There’s an ongoing debate in the hospitality industry centered on the topic of greening. Some believe it’s no longer a question but an expectation. Others contend today’s customers may not fuss about the subject anymore, but they still look at a hotel’s initiatives before deciding where to book their business.
Now, a Travel Intentions Survey undertaken by the Ottawa-based Hotel Association of Canada, finds that, increasingly, today’s travellers take specific eco-friendly factors into consideration when making travel plans. According to the survey, baseline initiatives such as recycling programs and conservation efforts (water, energy) remain important amongst respondents, showing a six-per-cent increase in importance from 39 per cent in 2009 to 44 per cent this year. Implementing programs, where feasible, that address and promote these initiatives, gives simple yet prime opportunities for hotel operators to engage guests in contributing to the success of their sustainable goals.
In 2010, respondents were asked about the value of hotel management making eco-friendly products available to travellers (such as bathroom amenities). Year-over-year more than a third of leisure (30 per cent in 2010 to 36 per cent in 2013) and business (34 per cent in 2010 and 36 per cent in 2013) travellers stated the importance of providing these types of products. Meanwhile, fifty-three per cent of leisure travellers cited the importance of hypo-allergenic rooms. Environmental sensitivities are also on the rise and can be triggered by factors such as deodorizing sprays, detergent residue and chemical cleaning products.
Interestingly, a traveller’s willingness to pay to participate in a hotel’s carbon-offset program has also fluctuated over the past four years. In 2009, 48 per cent were agreeable to paying up to $5 per night to participate in such a program. This percentage dipped to the low 40s between 2010 and 2012 but reached a high of 49 per cent in 2013. Clearly, travellers see value in hotels that reduce the impact of operations on the health of their guests, staff and the planet. Participating in an environmental certification program can assist hoteliers in meeting expectations of those environmentally-minded guests while also paving the way for long-term improvements and savings.
In an effort to recognize green initiatives, this month, KML is pleased to present our Green Leadership Awards to two hospitality companies that make greening an important guiding principle in their operations. In the foodservice category, our sister publication, F&H, presents the Green Leadership Award to the Guelph, Ont.-based Neighbourhood Group of Companies, while Hotelier presents its award to Hôtel du Vieux-Québec in Quebec City. Congratulations to this year’s winners for making our planet a better place.
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