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Hotels Face Challenges,

Opportunities in Going Green

OAKLAND, Calif., July 25, 2007 -- When Florida's Governor Charlie


Crist signed his comprehensive climate-change executive order last
week, one of the items on the list of new practices mandated that
state agencies must plan meetings and conferences at hotels and
facilities that meet the state's Green Lodging certification for
environmentally friendly practices.

The Executive Order launched what is likely to be boom times or


the state's Green Lodging Program, which currently counts 25
hotels certified under the program, and an additional 33 hotels
awaiting certification.

But two new studies of consumer behavior finds that even when a
hotel adopts energy and water-saving measures or other green
practices, hotel guests are more likely to waste resources at a hotel
than they are at home.

A survey of frequent travelers from Element Hotels, a new line of


hotels from Starwood Hotels & Resorts, found that 59 percent of
regular travelers admitted that their "green routines" often slipped
when they were on the road. Sixty-two percent said they use water
and energy less efficiently for the simple reason that they don't
have to pay for it. Seventy percent of the travelers surveyed said
they try to conserve water at home, but only 18 percent said their
same behaviors applied when they stay at hotels.
And as part of J.D. Power and Associates' 11th annual
"North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Study," respondents were
asked about the conservation programs in place at the hotels they
visited. Nearly a third -- 29 percent -- said they didn't know if their
hotels had a conservation program in place, and a further
27 percent were aware of the programs, but chose not to
participate.

The study found that older generations are much less likely to get
involved in green programs at hotels: only 33 percent of the
"Pre-Boomer" generation (those born before 1946) staying at
luxury hotels said they would participate in a conservation
program at their hotel, compared to 87 percent of Baby
Boomers (people born between 1946 and 1964), and 95 percent
of Generation Xers (people born between 1965 and 1976).

Among the most surprising findings of the survey, according to


Linda Hirneise, executive director of J.D. Power & Associates,
was the level of awareness about conservation programs at hotels.
Twenty-nine percent of respondents said they didn't know the hotel
had any conservation programs in place, which Hirneise said is
likely a failure to promote the programs rather than a lack of
having conservation programs at hotels.

Similarly, when asked what conservation programs did the property


have, 82 percent of guests said their hotel would change linens and
towels only by request, but the next highest response was the
35 percent who said their hotel used water saving toilets and
showers. "I think it really comes down to marketing and making
guests aware of what conservation programs are already in place,"
Hirneise said.

The survey from Element, tied to the launch of the new luxury
hotels, aims to make it easier for guests to stay green when they're
abroad. In addition to incorporating eco-friendly materials in the
buildings itself, Element hotels will exclusively use compact
fluorescent light bulbs and maximize natural lighting wherever
possible to save electricity, install low-flow faucets and toilets to
conserve water, and use shampoo and conditioner dispensers
instead of the packaging-intensive mini-bottles.

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