Visit to Melià Hotel International in Milan
  • publication: 9 January 2017

AIHR RG Sustainability in Hospitality and Tourism

Visit to Melià Hotel International in Milan

By Elena Cavagnaro

This newsletter has already dedicated attention to the new book edited by Conrad Lashley. One chapter of this book has been written by me on the basis if interviews with managers of Meliá Hotel International. It is dedicated to their project 'Hotel with six stars' aimed at training six young people with the Down syndrome for a position in one of Meliá seven Italian hotels. Unique to this project is that it is grounded on Meliá sustainable strategy and that it engages these young people in all hotel departments - including positions of high visibility to guests such as the check-in desk.

To thank Palmiro Noschese, area manager, and Alessio Previde, GM of Meliá in Milan, I presented them with a copy of the book during a short visit to Milan on December the 22nd. It has been not only an occasion to thank them and wish them a good Christmas, but also to renew our relationship and share information on the latest developments at Meliá and Stenden AIHR.


Meliá approach to sustainability has been until now more cantered on the social than on the environmental dimension. Meliá attention has been to weak people, such as people with a handicap or older people. Meliá is also renown for its social policy towards employees, with a resulting very low turn over (5% in the premise I was visiting). Interestingly now they have embraced also environmental sustainability, focussing on two different but interrelated themes: energy reduction and local suppliers. Somehow Meliá has followed a path that is the opposite of the one usually followed by hotels that engage with sustainability.

Alessio Previde informed me that the next step in F&B will be not only to review suppliers in the context of the new policy regarding the use of local ingredients, but also to redesign the menu with the aim of better catering for the wishes of the younger guest on one side and reducing food waste on the other. Here we envisioned a possible collaboration with AIHR research group Sustainability that has recently been engaged with a project on reducing food waste with ACCOR, a project supported by the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Being trained as a chef, Alessio Previde expressed interest in Albert Kooy the New Dutch Cuisine concept, and offered to read and comment on the chapter I am writing on sustainable F&B for the book 'Guests in Earth, Sustainability in Hospitality'. I am very glad for this offer because I am sure that Alessio Previde’s expertise and understanding of sustainability in F&B will greatly enhance this chapter.

Finally, I extended to Alessio Previde and Palmiro Noschese an invitation for the AIHR congress, and handed to Alessio Previde alongside a copy of the book also a copy of our journal in Hospitality Management Research (see photo).