According to a recent national survey conducted by the Travel Industry Association (www.tia.org) and Ypartnership (www.ypartnership.com), nearly nine out of ten American adults surveyed claim to be environmentally conscious, noting that they turn off the lights when leaving a room, regulate air conditioning and heating temperatures when not at home and recycle. As more and more Americans jump onto the green initiative band wagon, many hotel operators are following suit as well by applying a wide variety of green implementations. In fact, 21 percent of hotels are planning to incorporate Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) standards into their properties within the next 12 months, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association's (AH&LA) (www.ahla.com) 2008 Lodging Survey. Yet the question remains: Do these environmental concerns really represent a market opportunity for the hotel and travel industry? The answer is yes.
"The people who love it really love it and the people who are into it are very for it," says Yuan Sing Chang, VP of development for the Atman Hospitality Group (www.atmanhospitalitygroup.com), owners of the Gaia Napa Valley Hotel and Spa, a Gold-LEED certified hotel. "It seems that from the last three to four years the awareness has completely switched and people are willing to pay for it. Three-to-four years ago, there was a small percentage and now there are more people. There is a big majority there."
This sentiment also extends to the travel industry in general. Ypartnership/ Yankelovich's 2008 National Travel MONITOR also notes that four out of ten leisure travelers would probably select an environmentally friendly travel supplier if they knew about the supplier's commitment to the environment, with nearly half stating that they are willing to pay higher fares or rates for
the services provided by such suppliers.
Linen and towel reuse programs and in-room lighting and temperature energy conservation are the top ways that hotels are leading a green life, according to AH&LA's Green Assessment Survey, noting that the purpose of which is to not only preserve the environment, but to build guest loyalty.
For more information on the many green initiatives and how the hotel industry is taking great strides to meet LEED standards, visit www.htmagazine.com and be sure to read our 2008 July/August issue's cover story, "Green Hotels."