Sometimes big business can surprise you. While many hotels ignore public pressure to ‘go green,’ several establishments in and around Los Angeles, California, where one of the worst droughts in history rages on, are doing just that. Travel booking businesses are also promoting sustainability through recommendations of eco-friendly sites.
The Intercontinental Los Angeles, for example, is removing ivy plants from the balconies of more than 361 rooms and replacing them with drought-resistant succulents. The Courtyard by Marriott in Torrance just tore out 900 square feet of turf and flower beds, replacing them with California native grasses to reduce water usage by 15%. Intercontinental Hotels Group also plans next year to give all 4,700 of its hotels access to an online tool that lets managers track how much energy and water they are using.
During a multimillion-dollar renovation three years ago, the swanky Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles installed a filtering system to reuse bathroom water from a dozen hotel rooms to irrigate its 12 acres of gardens.
These hotels are going beyond industry ‘standards’ of just installing low-flow showerheads, or asking guests to reuse their bath towels, and changing their greenery to be more green. The eco-friendly image has become vogue.
Patricia Griffin, founder of the Green Hotels Association says:
“The best thing hotels can do is say ‘look at what we are doing’ to help the environment.’”
General manager of the Intercontinental, Steve Choe says that it isn’t about saving money, sine the changes they made at his hotel didn’t reduce costs, per se, but sending the right message to customers. (Though businesses do get government perks for going green.)
More people are willing to support this change in travel, too. Nearly 60% of travelers are planning on staying at eco-friendly places, and are even willing to pay more for them, according to TripAdvisor.
Even corporate travel managers are now asking that their workers stay at eco-friendly hotels because it is important for them to do their part to sustain the environment. It is also clearly good for the corporate image.
According to a new study by the Global Business Travel Association, the trade group for the world’s business travel managers, sustainability measures taken via travel are up 19%.
There is also incentive for hotels to make water-saving and ecologically-sound choices. Many utilities companies and government agencies offer incentives or rebates to hotels that adopt these practices.
When you make your hotel plans this holiday season (not just in California, but anywhere across the US or abroad), consider staying at an ecologically sound hotel. Here’s why your choice can help:
- Bathroom water usage accounts for 30% of all water use. Even though a long shower or bath is a luxury many of us want while we are traveling, consider only booking at hotels that conserve water or have installed grey-water systems.
- Landscaping and laundry consume water, too. Opt for hotels that have completed xeriscaping or have water-catchment systems in place. You may also consider hang-drying your clothes.
- Tell hotels where you stay that have made efforts to be more energy and water sustainable that you like what they are doing. Your voice goes all the way to the top.