Study finds gap in consumers’ green attitudes, actual behavior at hotels

Green initiatives has been an increasingly important issue when asking the question, “What do hotel guests want?”  According to a Virginia Tech study found on, a hotel guest interested in green initiatives may not follow environmentally friendly behavior at home.  The article shows differences in behaviors for recycling, conserving water, and conserving energy when respondents were at home and when they were at a hotel.  For example, while 60% of respondents recycle at home, 30% do so at a hotel.

When asked about green initiatives, the respondents said the following:

  • 75% thought hotels should use efficient or automatic lights
  • 60% said that Styrofoam should not be used at a serving container
  • 60% said they would be extremely likely to stay a hotel that changed sheets only when requested

Industry concerns that green initiatives might not follow through in revenue dollars are grounded.  The study mentions that while 54 percent of respondents agreed to the benefits of environmentally conscious behavior while in a hotel, only 35 percent said that they preferred to stay in a green hotel instead of a non-green hotel.  Although, guests may want green initiatives, they may not actually be willing to pay a premium for it.

It is important to note that the study only surveyed Virginia Tech students and the sample size is small.  Students are known for not really having any disposable income.  It will be interesting to see whether similar results could be found with a nationally representative sample.

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