Being Environmentally Friendly – Why Should Hotels Care?

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For a long time, people thought of a green hotel as it being a small, family-owned place located somewhere in the distant wilderness. Of course since then, things have changed a lot and today, hotels are expected to show environmental awareness – like we expect our governments to care about the local and international environment. But is it realy just a pain for hotels to pretend to care about the environment or can they actually make money with a green policy? Or do they maybe really care?

Eco-Tourism

With a growing rate of over 5% of consumer spending, eco-tourism is the fastest growing market in the hospitality industry.In fact, being environmentally responsible has become a top trend in the hotel industry. You probably have already stayed in a hotel  that changed linen and towels only upon request or where the light switched off when you removed the key cards and left the hotel room.

Saving the World

With increasing environmental awareness of customers, these changes and new inventions are generally seen postitively by all guests because they feel good „saving the world“.A couple of years ago, these changes would have been seen as an inconvenience by the guests, but today guests apreciate these inconveniences and help hotels save an impressive amount of expenses by reducing energy, water, laundry or labor costs.

Making Profit

It seems obvious: the reason only a tiny percentage of new American buildings and retrofits aren’t green isn’t cost. It’s lack of ingenuity or knowledge of new construction techniques. Neal Pierce

And the money that can be saved does not stop here. According to Neal Pierce of the Washington Post, the reason why only a small percentage of American buildings are green is not cost, but a lack of knowledge. Today, constructing an environmentally conscious building costs only 2% more than an “old-fashioned” building. If expecting a life time of 20 years for the building, $50-75 can be saved per square foot – with a gain of more than 10 times compared to the 2% that were spend extra for the “green” construction. And consumers are already actively looking for these „green options“.

According to a research conducted by Trip Advisor in 2009, 58% of all clients are willing to pay more for an environmentally conscious hotel. Very interesting is that research has shown that clients of the Generation X are most open to the „green“ idea, and the largest number of frequent travelers is in this age group!

The Trendsetter

All large hotel chains have already introduced different „green“ programs, with Starwoord with it`s new Element brand probably being the most innovative. The new Element brand’s goal is for every hotel to be LEED certified. Its first property for example saves enough energy annually to power 236 homes!

 So, Why Should They?

Offering green programs is a win-win situation for both hotel guests and hotel operators. Guests are increasingly looking for these types of offerings, and hotels are finding that going green actually saves money. Linda Hirneise

All in all, we can say that going green is an economical and sustainable hotel trend that will eventually increase overall customer satisfaction – and therefore should be of interest to all hotels. Not only that, consumers expect individual hotels as well as hotel chains to be doing their part in the responsible use of resources. Hotels can only benefit by becoming „greener“ than their competition!

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Want to read more? My fellow blogger mrs1hell has been posting great articles on “going green”! Or how would you like getting to know more about Latin America`s economy going green? Have you ever heard of Green Banking? I am looking forward to your feedback!

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