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Sustainable Hotels

October 16, 2015
Harold Goodwin
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Green Hotels – Buyer beware

Consumers can make a difference by engaging with the hotel management about the way they run the hotel. You need to get beyond the label, ask about specifics and expect to see the evidence.

  1. Ask before you book.
  2. Ask when you check in?
  3. Ask while you are resident.
  4. Leave feedback and comment on the sustainability issues on-line and to your travel agent.

There are a few specific suggestions here – develop some expertise – be a smart traveller.

Want to know more? https://www.greenhotelier.org/category/know-how-guides/

Environmental Sustainability


  1. Do your rooms have aerated showers?
  2. Can I have a room with an aerated shower?

You can become a more informed consumer by becoming familiar with aerated showers – see https://ht.ly/suVil


  1. Do you recycle or reuse any of your waste?
  2. Does the hotel provide refillable toiletries or do they create waste with lots of packaging?
  3. Expect to have the choice about how often your towels and bed linens are changed. If your choice is not respected – complain to the management.


  1. When you book and check in ask for an eco- room?
  2. Is the TV and or the lights on when you walk into the room? Ask why?
  3. Is there a key card operated switch by the door? If not ask why not? If it has been over-ridden and left on, complain to the manager on duty?


  1. Ask whether the hotel’s grounds have been planted with local species and what birds and butterflies you might expect to see in the grounds


Social Sustainability

  1. Ask whether the hotel employs agency staff? If they do ask it they are paid the same as the staff on the hotel pay roll?
  2. Ask how many hours the room cleaners work and how many rooms they are expected to clean in a shift?

Economic Sustainability

  1. Ask what food & beverage and/or soft furnishings have been purchased with 10 km or 10 miles of the hotel? Ask for details and expect to experience them while you are in the hotel. E.g.
  2. Ask at check in, or when booking, how much the room attendants are paid per hour and how may rooms they are expected to service in a shift. You may be very surprised by the answers you receive.

If you have any suggestions to add to the list – please email using the contact form

Further Advice

responsibletravel.com lists accommodation which states clearly want is being done to make the property more sustainable – you can check out what they claim and demand a refund if they are not doign what they say they are

You can find advice about to be a greener a more responsible;le guest on the US Green Hotels Association website

What makes a hotel green? BA Highlife

Social Media

You can of course leave feedback about the environmental, economic and social performance of tourism businesses on their consumer feedback pages and on Trip Advisor and similar sites.

There are also various forums on Facebook

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