2014, Outrigger has had a global conservation initiative called Outrigger ZONE (OZONE) that is dedicated to increasing coral health and resiliency in the waters surrounding our iconic beach destinations. The inspiration for this came from our Castaway Island, Fiji property where the Mamanuca Environment Society was one of the first to propagate coral from broken pieces. Today, Outrigger ZONE is activated through coral planting with guests, hands-on educational opportunities including our Coral Kids Clubs, beach cleanups, and more. Since this platform launched, we have preserved and protected more than 100 football fields of coral. Outrigger is also the pioneer Hawai‘i hospitality company to promote reef-safe sunscreen to its guests.
Outrigger ZONE continues to thrive today and has expanded to incorporate additional environmental initiatives including reducing energy, water, and waste.
Do your guests value your commitment to sustainability?
Outrigger has a number of ways that we involve guests with our green initiatives, depending on the unique attributes of the property and location. For example, at our newly transformed Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort, guests are welcomed with a re-usable beach bag and metal water bottle to refill during their stay to reduce plastic waste. The impressive artwork at the hotel entrance is made of plastic fishing rope that was discarded in the ocean and washed up on the Hawai‘i shores. This piece, created by artist and marine biologist, Ethan Estess, helps to ignite dialogue about the importance of sustainability and plastic reduction. At the A‘o Cultural Center, guests learn how sustainability was a way of life for Native Hawaiians and at our pool deck, complimentary reef-safe sunscreen is provided to help ensure that harmful chemicals don’t end up in the ocean.
Data shows that the share of eco-conscious travelers has risen consistently over the past decade and increasingly these consumers want to stay in sustainable accommodations. In post-stay reviews, TripAdvisor, and social media comments, we have seen an appreciation for Outrigger’s conservation efforts and that this is a factor in the high rate of return guests.
How about your staff?
Outrigger hosts are at the heart of our sustainability initiatives. Each property has Outrigger ZONE ambassadors that help to localize activities and programming for guests. Hosts participate in OutriggerCARES Volunteer opportunities each quarter that are connected with ocean health – this ranges from beach cleanups to the removal of invasive vegetation and re-planting native species. Our Fiji property has an environment officer, and our Maldives property has a marine biologist on staff at all times.
What do you value in your partnership with Green Seal?
Outrigger is proud to be the first in the State of Hawai‘i to earn the prestigious Green Seal sustainability certification for its properties, as well as the first hospitality brand to pursue the certification outside of the United States in Fiji and Mauritius. The Green Seal designation further solidifies Outrigger’s allegiance to meeting the highest standards of protecting the health and environment for its guests and hosts. It’s helpful to have a third-party review and validate the efforts that Outrigger is taking – especially in connection with reducing energy, water, and waste.
Additionally, our Green Seal certified properties show up as “Eco-Certified” in Google Travel hotel search results, making it easier for consumers to find and book a certified Outrigger property.
Outrigger is also part of the Global Hotel Alliance (GHA) – a collection of 40 brands with 800 hotels spread across 100 countries; the GHA DISCOVERY loyalty program is now launching a “Green Collection” inclusive of only green-certified resorts. Green Seal is one of only a dozen global certification programs that meet the standards required to be listed in the Green Collection.
What’s next for Outrigger?
Celebrating our 75th Anniversary this year, Outrigger is looking at implementing science-based standards that raise the bar on sustainability. With thousands of people coming through our resorts and hotels each day, we have an incredible opportunity to help educate our guests and make a positive difference. We’re committed to growing our barefoot luxury brand and investing in our people and the planet along the way.
Green Seal is a global non-profit whose certification mark is a universal symbol that a product, cleaning service or facility meets the highest benchmark of health and environmental leadership.