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Tripadvisor travelers say it's not easy being green

This article first appears on ehotelier.com on 20 April, 2009.

72% Question Hotel "Green" Practices;
44% Say Green Travel Options Hard to Find

TripAdvisor®, the world's most popular and largest travel community, announced the results of its environmentally-friendly travel survey of more than 1,200 U.S. respondents. Seventy-six percent of travelers sometimes incorporate green choices in their travel plans and 27 percent of respondents intentionally made environmentally-friendly travel choices in the past year. Fifty-two percent regularly find it challenging to incorporate "green" choices into their travel plans and 44 percent of travelers find that environmentally-friendly options are not readily available when traveling.

Being Green vs. Saving Green

Forty-five percent of travelers won't go green if it means spending more green. However, 27 percent are willing to spend $50 or more to be environmentally-friendly when traveling. Thirty-three percent of travelers would pay more for a hotel with an environmental certification, 27 percent said they would spend more dough on a hybrid rental vehicle, and 25 percent are willing to shell out more cash for a flight on an energy-efficient airline.

Eco-mmodations as Advertised?

Seventy-two percent of travelers think hotels are more interested in marketing themselves as environmentally-friendly than actually being green, while 10 percent think hotels are genuinely interested in being environmentally-friendly. Seventeen percent of travelers reported staying at a hotel that didn't live up to its eco-friendly promises.

Down to Earth Choices

In the past 12 months, 77 percent of respondents participated in a hotel's linen/towel re-use program, 45 percent walked, biked, or took public transportation as much as possible during a trip to be greener, and 17 percent took their eco-friendly actions to the skies and paid more for a direct flight to reduce carbon emissions. Twelve percent of travelers have stayed at a hotel specifically because of its green policies. Thirty-seven percent believe that hotels with eco-friendly policies are making a difference.

Top Five Most Important "Green" Hotel Practices*

  1. Recycling program- 74%

  2. Linen/towel re-use option- 73%

  3. Energy-efficient light bulbs- 71%

  4. Environmentally-friendly cleaning products- 60%

  5. Low-flow toilets/showerheads- 59%

Forgot to Check Their Carbon Footprint at the Door

Twenty percent of respondents said they don't worry about eco-friendly options when traveling because they believe vacation is a time to indulge. Fifty-eight percent of travelers admit to being more eco-conscious at home, compared to when traveling. Of the environmentally-unfriendly actions committed during their travels, 41 percent of travelers own up to leaving on the heat or air-conditioning when not in their hotel room, 37 percent indulged in long showers, and 24 percent confessed to not recycling and/or re-using plastic bottles and cans.

Paint the City Green

Twenty-three percent of travelers rank good air quality as the most important factor in making a city environmentally-friendly, 19 percent cite low or emission-free public transport, and 18 percent look for the use of alternative energy sources such as solar or wind power.

Top Three "Green" U.S. Cities*

  1. Portland, Ore.

  2. Seattle

  3. San Francisco

Top Three Least "Green" U.S. Cities*

  1. New York City

  2. Los Angeles

  3. Las Vegas

"Although travelers are interested in making environmentally-friendly choices, some are finding options to be scarce," said Michele Perry, vice president of global communications for TripAdvisor. "Still, travelers are discovering greener pastures with many even willing to pay more."

*According to the survey






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