Here at Native Place, we believe in keeping an equilibrium between providing a comfortable and welcoming place for our guests to stay, while respecting our local environment and the customs and traditions of the beautiful region in which we’re situated. We use smart architecture to regulate the temperature of our guest rooms, recycle wherever we can, source almost all our supplies from local producers, and use intelligent water systems to conserve this precious resource.
A growing trend
These measures, which used to be an exception to the rule, are starting to govern the ethos and selling points of many enterprises in the hospitality, giving birth to a new concept that’s rapidly gaining momentum: the ‘green hotel’.
Karen Moore, an environmental specialist with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, is one of the many to recognize the trend: “Ecotourism is really starting to catch on. It makes financial sense for hotels. The environmental movement in this country is growing, and it is already big around the world.”
Supply meets demand
So what’s causing this movement towards responsible vacationing? It may well be a generational shift that involves a significant group of today’s spenders, the Millennials, moving towards socially and environmentally responsible practices in general.
Family camping holidays are replacing the resorts of mass tourism; a trend towards healthy eating is replacing the convenience-food fashion of past decades; and people are expecting eco-friendly and environmentally respectful holiday accommodation.
“For the group of millennials that do consider themselves environmentalists or at least want to stay on the greener side, a hotel with green features is ideal in that they won’t have to sacrifice their healthy lifestyle routine on the road by being able to continue to conserve water, energy and more when they have to travel for personal or business travel,” says Brian McGuinness, senior VP of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.
Jenny Rushmore, TripAdvisor’s director of responsible travel, said that their research has revealed that more than 80% of guests expect hotels to have green practices.
Low tolerance for costs
Despite this desire for eco-friendly provision for travellers, it seems that vacationers aren’t willing to pay more for the privilege, and accommodation providers will have to find intelligent ways to balance the budget and respect the environment. “We hear a lot that sustainability is important to the traveller. However, there is zero tolerance for additional cost or any inconvenience for doing something,” says Denise Naguib, VP of sustainability and supplier diversity for Marriott International.