Traveling is vastly more environmentally friendly today than it was even a decade ago – but you probably can’t even tell. Airlines are flying planes that have more fuel-efficient engines and are lighter in weight to save on the cost of fuel. Hotels are being designed more efficiently in their use of energy and water, and to reduce waste. Rental car agencies are choosing to offer more hybrid and electric cars from their fleets.
While some of these changes are being forced onto the industry because of the government, many companies believe that it’s just good business to become environmentally friendly. In fact, many customers are expecting businesses to be more aware of their carbon footprint. According to a 2012 TripAdvisor survey of 700 U.S. travelers last year, 57% said they tend to make eco-friendly travel decisions. However, price still seems to drive most travel decisions.
Although hotels have moved forward by giving guests the option of having their towels and linens changed every day, they aren’t stopping there. Many establishments are making an effort to become more sustainable by either building new green hotels, or retrofitting old properties to be more sustainable. Just five years ago, there were 18 hotels with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council. Last year, there were 198 LEED-certified properties. On average, green building use 26% less energy, emit 33% less carbon dioxide, use 30% less water, and produce 50% to 75% less solid waste.
Hotels also are implementing motion sensors, key cards that control lights, fluorescent bulbs and ceiling fans intended to save energy. To save water, many establishments are installing low-flow shower heads and low-flow toilets. Budget and luxury hotels are even putting in place company-wide recycling and waste management programs.
More than 2,250 of IHG’s hotels participate in the company’s “Green Engage” program, an online tool that helps the properties measure and report their energy, water and waste. They can see how they compare to each other and take actions towards improving sustainability. The program has helped hotels save 10% to 25% on energy costs.
By becoming green, you are not only luring in more eco-friendly guests, but you will also being saving yourself money. What actions are you making to improve your business’s sustainability? To learn how the Best Western MarketPlace can help improve your business and reduce spending, download our Enrollment Guide.