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Green Sans Greenbacks

Carol Sottili

So we all want to do our part to save the planet when traveling, right? We hang up our towels in the hotel and use them again. We turn out the hotel room lights upon leaving the room. We take advantage of any recycling program offered. Well, maybe we're a little more willing to do the green thing when it doesn't impact our pocketbooks, according to a recent survey.

The survey by the Travel Industry Association and Ypartnership concluded that only 13 percent of travelers would be willing to pay higher rates or fares to suppliers who "demonstrate environmental responsibility" and only 14 percent would choose a travel service provider based on their green track record.

But Americans want to do the right thing. Eight out of ten of the 2,296 travelers surveyed consider themselves "environmentally conscious." More than half said they "might" pay higher rates or fares to use an airline, rental car company or hotel that takes green initiatives. "The 'value assessment' consumers ascribe to any travel service transaction appears to remain the primary determinant of their actual purchase behavior," said Suzanne Cook, TIA's Senior VP of Research.

So what's your take? Do you follow green initiatives that don't cost money (i.e. using the towels again), but balk at paying extra for carbon emission offsets? Would you pay more to rent a hybrid car? How much more would you spend to stay at a hotel that has done everything possible to minimize its impact on the beach/forest/jungle etc.?

By Carol Sottili |  October 9, 2007; 7:57 AM ET  | Category:  Carol Sottili
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I try to use towels again - but, normally, the cleaning crew replaces them with new towels - regardless of how well they're hung / folded.
"Carbon emission offsets" - these should be factored in to the cost of business; it would be easier if the consumer didn't have a choice (actually paying for what you get / impact...surprise).
I would pay ~10% more to rent a hybrid car and am looking forward to the day hybrid mini-vans are available in the U.S. (yes, Toyota has made one for a few years)

I would pay ~10% more to stay at an environmentally conscious hotel. BUT, as above, these costs should be factored into business across the board.

Posted by: Alexandria, VA | October 9, 2007 9:02 AM

I balk at paying extra for carbon emissions offsets because I think they're bulls--t. I mean, extremely well-meaning, and I'd love it if some day there's a way to verify that offsets work the way they're supposed to, but I just think they aren't there yet.

Posted by: h3 | October 9, 2007 11:21 AM

I think it would be great if the Travel gurus could do some research about whether towels are reused or replaced, etc. I feel like the message doesn't get down to the housekeeping staff even though every hotel room has a card asking you to reuse towels.

Posted by: SSMD | October 9, 2007 1:51 PM

We have found also that even if you want to reuse your towels, that the staff will replace them. On our last trip we put a 'Do Not Disturb' sign on the door ... that way we were assured that we used the same sheets and same towels.

Posted by: patpod | October 9, 2007 4:32 PM

I am paying for fresh towels and sheets and I will use them.

Do I care about future generations heck no!
Global warming will help my arthitis as I age. Therefore I am leaving as big a carbon footprint as I can. My Ferrari gets 12mpg and my Hummer H1 and has a Gale Banks turbo diesel w/ 1000hp. If I stomp on the loud pedal I can crate instant darkness with all the soot and emissions I create. Time to have a bunch of illegal do my yard with gas trimmers.

For fun I drive my old cars with no emmission controls! More CO2 yeah! Come on global warming. My knees thank you!

Posted by: Leaving as BIG a Carbon Footprint | October 10, 2007 7:11 AM

I like to tip hotel housekeepers daily, but I've found if you leave a tip, they are more likely to replace all the sheets and towells. Its kind of frustrating. I've tried leaving notes, but in many places I travel, I don't know what language they speak (or if they can ever read their language).

Anyway, I go by a 10% rule. I will pay up to 10% more for green/environmentally concious things.

Posted by: RubyTue | October 12, 2007 8:20 AM

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