Monday, January 30, 2012

Hotels can drive growth through sustainability but consumer benefits are critical

MindClick SGM and announced the results of a study of 5,000 consumers conducted in early January 2012 that measures awareness, expectations and the impact of hotel sustainability efforts. The study revealed that consumers applaud such efforts, but need to better understand the tangible impact to their travel lives.

Over the past decade, hotels have implemented and promoted sustainability programs including greener operations-energy efficiency, water conservation and recycling, and green building through the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification program. With operational sustainability awareness levels at 80% among consumers surveyed, the industry has succeeded in telling at least part of the story.

This means that the concept of hotel sustainability is being factored into hotel purchase consideration. Hotel air quality is a prevailing consumer concern: four in ten consumers list indoor air quality as a highly important in their selection criteria. Hotels that promote higher indoor air quality earn higher favorability ratings among almost two-thirds of consumers surveyed.

At the same time, the study showed that there is a gap between how the industry communicates its sustainability efforts and the areas of sustainability that consumers see as important. On the one hand, emphasis on promoting the operational aspects of sustainability has resulted in high consumer awareness of energy efficiency, water conservation and recycling. At the same time, in spite of the fact that consumers see air quality as important, only one-third of those surveyed recalled promotion of indoor air quality as part of a hotel’s offering.
75% of the Expedia consumers surveyed completely agree that sustainability for hospitality should be defined as: building, furnishing and operating hotels in ways that are better for the guest, better for the community and better for the planet.

According to MindClick SGM CEO JoAnna Abrams, “By emphasizing the direct consumer benefits associated with sustainability, especially related to guest health and well-being, hotels have the opportunity to drive growth.”

She concluded, “Sustainability can be integrated into the design, construction, furnishing, and operations in ways that provide guests a better hotel experience while taking care of the community and our planet. Hotels and brands who figure this out first will have a significant competitive advantage in the marketplace.”

“As more and more people start to think about their impact on the environment when they travel, Expedia is here to help them find the right trips with sustainable hotels that share their values," says Joe Megibow, Vice President and General Manager, Expedia.


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