The Future is Looking Green
These days, it’s not just Tree-Huggers that are environmentally conscious travellers; Increasing numbers of people are choosing to stay in eco-friendly hotels. By improving the ecological footprint of your business, you can save money, increase your public profile & save the planet all at once. Hotels can assess how green they already are & improve on their current business practices through several green initiative programs in place dedicated solely to the hospitality industry.
The Hotel Association of Canada’s (HAC) Green Keys Eco-Rating program is one of these green initiatives (www.hacgreenhotels.com). There are currently just under 700 hotels registered in the program, which uses a self-auditing process to grade a property as having a minimum of one Green Key and a maximum of five.
The self-audit is designed to let the hotel know how they are doing environmentally and gives them a report to show them how they can improve, explains Andrea Myers, HAC’s director of marketing & member services.
Consumers are able to search for a Green Key rated hotel through the HAC Web site & though various other organizations that are also recognizing the system (for example, The Association of Corporate Travel Executives is producing a green meetings directory featuring Green Key properties).
Michael Wasuita, owner operator of Pine Bungalows, a 72-cabin property in Jasper, AB, is the proud owner of four Green Keys & believes that having the rating brings people to his property. Wasuita had to make a lot of adjustments to get such a high rating.
More & more people are patronizing environmentally conscious places, Michael says. I stopped using petro-chemical based paints & stains, nature-scaped the previously manicured lawns into meadows — which the elk here love — installed low-flood toilets & brought the properties energy consumption right down. These measures saved a lot of money on utilities too.
Although the idea of doing environmentally sound upgrades like Wasuita’s may seem scary, many properties find that they are impressed by those hotels that go the extra mile to reduce their eco-footprint.