Green Key notes environmental sensitivities on the rise

OTTAWA—More than half of travellers are concerned with environmental sensitivities when planning trips, with 53 per cent of leisure travellers citing the importance of hypo-allergenic rooms being available for their families.

OTTAWA—More than half of travellers are concerned with
environmental sensitivities when planning trips, with 53 per cent of leisure
travellers citing the importance of hypo-allergenic rooms being available for
their families in the Hotel Association of Canada’s annual Travel Intentions
Survey released earlier this year.

Environmental sensitivities, relatively unknown and
largely misunderstood until recently, are on the rise, according to Green Key Eco-Rating
Program, an environmental certification program.

According to a news release, the travel intentions survey
showed an increasing trend toward specific green factors when making travel
plans.

Green Key has witnessed the lodging industry gradually
embrace and embed a culture of sustainability into its daily operations since
its launch 15 years ago, according to the release.

This move towards greener practices is resonating with
Canadian business and leisure travellers as noted by the travel intentions
survey, which has been tracking the green tendencies of both business and
leisure travellers since 2009.

Baseline initiatives such as recycling programs and
conservation efforts (water, energy) remain significant among respondents
showing a six per cent increase in importance from 39 per cent in 2009, to 44
per cent this year. Implementing programs, where feasible, that address and
promote these initiatives provide simple yet prime opportunities for hotels to
engage guests in contributing to the success of their property’s sustainable
goals, according to Green Key.

Survey respondents were asked about the value of
properties making eco-friendly products, such as bathroom amenities, available.
Year over year more than a third of leisure – 30 per cent in 2010 to 36 per
cent in 2013) and business (34 per cent in 2010 and 36 per cent in 2013 –
travellers have stated the importance.

A traveller’s willingness to pay to participate in a
hotel’s carbon offset program has fluctuated over the past four years. In 2009,
48 per cent were OK with paying up to $5 per night to participate in such a
program. This percentage dipped to the low 40’s between 2010 and 2012 but
reaches a high of 49 per cent this year.

The significance of environmental certification programs
is on the rise as well with 26 per cent of leisure travellers citing the
importance of these programs compared to 22 per cent in 2010. Travellers see
value in hotels that work to reduce the impact of their operations on the
health of their guests, staff and the planet, according to a Green Key Global news
release.