Eco-friendly certifications: Many passengers claim they would prefer to stay in eco-friendly hotels, but a recent study reveals that accommodation establishments are not financially rewarded for obtaining accreditation for green business practices.
Findings about Eco-friendly certifications
Researchers evaluated financial data from hotels over a five-year period with and without third-party audits for activities including energy conservation, water conservation, and recycling. Although presenting comparable pricing information and teaching customers about what green certification implies should increase future sales, researchers said, the green-certified hotels did no better than hotels without the certification.
According to Christina Chi, professor of hospitality business management at Washington State University’s Carson College of Business and the study’s lead author, “Our work explores the gap between customers’ intent to visit eco-friendly hotels and where they are reserving nights.” This is a crucial issue for the tourist sector, which is under pressure from both inside and outside the industry to become more sustainable.
Eco-friendly certifications do not financially help hotels: Study
According to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change, hotels and air travel are energy-intensive components of the worldwide tourist and hospitality business, which is a large emitter of greenhouse gases. According to recent estimates, tourism and hospitality are responsible for 5% to 8% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. That percentage might increase to 22% by 2050.
According to Oscar (Henguxan) Chi, the study’s co-author and an assistant professor at the University of Florida who conducted the research while pursuing his doctorate at WSU, “the tourism business both contributes to climate change and suffers significantly from it.”
He claimed that “rising sea levels, wildfires, and other extreme weather occurrences are harming tourism sites and changing the terrain.” We may observe the effects of the disappearance of sandy beaches, the poor air caused by the smoky sky, and the flooding of historical and cultural places.
However, Oscar Chi asserted that providing financial incentives to hotels to invest in third-party accreditation for environmentally friendly business operations works best.
Three crucial hotel performance indicators were examined for the study: occupancy rates, average daily rates, and income per available room. They made use of Smith Travel Research data from 2015 to 2019 which showed how 1,238 hotels around the country performed operationally.
Green Seal Hotel Certificates, Green Key, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the US were used to certify half of the properties. council for green buildings. Half of them did not. Both groups of hotels had equivalent locations, sizes, and amenities, and similar performance measures.
Interestingly, according to Oscar Chi, “the idea of green hotels used to be fairly popular, and hotels actively promoted their credentials.” These days, hotel advertisements and websites hardly mention green labels. Properties discovered they weren’t helpful in generating money and might even be a hindrance.
The survey refuted the perception of potential guests that green-certified hotels were more expensive than ordinary accommodation. People also questioned whether green certification was a marketing gimmick and was unclear as to what it represented.
A follow-up survey of 440 people on the crowdsourcing website Amazon Mechanical Turk found that survey participants were more willing to book nights at green-certified hotels when they advertised their rates alongside rates for comparable hotels. Bookings increased due to the information being provided about how green certification lowers energy and water use.
According to Christina Chi, “Our research demonstrates that it is possible to convert customers’ intentions to “become green” into actual sales. “These methods could lead the travel and hospitality sector toward a more sustainable path, in addition to providing financial support to green-certified hotels.”
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