Green Travel Destinations - Ten Questions to Ask
Choosing a vacation spot isn't hard, though sifting through the good and not-so-good options can be a head-twisting experience – especially if you’re taking the plunge and visiting the area for the first time. And if your like most environmentally conscious people, you want to support companies that have made significant steps toward being environmentally friendly in everything from their sustainability policy to their community commitment. And if you pick the wrong hotel, you may be stuck enjoying the sun and sand while your dollars are contributing to a cause that you just don't like. No, choosing a green hotel isn't rocket science but you should at least know what questions to ask.
Ten Questions to Ask - Is Your Hotel Destination Green?
1. What key areas are tracked and how often are they assessed?
Whoa, good question right off the bat. Check the web site of your favorite travel destination to see if they have the EarthCheck logo on their pages. EarthCheck is used by travel and tourism organizations around the world, to validate their carbon claims and guide their sustainability initiatives. It is the largest environmental benchmarking, certification and management solution in use by this industry and the leading program in-market. It provides the tools for hotels that want to track and measure resource use and waste output, enhance design and operational efficiencies, and encourage corporate social responsibility. Once certified, hotels can use the EarthCheck emblem on the pages of their web site.
Improvements in all the Earthcheck indicators will not only help the environment, but can also help reduce operational costs. Hotels that participate in the EarthCheck program are demonstrating their corporate responsibility and upholding a higher level of environmental care. Smaller businesses are able to participate in the EarthCheck program, and a separate certification for larger companies offers maximum savings, is independently audited by a qualified third party and enables sector benchmarking.
2. What is the hotel's sustainability policy?
3. Is energy consumption monitored in an effort to be more efficient?
4. Are water saving policies in effect?
5. Is the waste sent to landfills kept to a minimum after recycling efforts are taken into account?
6. Are paper products recycled?
7. Are cleaning products green in order to reduce the possibility of hazardous materials seeping into water sources?
8. Are pesticide products disposed of properly in order to avoid the possibility of contaminating water sources?
9. Are energy and air emissions regulated?
10. Is performance reviewed regularly?
Keep the destination's weather in perspective.
A major determinant of energy consumption in some sectors, primarily those centered on buildings such as accommodation, visitor centers and administration offices will be the dominant climatic conditions in which the enterprise is located. In general, to maintain the same level of indoor comfort, enterprises operating in hot or cold climates will consume more energy than those in temperate climates.
Green technology — show you care about the Earth
By utilizing "green" corporate travel, companies show the world that they care about the Earth. And by utilizing green technology in every aspect of the business culture, companies show clients and stockholders that the company never stops caring. Once clients become customers, they will have a higher level of loyalty if the corporate culture that your company portrays shows a level of "green" and environmental responsibility.
What good is green technology if you don’t utilize green technology at every level?
By joining the other 25 million companies that utilize green technology in their business model, your company shows the world that the corporate culture cares about the Earth. Now, going “green” may not be your first consideration when choosing a corporate function destination – but by going "green" your company shows its level of responsibility in every aspect of its corporate culture, including travel.
Be consistent and include green in your web site strategies.
Your company web site identifies your company's “brand” – it’s corporate culture. Some web sites use funny logos and radical type fonts, targeting a “younger” demographic. Other company's have a more professional appearance and take the time to explain it’s corporate values, i.e. commitment to client satisfaction, tech support, fair prices and good value. If you’re serious about your web site, go with a host that is serious about hosting.
Everything from the company logo to the site text language defines the company brand. Which would you choose? The wild techno-geek or the clean design and quality information provided by a web hosting provider with a different take on its own corporate culture.