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Hotels face a big challenge when turning their customers stay into a sustainable experience without reducing their comfort and wellness. For example, it can be seen as something unimportant, but, how many customers hung their towels in the bathroom to be reused? At Responsible Hotels we invite you to discuss about customer satisfaction versus responsible tourism practices, starting from the article published by CNN with the title ‘Hotel towel dilemma: Replace or reuse?

This dilemma about towels is only the tip of the iceberg hiding beneath the hoteliers’ concern for being really ‘green’, because they deal with guests aware of the environment, but they do not want to miss any services paid for when they book their stay.

If I pay for it, I want it

Even the most environmentally conscious customer wants towels and amenities to be replaced every day… they have paid for them! Although most of them show an increasing concern for environmental care and prefer to consume green products and practice environmentally friendly activities, there is a big gap between their attitudes and their real behaviours.

This is shown in a report made by Michael Giebelhausen, a marketing professor at Cornell University, who says that as well as a hotel’s sustainable initiative, “consumer also must make some effort”.

Guests who go green are happier

However, to which extent do this means an effort? Those guests who participate in sustainable practices during their stays are happier, according to a study by American Hotel Association, for they feel good about themselves for being environmentally responsible, and that is reflected in a positive way by their satisfaction with the hotel.

These guests, who are supposed to receive a different level of service – because their towels and linen are not replaced every day or they not have amenities–, report in the surveys being more satisfied with their hotel stays than those who have not participated voluntarily in this kind of sustainability programs.

One explanation for this, according to professor Giebelhausen, is that the hotel is providing them with the possibility of “living up to their ideals”, filling the gap, mentioned below, between what you think and what you really do. Either by fashion or because they are really concerned, they feel good about their contribution to the environment.

If we understand clearly that sustainability is an added value for the customer (endorsed by the surveys), is it also so for the income statement? We will see this in the second part of this post that will be published soon under the subject matter ‘Sustainability, as a business?’


 El blog de Responsible Hotels sobre la gestión ética y responsables de establecimientos hoteleros. Nos preocupa el medio ambiente y la biodiversidad. Nos encantan los viajes, investigar sobre sostenibilidad y los fines de semana largos. Leer más de este autor


Este artículo está también disponible en: Spanish

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