Hotels that go green gain no booking advantage – LA Times

LEED-Certification-LogoInteresting article in the LA Times from Hugo Martin.  According to a recent study by Cornell University’s Center for Hospitality Research, green hotels (such as certified LEED hotels) do not have an advantage when it comes to attracting guests.  From the article:

Going green may be a hot trend in the hospitality industry, but hotels that earn environmental certificates do not have an advantage when it comes to attracting guests.

The finding comes from a study published recently by Cornell University’s Center for Hospitality Research. The study compared booking revenue at 3,000 eco-certified hotels with 6,000 other properties in North America. Environmental certificates include the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, or LEED, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

While the reason is generally unclear, there are a few guesses.  From the article:

The report suggested that going green might attract guests who support such environmental efforts, but other hotel guests might worry that their comfort will be sacrificed at hotels that cut back on resources.

This makes sense to us.  We often forget that the majority of travelers rarely book hotels.  Many guests only stay in a hotel once every year or two on a vacation trip.  They can easily be intimated by the unknown.  Some guests can easily see a ‘green’ hotel and assume that amenities such as a swimming pool are not available.  The only 3 comments posted on the LA Times article range from “if a product or service claims to be green, I avoid it” to “your green initiatives are a nice I’m doing my part feeling but the customer doesn’t really care about what you do”.

Our take: while we love being green, it is still a very, very small audience to appeal to.  Be sure you are also highlighting your hotel’s full list of amenities also!

Source:  LA Times Article