SELLING GREEN | COVER STORY
IT’S A RARE HOTEL, THESE DAYS, THAT DOESN’T ASK ME TO HELP SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT BY HANGING UP MY TOWEL AND REUSING IT THE FOLLOWING DAY.
hotels may be
guilty of misleading
endeavors, a practice
known as “
greenwashing,” there are
certainly plenty of
who are making great
strides to become
better stewards of
That’s no problem for me. I hang the towel, proud
of the resources I’ve just conserved. Sometimes
I’m such a good green traveler, I even hang the “do
not disturb” sign on the door, ensuring the housekeeping staff won’t use precious resources to clean
my room when it’s not needed. I even carry my
own shampoo and soap because I hate opening
a full-size bar of soap for one or two uses, and I
already have enough half-used hotel products at
home to last beyond my lifetime.
But when it comes to a real test of my com-
mitment to green travel, I fail with flying colors.
For never once have I sought out a travel product
based strictly on its green policies.
It seems I’m in good company, however, when
it comes to my mixed travel consciousness.
A recent poll of Travel Leaders advisors,
conducted for TravelAge West, found that two-
thirds of the responding travel agents have never
had clients request green travel options.
When it comes to attitudes about green travel,
however, some 44 percent of U. S. travelers do consider environmental impact to be “somewhat”
or “very” important to them in the travel planning process, according to the 2009 study “Going
Green: The Business Impact of Environmental
Awareness on Travel,” conducted by leading hospitality research firm PhoCus Wright.
So why is it that although almost half of U.S.
travelers acknowledge the need to be better
stewards of the environment when traveling, that
knowledge isn’t translating
into actual demand?
Richard Hertzog, owner
of Travel Leaders in Bur-
lington, Lynnwood and
Mukilteo, Wash., said,
“Although people may be
well intentioned, price has
been the driving factor par-
ticularly during these last
said they would be willing to pay some sort of pre-
mium for proven green travel options.
Are We Being ‘Greenwashed’?
When it comes to his client’s green travel habits, Robbert van Bloemendaal, owner of Travel
Van Bloemendaal is not
alone in his distrust of green
policies set by suppliers.
Some 56 percent of those
polled in the PhoCus Wright
study said that they are
skeptical about what companies tell them about their
While some hotels may
ARE ANY OF YOUR
CLIENTS INTERESTED IN GREEN
HOTEL/ RESORT OPTIONS?
Yes, all of my clients.
Yes, a majority of my clients
. 4 percent
Yes, many of my clients
Yes, a few of my clients
28. 4 percent
Does Price Matter?
Responses to the PhoCus-
Wright study seem to agree
The study revealed that
67 percent of respondents
found cost to be the most
commonly identified barrier when it comes to traveling green.
Conversely, however, the
same study also found that
nearly one-third of travelers
No, none of my clients