Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chain hotels lead the way in going green, analysis finds

Date:
October 25, 2011
Source:
Washington State University
Summary:
Chain hotels are doing a better job of going green than their independent competitors, say researchers. Their study found chain hotels are more likely to use energy efficient light bulbs; train staff to turn off lights, heaters and air conditioning in unoccupied rooms; buy in bulk to reduce packaging; use safer cleaners and chemicals; and give guests tips on how to save water and energy.

Chain hotels are doing a better job of going green than their independent competitors, according to a new analysis by Washington State University researchers.

The study, which started as an undergraduate honors project, found chain hotels are more likely to use energy efficient light bulbs; train staff to turn off lights, heaters and air conditioning in unoccupied rooms; buy in bulk to reduce packaging; use safer cleaners and chemicals; and give guests tips on how to save water and energy.

As a result, independent hotels may be losing a competitive advantage in drawing customers, says Dennis Reynolds, Ivar B. Haglund Endowed Chair in the WSU School of Hospitality Business Management.

1990s bring awareness

"I don't know if independents are as aware of the importance of being green today," he says. "If you have two hotels in a city at the same room rates, but one is green, are you going to pick it because it's green? Is that important to you or not?

"The preliminary research suggests that it is," he says. "I suspect a lot of independents haven't realized that yet in terms of the marketability, the importance, of attracting customers."

Hotels have the largest environmental footprint in the hospitality industry, using large amounts of water and cleaning chemicals and, unlike restaurants, keeping lights on through the night. But starting in the '90s, the concept of the "green hotel" began to spread through the industry, encouraging practices that saved energy and water, managed waste and educated guests about ways to help the environment.

Saving resources and money

"It's a smart practice for hotels," says Reynolds. "When it started, no one acknowledged that. They said, 'This is a green practice. We're doing it for the environment.' That caught on very quickly because, yes, it's good for the environment but it's also good for the bottom line."

Some hotels found greener building designs alone could cut 30-50 percent of their energy costs, a savings that for a full-service hotel could equate to as much as $6.75 on the daily room rate.

Similarly, a hotel can save on water and the energy to heat it by encouraging guests to reuse towels and leave a note to make beds without changing sheets. An added benefit is the hotel saves money on housekeeping.

Economies of scale

But when it comes to adopting green practices, particularly the low-cost ones, the chains are doing a better job, says the study.

"The main thing we saw for chain hotels was energy management: More efficient lights, using natural lighting versus artificial lighting, energy efficient light bulbs," Reynolds says.

A chain's centralized management and economies of scale make that easier, he says, even if similar steps can save a single, independent hotel as much in percentage terms.

An independent hotel owner might look at a $20 saving from energy efficient bulbs and say, "$20, I don't know," says Reynolds. "But if you're in a corporate headquarters overseeing 1,000 hotels, that $20 times 1,000 becomes a little more critical."

Expanding abroad

The study, which appears in the International Journal of Hospitality Management, began as the undergraduate honors thesis of co-author Stefani Svaren.

"For an undergraduate honors thesis, her effort was above and beyond," says Reynolds, who expanded on her effort with the help of Imran Rahman, a doctoral student in business administration with a concentration in hospitality business management.

In follow-up studies, Reynolds is looking at the more industrious environmental practices of hotels abroad.

"We're finding things in Asia where they're looking at energy management from hot water heaters to air conditioning units," he says. "They buy the more efficient unit up front.

"We've done the low-hanging fruit," he says. "Now what other practices could/should hotels adopt that will require an upfront investment but will have the return both financially and in terms of protecting the environment?"

Consumers catching on

Meanwhile, consumers can do their part by looking for greener hotels when they make reservations.

"That then supports the hotel's practices to be green and that spreads and becomes isomorphic -- everything becomes the same," Reynolds says. "We're seeing that in the chain restaurants and chain hotels.

"You start something, like family-style restaurants doing to-go orders," he says. "Applebee's started it and everyone else went, 'Ooh. That's a great idea.'"


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington State University. The original article was written by Eric Sorensen, WSU science writer. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Imran Rahman, Dennis Reynolds, Stefani Svaren. How 'green' are North American hotels? An exploration of low-cost adoption practices. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 2011; DOI: 10.1016/j.ijhm.2011.09.008

Cite This Page:

Washington State University. "Chain hotels lead the way in going green, analysis finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111025135940.htm>.
Washington State University. (2011, October 25). Chain hotels lead the way in going green, analysis finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111025135940.htm
Washington State University. "Chain hotels lead the way in going green, analysis finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111025135940.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Calif. Quake Underscores Need for Early Warning

Calif. Quake Underscores Need for Early Warning

AP (Aug. 26, 2014) Researchers at UC Berkeley are testing a prototype of an earthquake early warning system that California is pursuing years after places like Mexico and Japan already have them up and running. (August 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 26, 2014) Huge waves generated by Hurricane Marie hit the Southern California coast. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brazil Tries Genetically Modified Mosquitoes to Fight Dengue

Brazil Tries Genetically Modified Mosquitoes to Fight Dengue

AFP (Aug. 25, 2014) A factory in the industrial state of Sao Paulo produces genetically modified mosquitoes to fight dengue, a deadly tropical disease more prevalent in Brazil than anywhere else in the world. Duration: 00:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Prime Minister at Japan Landslide Site

Raw: Prime Minister at Japan Landslide Site

AP (Aug. 25, 2014) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Hiroshima on Monday as rescuers expanded their search for dozens still missing from landslides around the western Japanese city that killed at least 50 people. (Aug. 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins