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6 “Green” Practices that Appeal to Eco-Conscious Hotel Guests

Eco-Conscious Hotel Guests

Adding sustainable practices and policies shows guests that your hotel management and staff care about not harming the environment.

More than half of global travelers (53 percent) surveyed by in 2021 said they want to travel with sustainability — responsible use of natural resources to help protect global ecosystems — in mind. In the United States, that number jumps even higher: 87 percent say that sustainable travel is important to them, according to a 2022 survey by The Vacationer.

Around 82 percent of those surveyed by The Vacationer say they plan to base their travel decisions on eco-friendly factors. And nearly three-quarters of respondents say they’d pay more if travel booked had practices that could lower the carbon footprint. In fact, 33 percent said they’d be willing to pay between $50 to $250 more to travel sustainably.

“Becoming an eco-friendly hotel is good for the balance sheet as well as your image, as many sustainable practices involve streamlining operations and improving efficiency,” according to hospitality technology company Operto.

Want to implement green elements, practices and policies to make your hotel sustainable? Here are six ways to appeal to eco-conscious guests.

1. Reduce plastic key card waste

More than half (53 percent) of global travelers told they’d like to reduce their waste, especially plastic waste, when traveling. To reduce plastic waste, replace key cards with keyless entry systems such as guests using their mobile phones to gain access to their rooms. Other options to eliminate key card plastic waste include smart locks and access codes.

2. Provide branded water bottles

Another way to reduce plastic waste is to stop or reduce guests’ use of disposable water bottles. “Give guests a reusable branded bottle and provide water dispensers around the premises instead,” suggests Operto.

3. Provide recycling bins

Operto recommends placing clearly marked recycle bins for plastic and paper at various locations around the hotel so guests know they can easily recycle their waste.

4. Reduce energy costs with “smart” features

U.S. hotels spend on average of $2,196 on energy per available room annually, according to Energy Star. Your hotel can reduce that cost by installing energy-efficient lights, guest-customizable thermostats and occupancy sensors for lighting and HVAC systems.

“Through a strategic approach to energy efficiency, a 10 percent reduction in energy consumption would have the same financial effect as increasing the average daily room rate by $0.62 in limited-service hotels and by $1.35 in full-service hotels,” says Energy Star.

“Energy efficiency provides hotel owners and operators cost savings that benefit the bottom line. Efficiency also improves the service of capital equipment, enhances guest comfort and demonstrates a commitment to climate stewardship.”

5. Offer guests linen options

To reduce water and energy use, let guests know that your hotel changes bed linens only every other day or for longer periods. Then offer them the option of requesting their sheets washed more often if they wish.

6. Get staff involved

Bringing staff into your hotel’s sustainability efforts gets staff involved in creating and maintaining sustainable practices, says hospitality technology provider Cvent, which recommends forming a “green team” and inviting employees to join and suggest eco-friendly practices.

“This gives these employees a sense of ownership of green strategies, and more commitment to long-term adoption. Don’t forget to acknowledge their efforts, such as with a small stipend, a special luncheon, or gift cards,” says Cvent.