Perhaps the key message in a recent study that we conducted among hotel industry executives and managers is that they are ready to move ahead. In this Internet-based survey of over 1,200 hotel executives from across the world, the issues they cited most frequently related to:
- improving profits through increasing revenues and cost controls;
- improving sustainability (also known as green operations); and
- building better relationships with guests, especially by improving service.
I know it's just one guy (me) against twelve hundred hoteliers, but does it strike anyone as odd that "improving sustainability" - going green - would rank so high among a hotelier's concerns, even as business is tanking? Haven't we seen in other surveys that as the economy has weakened, environmental issues take a back seat to other, more pressing concerns - such as economic survival? In this one, for example, conducted in January 2010, "global warming" came in dead last - behind 20 other priorities!
Admittedly, this Pew Research study was a poll of the general public, not targeting only hoteliers or even businessmen in general, but nevertheless, I think it is strange that if "green-ness" has tumbled in importance to 21st on a list of 21 issues causing concern for the man on the street, it would still be considered a high priority for hoteliers.
Are hoteliers really so saintly? Or do they see a business rationale behind going green that others perhaps don't? Or maybe the question is simply: Are they telling the truth?