Eco-friendly hotels are preferred by most travelers. // © 2013 Small Luxury Hotels of the World
In 2014, hotels can expect an increase in demand for green initiatives and luxury travel. Eco-friendly hotels are expected to become the norm in the next year and an increasing percentage of travelers are seeking luxury vacations.
Research released in April by TripAdvisor suggests that the majority of consumers have come to expect eco-friendly practices from hotels — it’s not a niche market anymore. Two-thirds (62 percent) of travelers expect hotels to have some type of environmental program in place and 58 percent of travelers said that they would either not pay more or would expect to pay less for a hotel with eco-initiatives. The survey found that only 17 percent of travelers would be willing to pay more for eco-features.
In response to concern that going green might negatively impact hotel bookings, the Cornell Center For Hospitality Research launched a survey of 9,000 hotels, analyzing their sales and rates. Cornell’s study, released in October, showed that sustainability efforts are, overall, revenue neutral for hotels.
“It was not possible to address the situation of any individual hotel, but we can conclude that going green is compatible with existing quality standards of hotel service and that advertising green status does not hurt revenues,” said Howard G. Chong, assistant professor at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration.
Luxury tourism is also trending in 2014. The results from Small Luxury Hotels of the World’s October survey indicated that, when asked to select just one luxury item, the majority of participants chose a luxury vacation (42%) over luxury items such as a new car. In Travel Leaders Group’s recent survey, which included 536 U.S.-based travel agency owners, managers and frontline travel agents who book luxury travel, 85 percent of respondents said that luxury hotel bookings are higher than or on par with last year’s figures.
While there has been concern among luxury hotels that green initiatives would undermine their luxury product, consumer demand for eco-friendly accommodations must be considered. According to TripAdvisor’s survey, 84 percent of participants said that eco-friendly efforts do not make their experience less comfortable or less luxurious. There is sufficient evidence that these two developing trends would do well to work together in 2014.