Eco-certifications don’t help hotels financially: study

Eco-friendly certifications: Many passengers say they would prefer to stay in eco-friendly hotels, but a recent study reveals that accommodation establishments are not financially rewarded for obtaining an eco-friendly certification. green business practices.

Findings on eco-responsible certifications

The researchers assessed hotels’ financial data over a five-year period with and without third-party audits for activities such as energy conservation, water conservation and recycling. Although presenting comparable pricing information and educating guests about what green certification entails should increase future sales, according to the researchers, hotels with green certification did no better than hotels without certification.

According to Christina Chi, professor of hotel business management at Washington State University’s Carson College of Business and lead author of the study, “Our work explores the gap between guest intent to visit eco-friendly hotels and where they book nights”. This is a critical issue for the tourism sector, which is under both internal and external pressure to become more sustainable.

Eco-certifications don’t help hotels financially: study

According to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change, hotels and air travel are energy-intensive components of global tourism and hospitality activity, which is a large emitter of greenhouse gases. According to recent estimates, tourism and hotels are responsible for 5 to 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. This percentage could increase to 22% by 2050.
According to Oscar (Henguxan) Chi, co-author of the study and assistant professor at the University of Florida who conducted the research while pursuing his doctorate at WSU, “the tourism industry contributes to both climate change and suffers greatly from it.
He claimed that “sea level rise, wildfires and other extreme weather events are harming tourist sites and changing the terrain.” One can observe the effects of the disappearance of the sandy beaches, the bad air caused by the smoky sky and the flooding of historical and cultural places.
However, Oscar Chi claimed that providing financial incentives for hotels to invest in third-party accreditation for eco-friendly business operations works better.
Three crucial hotel performance indicators were examined for the study: occupancy rates, average daily rates and revenue per available room. They used data from Smith Travel Research from 2015 to 2019, which showed the operational performance of 1,238 hotels across the country.
US Green Seal Hotel, Green Key, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certificates were used to certify half of the properties. advice for green buildings. Half of them didn’t. Both groups of hotels had equivalent locations, sizes and amenities, and similar performance metrics.
Interestingly, according to Oscar Chi, “the idea of ​​green hotels used to be quite popular and hotels were actively promoting their credentials”. These days, hotel advertisements and websites barely mention green labels. Properties have discovered that they are not helpful in generating money and may even be a hindrance.
The survey refuted the perception of potential customers that certified green hotels were more expensive than ordinary accommodation. People also wondered if the green certification was a marketing gimmick and didn’t know what it stood for.
A follow-up survey of 440 people on crowdsourcing website Amazon Mechanical Turk found that survey participants were more likely to book nights at eco-certified hotels when they advertised their rates alongside hotel rates. comparable hotels. Bookings increased due to information provided on how green certification reduces energy and water consumption.
According to Christina Chi, “Our research demonstrates that it is possible to convert customer intentions to ‘go green’ into actual sales. “These methods could lead the travel and hospitality sector towards a more sustainable path, in addition to providing financial support for hotels that are certified green.”

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