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Kimpton Hotels: Balancing Strategy and Environmental Sustainability
Questions for discussion:
1. Explore whether there is a ‘business case' for Kimpton's environmental sustainability initiative, its EarthCare program:
a. What are the costs and benefits associated with the EarthCare program?
b. Based on these costs and benefits, how might you justify the program to investors?
c. Is it necessary for there to be a ‘business case' to justify implementation of the EarthCare program?
2. In your opinion, does Kimpton's EarthCare program involve any potential risks to their business model? For example, could the eco-initiative adversely affect customer perceptions, general manager autonomy, or costs?
3. To what extent does the EarthCare program have marketing value? Would you actively promote the program? If so, how? If EarthCare lost its marketing value would you continue it?
4. How would you measure the success of the EarthCare program?
5. Would you require each potential product to stand on its own, meeting the criteria that it cost no more than existing products? Or should the greening program be treated as a whole, with some products allowed to exceed existing costs as long as the entire program is "cost-neutral." What are some advantages or disadvantages of each approach?
6. How would you "institutionalize" Kimpton's environmental sustainability initiative? If Michael Pace or other key personnel leave Kimpton's or are unable to devote their time and enthusiasm, would the program continue? How could the company keep it from eventually losing steam?
7. What do you see as the primary challenges in implementing Phase II and III? How would you address those challenges?