The case for green practices in hotels 

Washington is increasingly embracing sustainability. This is a trend mirrored in laws such as the Clean Buildings Act– legislation mandating that certain building owners cut their energy use to meet specified Energy Usage Intensity (EUI) targets. While compliance is necessary, the advantages of going above and beyond in adopting sustainable practices stretch far past legal compliance for hotel owners. 

But what drives the move towards sustainability when it’s not mandated? Aside from the evident legal and environmental benefits, why should businesses, particularly in the hotel sector, adopt green practices? One compelling reason is customer preference. According to a study, “76% of travelers would be more likely to book a hotel if it was certified as green. The study also found that 43% of travelers are willing to pay more for a green hotel.” Additionally, TripAdvisor has found that companies with sustainable business practices are more likely to have a better reputation, improve their brand image, enhance their guests’ experience, and boost both their revenues and customer loyalty. 

Adopting green practices also offers financial advantages, making operations more cost-effective. Sustainable initiatives can lead to substantial savings on energy costs and food waste management. Preno, a hotel management software company, notes that investments in green projects can reduce energy expenses by up to 30%. Moreover, many guests are willing to pay a premium for staying in environmentally friendly hotels. Reducing food waste and rethinking offerings, such as minimizing large buffets or introducing a meat tax, due to meat’s high carbon footprint, can also positively impact both sustainability and profits. 

Going further: Corporate Social Responsibility 

Expanding on sustainability, Corporate Social Responsibility, a business model that helps companies be socially accountable to themselves, their community and stakeholders, is not only beneficial to large corporations. The Small Business Administration says that consumers are more willing to support socially responsible companies and that it can drive employee recruitment. “Seventy-nine percent of millennials…said they consider corporate responsibility when deciding where to work and 83% of millennials said they would be more loyal to a company with a CSR program.” The 2024 American Hotel and Lodging Association State of the Industry report also found that there is an “increased interest in the individual, societal, organizational and cultural impact of events” and that “74% of global adults believe businesses have a responsibility to make society fairer.” Hotels can choose many ways to be accountable to their community and stakeholders but sustainability is one great way to do this. Incorporating sustainable practices can not only save costs and increase customers, but it can also help you forge local business partnerships (neighboring hotel owners and local suppliers) and foster local connections within the community. 

Avoid greenwashing 

One important note is that when incorporating green practices, you must be sure to avoid greenwashing. This is the “act of making false or misleading statements about the environmental benefits of a product or practice” and it can destroy customer trust and your own credibility. 

For help with specific sustainable acts in Washington state, like the Clean Buildings initiative, polystyrene ban going into effect June 1, single-use service ware ban and more, visit our Going Green toolkit 

Consider other resources: 



Why Green Hotels Are the Preferred Choice in 2023?

11 Examples of CSR practices in the hospitality industry 

From renewable energy to backing communities: how hotels can make a difference 

Could Implementing Green Initiatives Save Your Hotel Money? 

Corporate Social Responsibility: What Your Small Business Needs to Know 

CSR adoption in independent hotels: The drivers and barriers 

What Is Greenwashing?