What is the meaning of a green hotel? How to know if your eco-friendly hotel is legit?
Eco-friendly tourism, ethical travel, sustainable holiday… no matter what you call it, responsible travel is getting more and more popular post-pandemic. We want meaningful vacations that expand our minds and make us feel good. But how to find a green hotel? Here are 20 questions you should ask if you are looking for a real green hotel.
How Does Your Green Hotel Contribute To Their Community?
- Does the owner live in the same country?
If the owner lives in the same country it normally means that revenues also stay there. When the accommodation is owned by a big corporation or is part of a franchise, most of the money will not stay in the country.
- Is more than 50% of their staff local?
Does the stay hire mostly local people to run the place? This also applies to management functions.
- Are there local projects that are supported by the accommodation?
Are there any visible local projects that the green hotel invests in? This can be from local clean-ups to financial help for schools or animal shelters for example.
- Do they respect the local culture and indigenous communities?
Are the practices of the stay in line with the local culture and don’t harm indigenous people in any way (by exploiting them or disrespecting their traditions for example)
- Do employees get paid at least the minimum wage?
Many places rely heavily on tips to pay their employees, which means they could earn close to nothing if tips are bad. Every worker should get paid at least the minimum hourly wage.
What Is The Environmental Footprint Of Your Green Hotel?
- Are electrical appliances like AC, heater, and lights automatically turned off?
Do they have a system in place that automatically reduces the use of electricity if you leave the room?
- Is there no daily washing of sheets and towels?
Is the standard way to go to NOT wash sheets and towels daily unless you request it? Most hotels automatically wash linens unless you specifically ask them not to.
- Does the hotel take an effort to save water?
Can you half-flush toilet or is there a compost toilet? Does the bathroom have notes to limit your shower time? Does the water get re-used for watering the plants?
- Is electricity eco-friendly generated?
Does the stay have solar panels, wind generators, or other sustainable options to generate energy?
- Are there any other options to be more eco-friendly in place?
For example rainwater collection, sustainable waste management, or special promotions for guests to be even more eco-friendly?
Is The Green Hotel Eco-Friendly For The Planet?
- Are there any single-use plastic toiletries?
A lot of places give guests tiny shampoo bottles and soaps wrapped in plastic. A better choice is refillable bottles that can’t be taken by the guests but are refilled each time after a guest leaves.
- Can you refill your water bottle?
Plastic water bottles contribute immensely to plastic pollution. Does the hotel provide you with an alternative for drinking water?
- Were local plants and nature preserved as much as possible?
Does the establishment still have local plants in their surroundings and tried to be the least invasive to the local nature?
- Does the hotel have organic toiletries?
Are the shampoo and shower gels etc. provided by organic brands?
- Are construction materials locally sourced and sustainable?
A lot of buildings import materials from all over the world which is costing a lot of extra transportation and is not sustainable. Some materials come from non-renewable resources and are hard to recycle. Building materials should be eco-friendly.
How Does The Hotel Make Guests More Aware Of Ethical Travel?
- Does the accommodation sell products that are not eco-friendly?
For example plastic toothbrushes, endangered wildlife souvenirs, products in plastic packaging, etc.
- Does the type of building stand out negatively against the rest of the environment?
Is the accommodation very different than the surrounding nature and local buildings? Like high-story construction, massive swimming pools, excessive concrete, flashy colours etc.
- Is there wildlife in captivity on the property?
Does the stay use caged wildlife for decoration or entertainment purposes? Like sharks in aquariums or endangered bird species in cages etc.
- Does the stay promote any non-sustainable activities?
For example collaborations with tour operators for swimming with dolphins, elephant rides, touching or cuddling wild animals, or activities that cause a lot of CO2 or fossil fuels, like jet boat riding or jet ski/buggy rentals.
- Can the accommodation be reached by local public transport?
Public transport saves a lot of CO2 emissions. Ethical travel begins with responsible transport, so it is important that a stay can be reached by public transport.
A green hotel doesn’t have to be perfect
Sustainable travel is booming in 2023. We are more inclined to choose responsible travel than ever and contribute something valuable to the countries we are visiting. A lot of accommodations are aware of this and want to change their ways to become more green. It’s not easy to get it right all the time, but it’s great if your hotel wants to try to be more sustainable.
Don’t automatically dismiss your stay if they can’t answer all these questions positively – we are all learning. Maybe you can help inspire them now that you know this!
We hope these 20 questions helped you to book a true green hotel for your next trip. And don’t forget to leave a review on Sustaying after your vacation!