Wyndham green

Wyndham Green Program

In Yellowstone National Park’s northern gateway community of Gardiner, Montana, two Starry Night properties – the Travelodge by Wyndham - Gardiner Yellowstone Park North Entrance and the Super 8 by Wyndham Gardiner/Yellowstone Park Area – offer visitors economical and sustainable lodging options.

Both properties are franchised under the Wyndham brand and certified through Wyndham’s internal Wyndham Green Certification Program.

Background on the Program

Wyndham had a twofold motivation behind launching the Wyndham Green program in 2019, according to Rishi Shah, Vice President of Global Sustainability & ESG for Wyndham.

“It was to provide a practical guide for hotels to implement sustainability measures at their properties so that they can help reduce operating costs, primarily their utility expenses, while making a positive impact on the environment,” he said.

“And then second, to get recognition for their sustainability efforts in order to show guests and prospective guests that there's a sustainable travel option to stay at.”

The program includes two parts: the internal Wyndham Green Certification and the Wyndham Green Toolbox. The toolbox is, “an online management system that allows properties to measure and track their environmental impact,” Shah said.

According to Shah, the certification itself is a progressive five-level program. Each level has 5-7 best practices per level, centered around sustainability. These include energy and water conservation, waste diversion, stakeholder engagement, responsible purchasing, or other operational measures.

When booking stays at participating Wyndham hotels, guests can find the Wyndham Green badge on the property’s page, making it easy to know what sustainability measures are in place at the hotel.

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Water-efficient flush fixtures in common areas

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Air sealing

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Lighting occupancy controls in low traffic areas

Cleaning product

Eco-friendly cleaning products

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Exterior energy-efficient lighting

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Water bottle refill station

Starry Night has been on board with the Wyndham Green Program since the beginning, according to Eric Sheckleton, co-owner of Starry Night Lodging + RV.

“In 2018, we purposely turned the newly acquisitioned Rodeway in Gardiner into a Travelodge. We did this because the Travelodge brand and its leadership seemed committed to steering the brand towards one of outdoor adventure and access to public lands like the national park,” said Sheckleton.

He remains a voice of sustainability within the Travelodge brand through his service on the Travelodge Franchise Advisory Council.

“Once Wyndham hired Rishi and created the Wyndham Green program, we were one of the first to jump on board and adopt it. I believe we were the first economy hotels to do so,” he said.

Tourism’s Eco-Friendly Challenges

In the 2023 annual Sustainable Travel Report from Booking.com, insights from 33,000 travelers from around the world showed that while 76% of travelers said they want to travel sustainably in the coming year, nearly half of respondents weren’t sure where to book environmentally friendly options.

It’s clear that sustainability is important to travelers, but when one in four travelers doesn’t trust that so-called sustainable options are really more sustainable, the tourism industry has a responsibility to address those doubts.

Building trust with guests through clear communication on sustainability measures can help counteract some of those concerns. Environmental initiatives like the Wyndham Green Program provide a clear framework to increase guest understanding around sustainability and make it easier for properties to prioritize sustainable measures in attainable ways.

“Our main focus is always on educating our team members so they can passionately educate our guests,” said Sheckleton. “We continually work to improve this process so we can help to make change one interaction at a time.”

Progress Update

Measures to increase sustainability across Starry Night properties are always in motion, and the brand continues its efforts to move up within the Wyndham Green program.

Upcoming initiatives include:

  • Choosing energy- and water-efficient appliances as replacements are installed

  • Using paperless checkout whenever possible

  • Working with rural communities to improve recycling options

  • Developing a relationship with a community garden in Gardiner to compost and share produce with the community

  • Installing Montana’s first solar RV carports in Bozeman, Ennis, and Butte to provide shade and address electricity needs

“While the Wyndham Green program is specifically for hotels and applies to our Super 8 and Travelodge properties, we also use these goals to help set priorities for our RV parks and vacation rentals,” said Sheckleton.