Agents' Choice 2020

LEANING TO GREEN

Since its launch 15 years ago, the Green Key Eco-Rating Program has watched the lodging industry gradually embrace and embed a culture of sustainability into its daily operations. This move towards greener practices is resonating with Canadian business and leisure travellers as noted by the Hotel Association of Canada (HAC) in its annual Travel Intentions Survey released earlier this year. The survey has been tracking the green tendencies of both business and leisure travellers since 2009. This year’s results show an increasing trend by the traveller to take specific “green”factors into consideration when making their travel plans. Baseline initiatives such as recycling programs and conservation efforts (water, energy) remain significant amongst respondents showing a 6% increase in importance from 39% in 2009 to 44% 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. In 2010, respondents were asked about the value of properties making eco-friendly products available to travellers (such as bathroom amenities). Year over year more than a third of leisure (30% in 2010 to 36% in 2013) and business (34% in 2010 and 36% in 2013) travellers have stated the importance of providing such products. Fifty-three per cent of leisure travellers cited the importance of hypo-allergenic rooms being available for their families. Environmental sensitivities, relatively unknown and largely misunderstood until recently, are on the rise. Sensitivities range in severity and can be triggered by factors such as deodorizing sprays, detergent residue and chemical cleaning products. 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% were agreeable to 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 % this year. The significance of environmental certification programs is on the rise as well with 26% of leisure travellers citing the importance of these programs compared to 22% in 2010.

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