Do Travelers Prefer Green Hotels
You step into your hotel room and notice several differences from other hotels in which you have previously stayed. You insert the master key into the switch on the wall as instructed, which turns on the electricity, water and heat/air conditioning. Since you need to take your key with you upon leaving the room, you must remove it from the switch, turning off all appliances, lights, water and temperature control systems.
The room remains at a comfortable temperature instead of blasting hot air non-stop, and although the heat automatically turns off when you leave the room, the area heats up quickly when you return.
Although you do not notice it because the bed is made nicely each morning, a sign informs you that the sheets are not changed daily. The lamps have energy-efficient bulbs; yet, they still provide plenty of light for reading and other activities. The shower has a low flow shower-head yet you welcome the decreased pressure that prevents the stinging needle-like sensation you are submitted to when showering in other hotels.
The porter who brings up your luggage informs you the artwork on the walls was created entirely from recycled materials and that the frames are made out of driftwood to save trees.
Yet even with all these mechanisms in place, you notice you aren’t any less comfortable than you have been when staying at other hotels.
There has been a significant increase in the number of people in the U.S. and worldwide who have placed a premium on the health of our environment and who seek to reduce the waste of resources. This does not mean a loss of common comforts but instead translates into balancing comfort with resource saving methods to maximize both elements.
Green hotels have been increasing in the U.S. because of successful efforts at educating the public on how to use easy methods to decrease wastefulness and related costs. Additionally, there has been a move toward a preference for environmentally friendly lodging options.
Advocates in the government also support eco-friendly hotels. Certain states like Florida and California require all state employees to stay in green hotels when traveling for business, and many of these employees state they also prefer to stay at green hotels when traveling for pleasure.
What are Green Hotels?
Green hotels are environmentally friendly lodgings where owners are committed to conservation efforts and to improving the well-being of everyone who enters the facility. Green methods protect the health of staff and guests by using non-toxic cleaning products, eliminating fumes, odor and toxins in the air and on any item that may be touched. The foods served in green hotels are frequently organic to avoid hormones, preservatives and other chemicals on or in the products used to create meals.
There are also a number of methods utilized in green hotels to conserve energy, water and waste.
Many wonder if such conservation efforts truly make a difference. When taking into account that official assessments of resource usage indicate an average size hotel uses more resources in a week than 100 families use in a year, the answer appears to be a resounding yes.
Energy Saving Measures
• Replacing older heating and air conditioning units with new energy efficient and environmentally friendly HVAC systems
• Leaving cards in rooms that ask guests to signify if they are willing to save energy by using towels and sheets more than once
• Installing solar panels to heat hotel common areas along with indoor pools and Jacuzzis
• Using energy saving light-bulbs
• Installing ceiling fans
• Installing skylights to use natural lighting, thereby decreasing the need for indoor lighting during the daytime
• Installing motion sensors for lights in public restroom, work-out facilities and meeting rooms
• Using “Lights, T.V. and HVAC Off” cards in rooms to prompt guests to turn off lights, television and air-conditioning or heat before leaving room
• Placing “Between Guests Sheet Changing” cards in rooms to inform guests that sheets are changed between guests not daily
• Using roof tiles that reflect sunlight to keep the hotel cool, reducing the need for air conditioning.
Water Saving Methods
• Low-flow showerheads and toilets
• Serving drinking water in restaurants on request only
• Toilet tank fill water diverters that decrease water use by almost a gallon per flush
• Placing “Water Conservation” cards in bathrooms to remind guests of best water preservation practices. It may also request that guests report water leaks to staff immediately.
General Measures to Avoid Wasting Resources
• Shampoo and soap dispensers that provide a limited amount of product by pushing a button, which in turn helps minimize the quantity of solid soaps and bottled shampoos that must be discarded after guest departs
• Recycling all items that can be recycled
• Avoidance of products that are packaged in a wasteful manner
• Placing recycling baskets in guest rooms
Traveler’s Worldwide Prefer Green Hotels
In addition to being good for the environment, green hotels are vastly preferred by travels compared to traditional, non-ecofriendly hotels. According to Travelocity, green hotels receive significantly higher ratings when compared to their counterparts. Based on their rating system of 1- 5 points, with five being the best, 94 percent of green hotels received a rating of 3 or more points while 82 percent of non-green hotels received at least 3 stars.
Since Travelocity’s rating system allows travelers to rate numerous aspects of their hotel stay, this indicates that green hotels do not care only about saving the environment but are also fully committed to providing guests with the best overall experience possible.
How to Find a Legitimate Eco-Friendly Hotel
When hotels began to experience questions from their guests regarding their conservation efforts, hoteliers quickly realized the need to get with the program or risk losing this new wave of consumers. However, as it can be very expensive to implement numerous green initiatives at once, a lot of “green washing” has started to occur, which has hotels affixing green, eco-friendly stickers to everything in sight.
The most reliable method of discovering whether a hotel is eco-friendly or not is to find out if it is certified by the Leadership in Energy Environmental Design program (LEED). LEED is a voluntary, third-party verification of eco-friendly buildings worldwide. A Master List of LEED certified hotels and resorts in the U.S. can be obtained through the U.S Green Building Council.
Where to Go From Here
From the survey data collected and reviews obtained, it is clear the green movement is more than just a passing trend. Evidence that the movement is here to stay includes the rising number of business visitors taking conservations ideas back to their companies. This has led many large corporations, including small and medium sized businesses, to institute environmentally friendly practices based on the recommendations of their employees.
Additionally, while vacationers continue to enjoy upscale amenities when traveling, most guests leave a green hotel fully satisfied with the services and their overall experience. Numerous reviews collected by several travel sites also indicate that guests who stay at eco-friendly hotels leave feeling as if they have contributed something to protecting the environment.
Furthermore, the efforts observed at green hotels are not only effecting individuals during the course of their stay. Many of these visitors stated they intended to implement some of the conservation practices at home.
Thus, green hotels have a significant influence on encouraging conservation efforts in the business world and in private households. Not only are these hotels positively influencing the environment through their own actions but also their efforts have resulted in a type of “Pay it forward” mentality among their guests who alter their conservation-related behavior and subsequently influence friends, family and co-workers to do the same.
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