Sustainability sounds nice in theory, but the reality is travelers care a lot more about other features hotels offer that really determine whether or not they'll book.
The hotels telling guests to reuse bath towels and not waste water are definitely on the right track: an estimated 52% of global travelers indicate they’re likely to choose a hotel and destination based on its social or environmental impact in 2015.
They’re also three times more likely to book ‘green’ or environmentally-friendly accommodations in 2015 versus 2014, a Booking.com sustainable travel survey found. Booking.com asked 32,000 travelers from 16 countries about their attitudes towards sustainable travel and only 10% said they took a sustainable trip in 2014. While these respondents seem interested in sustainable travel that doesn’t mean they’ve actually booked these accommodation types en mass, at least not yet.
What they want to book, though, are luxury accommodations as this group said they’re 50% more likely to book luxury in 2015 than they did last year. This apparent association between luxury and sustainability aligns with a Cornell University study which found U.S. hotels that are LEED-certified, or those that meet certain sustainability criteria, skew toward upscale and luxury properties.
Booking.com insists traveling sustainably “isn’t exclusive to a specific traveler type,” but its survey finding suggests there could be a connection between luxury and sustainable travel.
Brazilian respondents were most interested in sustainable travel, with 74% reporting that they’re likely to base a decision on these concerns. At the other end of the spectrum, only 36% of Danish respondents and 39% of Dutch respondents said their plans would be influenced by hotels’ potential social or environmental impacts. Australians (59%) and Americans (53%) were also among the world’s top sustainable travel intenders.
The booking site said it doesn’t have data available to compare actual bookings at sustainable properties to survey respondents’ reported intentions. But another study found booking revenues neither increased nor decreased for hotels once they became green-certified.
Photo credit: The LEED gold-certified Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg, Oregon. Inhabitat Blog / flickr.com