First of all, thank you for your comments and feedback to my previous blog on energy waste in 5-star hotels!
Reading some comments, and my experience, raise the question: Do guests want green hotels? This may be a quite disruptive question. The same person who will answer with a definitive yes when asked at home may immediately complain when he or she arrives in a hotel and finds the room too cold or too hot and has no understanding if it takes too long to heat up or cool down. Well, humans are not logical by nature!
City hotels and resorts are different, as well. For guests of resort hotels of higher categories, environment and sustainability are of higher importance than for city hotels, especially business hotels (this may apply quite often to same person!).
For those hotels where the guest requirements regarding environment and sustainability are lower, there is a higher responsibility of hotel owners and operators to set and fulfill environmental standards. However, many hotels fail even with the simplest items.
Nowadays in almost every hotel you find instructions on what to do with your towels, including an appeal to save the environment by not changing your towels daily.
In most of the hotels I stay in – on almost all continents – the towels are changed daily, no matter if you hang them somewhere or drop them on the floor. In many – if not most – of the bathrooms, there simply is no place to hang your towel, if you do not want to have it changed. I wrote about this in a blog two years ago – I picked it up again, because for me this one of the most annoying things in a hotel. One of the reasons for this is staff training. If the management does not apply rules and training, it will never work.
Here we get to a point that was raised in several comments and which also correlates with my observations. If the GM does not care, the staff does not care. Of course this is the case for all activities and services provided by a hotel. It is especially true for environmental issues that are not cost-saving in the first place and require certain efforts.
If we want to save the environment and implement sustainability, we have to put pressure on hotel operators not just to develop guidelines and standards but also to implement them. What if Internet portals like Tripadvisor, Booking.com and others include environmental items in their valuations? If guests could comment and rate not only the service and overall experience in a hotel, environment and sustainability would get more attention.