The 200-room Westin Jekyll Island in Georgia is offering groups a pay-it-forward sustainability program to meet the demands of environmentally conscious meeting planners. For those groups who agree to waive housekeeping services, Westin Jekyll Island’s green meetings program will make a donation to the island’s Georgia Sea Turtle Center, a sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation center.
“It’s an environmental double play,” says Kevin Baker, director of sales and marketing at the hotel. “By donating the fee to the turtle center, we’re doubling the impact of the brand’s Make a Green Choice program, which reduces water and detergent usage.”
Meeting planners who want to take it a step further can make an additional donation to the center to have staff members bring rescued animals to a networking event at the hotel. Alligators, turtles and even snakes will make a special guest appearance, adding an unexpected shock value, while staff members will educate attendees about the animals and the center’s environmental efforts. The turtle center can also organize private tours of its facility as well as arrange beach walks for groups looking to get outside the boardroom into the local natural habitats.
In addition to the sustainable programs, The Westin Jekyll Island was designed to meet LEED Silver standards to help reduce its impact on the barrier island’s natural surroundings. It’s situated in the heart of the island’s Beach Village project, which includes the 128,000-sf Jekyll Island Convention Center, restaurants, retail shopping and Great Dunes Park. The property also features its own 5,350 sf of indoor meeting space in addition to outdoor event spaces.