The revolution is here, and it's green. But get packing -- this movement is on vacation as travelers increasingly demand green lodging options.
Words like "global warming" and "sustainable" -- once just techno-jargon -- are now in the mainstream as the environmental movement takes new shape and a sharper focus.
We're reducing carbon footprints. Decreasing chemicals. Increasing organics. We're protecting the earth's natural resources and saving the planet. And not just on home turf, but with suitcases and hiking shoes as we travel the globe.
What is Green? What does green really mean? In short, going "green" means to change everyday habits as a way to preserve the earth for future generations.
In the lodging industry, green practices have been slow but increasing. Several years ago, scores of hotels implemented on-demand towel and sheet laundering as a way to reduce water and energy consumption. A TripAdvisor.com survey recently reported that nearly 80 percent of worldwide travelers willingly take part in such programs.
And it's a good thing as hotels are large consumers of resources. Studies show that average hotels use over 200 gallons of water per day, per room. And the hospitality industry spends $3.7 billion a year on energy.
Those numbers add up quickly, making recycle-the-sheets programs a meager but noble start.
Travel in good conscious Travelers don't want to leave their sustainable practices at home, notes Glenn Hasek, editor of Green Lodging News, an online newsletter dedicated to greening the hospitality industry. "People recycle at home," he says. "They use compact fluorescent bulbs, and they expect to see the same on the road. In fact, they are disappointed if they don't."
Studies show that travelers are eager to go green, and are willing to pay more to do so. The TripAdvisor survey reports that nearly 70 percent of travelers believe environmentally-friendly measures in lodging are making a difference. Over 30 percent said they would pay more to stay at an environmentally-friendly hotel.
GreenVacationHub offers green portal. Lisa Gray, founder of http://www.GreenVacationHub.com, agrees with the survey results. GreenVacationHub.com is a global guide that links travelers with accommodations that emphasize good health and green practices. At the Hub, travelers can conduct detailed searches to find accommodations to fit specific needs -- from luxury smoke-free hotels, to remote eco-tourist destinations.
Created earlier this year, the Hub is experiencing rapid growth with more than 200 comprehensive, international listings of green accommodations. Hotels span the globe and a variety of green practices -- from a straw-bale house in Montana, to intimate bed and breakfasts in New Zealand, and eco-tourism destinations in Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
Lodging providers conduct a self-evaluation covering six environmental areas: energy efficiency, water efficiency, recycling, air quality, food, and fragrance-free. Accommodations are both remote and urban, spare and luxurious, mom & pop and corporate. For example, Kimpton Hotels, a collection of upscale boutique hotels, recently listed 40 of its EarthCare sites on GreenVacationHub.
Gray is thrilled to see the breadth of Hub members. "We encourage places that are transforming to more earth-friendly actions," she explains. "We want to reward accommodations for making efforts toward sustainable practices. And as surveys indicate, rewards -- for travelers, hoteliers and the planet -- come in all shades of green. Contact: Lisa Gray, founder, Green Vacation Hub www.greenvacationhub.com, email@example.com