How ironic is it that many consumers who are aware of environmental issues and engage in eco-conscious behavior at home, become less aware and environmentally protective when on vacation?
At least those are the findings of two hospitality and tourism management graduate students (who knew such a graduate program existed? I sure didn't) at Virginia Tech's Pamplin College of Business, who conducted a study of consumer attitudes about "green" practices in general, while at home and away.
They found a significant gap between consumers' attitudes towards "green" initiatives in the hospitality industry and their actual behavior.
According to the article:
"Nearly 60 percent said they were likely or extremely likely to stay at a hotel that changed sheets only when requested during their stay; the number was 55 percent regarding towel changes. However, 45 percent stated that they would be unlikely or extremely unlikely to stay at a hotel that provided amenity dispensers instead of individual bottles.
"As for their home versus hotel behavior, close to 60 percent of respondents recycle paper products at home, but only 30 percent recycle them while at a hotel. Sixty percent of respondents conserve water at home, but less than 40 percent do so at a hotel. Eighty percent of respondents conserve energy at home, but only 40 percent save energy while at a hotel."
So what's the deal here? Eco-tourism has become such a big trend. But does going on vacation give those who usually care about the environment license to waste energy, water and other resources and throw things away that should be recycled?
According to the students who did the study, "To better understand the reasons for the gaps between attitudes and behavior and between home and hotel behavior, future research could examine barriers to participation and ease of compliance, service expectations, and convenience."
Yeah, I can see how barriers (like lack of recycling bins) could cause a problem. But that still doesn't address water and energy waste, to name a couple of things.
The students also said, "The hotel industry . . . can help educate consumers to develop a greater level of understanding and concern about their environmental impact as hotel guests."
Education, yes. Well, you can lead a so-called environmentalist to water, but . . .
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