Hotel courtesy and saving our planet

October 1, 2007 at 6:42 am 2 comments

Posted by Joseph Hershey:

hotel pool

I’m here in the hotel lobby that I stayed in for the last few days during the Podcasting and New Media Expo, in Ontario California. It was good, but it’s over. I leave to go home to MI in the morning.

While here, though, I thought I’d take notice to see how the hotel did or didn’t demonstrate green behavior.

I’m expecting that capitalism will rule.

Here’s what I noticed with a casual glance around:

  1. Compact Florescent Bulbs in some lamps, not others
  2. “Save Our Planet” message plaque in the bathroom
  3. Selling bottled water for $4.50 in room
  4. Local newspaper delivered outside your room every morning

Boy, is this is a confused message, or what?

Does the hotel want to “save the earth”, or not?

Let’s step back and take another look.

Assuming the hotel is a publicly traded business entity and wants to make money, this list can make sense together, green is pure packaging. Sure, it would like to come across as taking initiative with the “Save Our Earth” sign to save water, an ever popular choice here in Southern California. But reality is, it makes more money when it appeals to a wider market by appearing to provide hospitality services to help the customer feel more comfortable and taken care of, while at the same time, remaining socially responsible.

Now, for each point,

  1. Compact Florescent Bulbs in some lamps, not others

    Compact Florescent Bulbs (CFC’s) use less energy and hence cost less to light a room. But it looks like they didn’t want to replace the old bulbs. They probably didn’t know that when you replace your current bulb with a CFC, you’ll get payback over the lifetime of the CFC to make up for the replaced bulb, even if it’s still working.

    ==> The hotel is green by coincidence.

  2. “Save Our Planet” message plaque in the bathroom

    From the hotel’s point of view, not washing the bath towels has nothing to do with saving the planet. The less wash they have to do, the less they have to pay for doing it.

    So, if they can get you to reuse your towels for a week, they’d love it. If you think you’re doing it because you’re a good person who chose to tell the hotel that’s your wish, then you smile when they fold your wet dirty towels backup on on the rack over the toilet.


    The bottom line is that the whole message about “Save Our Planet” on a plaque with green lettering and globe would be more believable if there wasn’t a $4.50 plastic bottle of Evian water sitting on the desk waiting for you when you come into the room every time.

    ==> The hotel is a money maker.

  3. Selling bottled water for $4.50 in room

    Having bottled water in the room, for sale, is a hospitality service. As the customer, you can drink it, or not. If you drink it, in this case, it’s $4.50 on your final bill.

    Selling bottled water makes the hotel money, plain and simple. No way I can see it “saving our planet”.

    Ed and I have gone over bottle water as bad bad on the podcast and blog. I won’t repeat it here.

    ==> The hotel is a money maker.

  4. Local newspaper delivered outside your room every morning

    This is a nice to have if you read the paper. If you don’t, it’s a waste.

    The hotel probably doesn’t make or lose money. It probably just returns all the unused ones to the drop off truck the next day.

    Appearances of free and complimentary gifts, however small, are well received. Maybe the customer feels happier and less discontent with other hotel failings. Maybe they’re more loyal to the hotel that gives away freebees. Maybe the fact that every other hotel is doing it means you have to do it or be perceived as something worse, taking something away from the customer.

    Cheap courtesy is King.

    The problem here is that having a news paper circulated to every door where someone’s staying is simply a waste. Sometimes the paper will be read, sometimes it won’t

    ==> The hotel is a money maker.

In summary, it looks like our hotel is a money maker… that’s good, I wouldn’t want them to go out of business and not be here the next time I want to stay in town.

Pure simple economics wins out again.

So, if it’s going to work, if we’re going to get things turned around, how can we get the force of economics to favor the green?


Entry filed under: green.

Living simple, so that others may simply live Southwest recycles

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ed  |  October 1, 2007 at 2:47 pm

    I can’t tell you what hotel it is, but I can say there are two trees involved.

  • 2. Green Hotels « The Green Tax  |  October 6, 2007 at 12:17 am

    […] wrote about the lack of green practices in a certain hotel where I was staying this past weekend. [ Hotel courtesy and saving our planet […]


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