Experts Weigh in on Hilton’s Ambitious Sustainable Tourism Plans [Chain report included]

by | Jun 4, 2018 | Chains

For nearly two decades now, the biggest companies in the global hospitality industry have been working to figure out new and innovative ways to make their properties as environmentally friendly as possible.

A recent discussion among industry experts found, however, that achieving long-term sustainability goals that impact the environment in a positive way has proved elusive for many major hotel operators and brands. New consumer research commissioned by Hilton, may hold some answers for how the overall hospitality industry can promote and sustain eco-friendly forms of tourism.

Hilton’s Sustainability Research

Earlier this month, Hilton surveyed nearly 72,000 guests that stayed at their properties throughout the globe. This survey sought to find out what these guests thought in regards to the impact of social, environmental and ethical issues related to their buying and booking behaviors when they travelled.

What the survey found is fascinating. Apparently, a strong majority of guests who responded to the survey (62 percent) reported that they would switch to a different hotel brand if the brand they usually buy from now ended up being in the news for unethical reasons, and they would act this way even if doing so meant they had to pay more money for different accommodations.

A majority of these hotel consumers (56 percent) also said they would intentionally buy products deemed to be fair trade, organic, local, or not ever tested on animals. However, it should also be noted that the majority of respondents (67 percent) said they do not seek out information about hotel brand’s environmental or social efforts before they book. 20 percent of the survey respondents said that they do and 13 percent even went so far as to say that they would actively seek out the information if hotel companies shifted toward making it more easily accessible for them to find when they were booking.

Reaction to the Results

The results did not seem to surprise tourism sustainable experts, who have said that these findings are in keeping with those that were revealed by other corporate sponsored studies. Also, survey data is encouraging and can serve as a guidepost for how guests think they act, but it is not a full substitute for studying the actual actions of guests, rather than just the ways that they answer survey questions.

As a result, while many hotel brands have discussed or moved toward making their properties more sustainable, it’s often challenging for them to actual implement wide-spanning and impactful plans.

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