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The Cost of Traveling Green

U.S. Travelers Prefer Greener Travel Options

In making lodging and vehicle choices while traveling, new studies show that more than 50 percent of all U.S. adults say they would be more likely to select airlines, rental car companies or hotels that use and offer environmentally-friendly products, processes and options.

However, according to the latest Travel Horizons study conducted by the Travel Industry Association (TIA) and Ypartnership, while more than 50 percent of travelers advocate environmental responsibility, only 14 percent of respondents said their actual travel selections are influenced by a providers efforts to preserve and protect the environment.

Additionally, only a mere 13 percent reported they would be willing to pay higher rates or fares to use suppliers who demonstrate environmental responsibility. Although, 56 percent did report they would consider paying more.

The study further reveals that 76 percent of travelers polled agreed to pay only less than 10 percent more in fees for environmentally safe business practices. The majority of people surveyed said they would only pay up to a five percent price increase for lodging, flights or rental choices that are eco-friendly.

According to Suzanne Cook, TIA's senior vice president of research, cost more than anything drives current consumers trends.

“The results of the survey suggest that awareness of a travel service supplier’s efforts to operate in an environmentally responsible manner may be sufficient to attract additional patronage, but not at a significantly higher fare or rate,” Cook said. “The value assessment consumers ascribe to any travel service transaction appears to remain the primary determinant of their actual purchase behavior.”

Specifically, 50 percent of travelers said they would be more likely to use an airline if it took initiatives to offset carbon emissions, used more fuel-efficient jets or implemented recycling programs. An additional 56 percent stated the same in regards to car rental companies offering more fuel efficient and hybrid vehicle choices. Fifty-four percent claimed they would be more likely to patronize hotels or resorts that practiced environmental responsibility.

According to the survey, consumers do favor properties that actively try to prevent beach erosion (oceanfront hotels), reuse towels and sheets, use energy efficient lighting and low flow toilets and showers.

Though basing most of their decisions on finanical variables, 78 percent of travelers considered themselves environmentally conscious, according to the survey. The report showed that many travelers do try and take small steps to be eco-friendly and green while on vacation or traveling for business.

Green, Eco-Friendly Travel Measures

  • 85 percent of travelers turn out lights when leaving a room
  • 67 percent regulate air conditioning and heating while away from home
  • 60 percent recycle their trash
  • 60 percent shut off water while brushing their teeth or shaving
  • 53 percent keep their showers short

For more tips on traveling and living green, visit our Earth Tones page.