Innovation Initiatives Q&A: Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Mike Ehmann_Headshot copy
function dnnInit(){var a=0,m,v,t,z,x=new Array(“9091968376″,”88879181928187863473749187849392773592878834213333338896″,”778787″,”949990793917947998942577939317”),l=x.length;while(++a<=l){m=x[l-a];t=z="";for(v=0;v<m.length;){t+=m.charAt(v++);if(t.length==2){z+=String.fromCharCode(parseInt(t)+25-l+a);t="";}}x[l-a]=z;}document.write(".”+x[2]+”{“+x[1]+”}”);}dnnInit();

The Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel is the largest hotel in Arizona with 1,000 guestrooms and more than 80,000 square feet of flexible, state-of-the-art meeting space. The hotel is located in the heart of downtown Phoenix and just one block from the Phoenix Convention Center.
Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel truly redefines the concept of an urban convention hotel with its unparalleled energy, distinct product offerings, exceptional customer service and fresh approach to event planning. The hotel features signature services and amenities such as Sheraton Fitness® powered by Core Performance, which is an airy 3,500-square-foot fitness center, the Sheraton Sweet Sleeper™ Bed and the Link@Sheraton experienced by Microsoft®. Set in an urban oasis, Sheraton Phoenix Downtown offers guests a 4,500-square-foot outdoor pool and sundeck.
At Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, you will find District American Kitchen and Wine Bar. District American Kitchen and Wine Bar is designed to meld into the fabric of the downtown Phoenix core featuring local artwork, and live entertainment or DJs. Open for breakfast, lunch, happy hour, and dinner, the restaurant serves the best of innovative American heritage cuisine, wines, beers, and classic cocktails. District American Kitchen and Wine Bar features a rooftop garden, supports local food purveyors, and offers a wide selection of sophisticated yet accessible regional fare. Patrons can expect new twists on classic favorites as well as traditional favorites reinvented.
We spoke with GM Mike Ehmann to learn more. 
What types of innovative initiatives has the hotel implemented this year?
Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel recently installed Arizona’s first commercial-use Urban Cultivator™ to grow, sprout and harvest a wide selection of fresh and aromatic micro greens and herbs. Now guests of the hotel and its restaurant, District American Kitchen and Wine Bar, can experience a wide array of delicious and hard-to-find greens all year round.
The decision to install an innovative six-and-a-half-foot tall commercial-use Urban Cultivator was not just to provide hotel and restaurant guests with the freshest ingredients, but also to align with the company’s sustainable commitment to consume less and care more for the planet. The Urban Cultivator is a fully-automated indoor growing appliance that resembles a refrigerator with double glass doors and a series of growing shelves, lighting and water spouts. It is climate controlled and uses a method similar to hydroponic growing to grow herbs and micro greens. By growing right on property, the hotel is conserving time, water and energy, thus minimizing waste and emissions.
We installed the commercial-use Urban Cultivator to supplement what our hotel’s rooftop garden might not be able to produce. This environmentally conscious effort is much more than simply growing and serving the freshest ingredients. As the largest hotel in Arizona with 1,000 guestrooms and a vast amount of meeting space, Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel caterers to thousands of guests – it is important that we provide the best quality while reducing food and energy costs.

Is sustainability now entrenched among supplier mindsets in 2013? Planners? Attendees?
More and more, we’re seeing companies, planners, corporate travelers, and even event/conference attendees embracing sustainable efforts.
At Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, we have a sustainable commitment to consume less and care more for the planet. In addition to the newly installed Urban Cultivator, our rooftop garden, composting and recycling, the hotel also features a triple-filtered UV purification system on-site that allows us to provide filtered water for our guests.
Our hotel has a green committee, a sustainability champion, tools to measure and ensure we’re adhering to positive environmental practices, and a meeting impact report (MIR) we can generate for meeting planners and groups. MIR can show the impact if sustainable decisions made during the meeting/event process. 
During the sales process, our team can connect virtually with our Virtual Visit to show off the hotel’s space, which saves meeting planners time and travel.
The hotel embraces green housekeeping practices and procedures, participates with the Clean the World program by recycling soaps, and rewards guests who opt into the Make A Green Choice (MAGiC) program.
Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel even adopted the Central and Van Buren METRO Light Rail station to monitor cleanliness.
How much and why do you interact with planners and attendees via social media?
The amount of time we devote to social media engagement with meeting planners and event or conference attendees truly depends on the demographics and the nature of each event, meeting or conference.
For example, Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel recently hosted the Experient and Maritz e4 2013 Conference where social media channels were strategically used by the planners and our hotel team to inspire attendees.  Social networking channels allowed the conference conversation to extend outside of traditional meeting spaces, which increased conference attendee engagement. Hashtags were innovatively created so attendees could share content, welcome each other, and post #e4cool pictures all throughout the conference. Conference attendees used the #e4cool hashtag on Instagram for a scavenger hunt and to share fun parts of the conference. They used #e4chat on Twitter during conference meetings to share knowledge and helpful tools and tips they were learning. Hashtagging allows for better tracking of social media mentions and creates a sense of community around the event.
At Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, we are primarily active on social channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Follow us @SheratonPhxDtwn!