The American Hotel & Lodging Association recently completed an assessment of the green hotel industry. I’m a bit of a survey geek, so indulge me. As you can probably guess, the most common hotel eco-activity is “offering a linen reuse program”; 88 percent of the destinations surveyed had one. Also popular were recycling paper and cardboard, using CFLs, towel-reuse programs, staff eco-training, retrofitting showers to conserve more water, and tracking energy and water use. There’s much to improve on, however. Only 16 percent use sensor on thermostats to tell when guests are actually in the room. Only 18.9 percent recycle food waste. Only 23.4 percent use low- or no-VOC paints.
What can you do? I’ll make a deal with you: You ask if I ask. Consider that “building guest loyalty” tied with “environmental benefits” for the top reason hotels make green changes. If you’re a frequent guest at any hotel chain, make your eco-requests known. You’ve got more power than you think. I often stay at Hyatt hotels during business trips, and once every few trips, the manager will call in the evening to ask how my stay is going. Usually, I say, “Great!” and hang up. Next time, I’m going to suggest a few environmental improvements. I’ll let you know what happens.