When it comes to environmental behavior, don't leave home without it

Would you pick a hotel based on green practices? Virginia Tech survey suggests many travelers leave their environmental habits at home.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor on

Already been in two different hotels for business in the last week and on my way to the third. Therefore, I've had a chance to experience firsthand the attitudes and approaches that different hotel chains take toward environmental responsibility. I wrote about an eco-centric hotel chain started by Starwood a couple of months back, but it's the actions of the big chains that I'm thinking about right now.

For example, did you know that some of the Sheraton properties (like the one I stayed in last week in Denver) will give you a nominal coupon for foregoing unnecessary housekeeping? I just earned one while I was there for a conference. Of course, I also managed to leave the room at least two times without turning off the lights, so I kind of negated that gesture.

Turns out many travelers tend to be forgetful about their eco-habits when they're away from home, suggests a recent survey of approximately 260 graduate and undergraduate students at Virginia Tech's Pamplin College of Business. Slightly more than half of the respondents agreed that they SHOULD exercise responsible environmental practices while staying at a hotel. More than three-quarters thought there should be energy-efficient lighting or sensored lights installed on hotel properties and about half though automatic sinks were appropriate. But only one-third indicated they were seeking out hotels explicitly for their green positioning.

Here's a link to the article, courtesy of Green Business and originally published in Green Lodging News.

Of course, business travel is way down over the past 12 months, although that is as much or more to do with the economy as it is to do with corporate green agendas. But when things begin to turn around, hotels and motels could benefit from reminding people about simple things they can do to do their part. My husband and I almost always forgo housekeeping, as an example, except maybe once during a week-long stay. You don't change your towel every day at home do you? Why should a hotel be any different?

Note to Motel 6: You might want to rethink that slogan "We'll leave the light on for you." It certainly is a friendly motto, but one that isn't necessarily environmentally-friendly.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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