With more and more travellers around the world going eco, pictures of smiling, lush green planets and solemn oaths to the course have experienced an exponential growth in hotels. Today, many companies brand themselves as eco-friendly hotels. But truth be told, half of them do not even know the first thing about being an eco-hotel. Now while there is no law that prevents them from marketing themselves as such, you will have to be on top of your game to weed out the wannabes – those who are out to make profit off the backs of those dedicated to this noble course.
But while there isn’t exactly a particular yard stick, a true sign that a hotel is indeed eco-friendly, there are some tips that can help set you on the right path. Below are some environmentally friendly hotel selection tips.
Let the pros be your eyes
In all this darkness, there is some light. There are some individuals and organizations who have dedicated themselves to testing and certifying hotels around the world as eco-friendly or not. As such, it is a great idea to be on the look-out for accreditation, certifications and even rating systems provided by these “protectors” of the planet. For instance, TripAdvisor has a GreenLeaders programme that awards hotels platinum, gold, silver or bronze status judging by the carbon trail they leave.
Consider the kitchen
A hotel’s restaurant menu can tell you a great deal about a hotels commitment to the course. Why? Well, according to research the restaurants contribute a large percentage of a hotels impact to the environment. Go through the menu checking for organic ingredients that are locally sourced. Most often than not, chefs go for flavor. After all, many are judged by the flavor of their food. A restaurant that will get its fish and vegetables from the local people will be best than that which imports its ingredients leaving a long and heavy carbon trail everywhere it goes.
Get a hotel that is aware of its location
There are several ways this statement can be interpreted. First, one might view it as being aware of the statistics of their emissions, but it is much more than this. It is about being mindful of what is around you. And how can a Hotel be conscious of its environment if its workers are not locals? Hotels run by locals are more in touch and connected to their environs. They will seek to protect what they have known through the years even as their need to earn a living remains. The result of their consciousness and connection to the community is an authentic experience – one that will leave you craving for more and more.
The little things matter
While looking for an eco-friendly hotel, you just might be tempted to consider the big moves, like solar panels and the like and leave out the small things such as energy saving bulbs, in room recycling, food waste compost or linen re-use. Do you remember that sticker hang beside the bathroom mirror that reminded you to hang up your towel if you are okay with using it again. Though it was a small gesture, imagine how big an impact it would be if these small gestures were put together? It would be huge right?
Sure it might require setting aside some time to research and weed out hotels joy riding on the efforts of others, but rest assured there are hotels that share your sentiments.