Business Travelers Prioritize Sustainability When Choosing Hotels

New sustainability survey reveals that 65 percent of European and North American business travel leaders prefer green hotels.

Sustainability is increasingly a key factor in influencing where millions of business travelers may decide to sleep when they are on the road in 2023 and beyond, according to new research from HRS and the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).

green hotels
(Photo: Adobe Stock by and.one)

According to “A New Order: Travel Programs Focus on Sustainability”, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of respondents would prioritize hotels that have earned a validated sustainability certification (i.e. LEED or HRS Green Stay, for example). More than half (59 percent) note they would elevate these hotels in the displays in their corporate online booking solutions given to employees as they shop for hotels.

With many companies negotiating preferred hotel agreements for 2023 as the fourth quarter progresses, the green trend is affecting a wider range of hotel contracts. As more prominent multi-national companies make the provision of sustainability-related information a prerequisite for preferred supplier status, the hospitality community is aggressively responding as they compete for volume from the lucrative corporate segment.

Siemens’ announcement last month reflects a step that more Fortune 500 programs are taking as they determine preferred hotel partners for next year. Siemens will be the first global company to introduce a mandatory Green Stay Initiative (GSI) policy and request that hotels provide data about their environmental impact. Together with HRS, Siemens developed global, traceable, and standardized criteria by which the carbon footprint of each individual hotel can be tracked and compared with others.

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Senior Executives Lead Effort For More Green Hotels

Survey respondents, with 74 percent from the U.S. and Canada, provided findings that illustrate the momentum of sustainability in corporate lodging. Highlights include:

  • Nearly half (48 percent) said that senior executives and leaders have the most influence on their company’s sustainability efforts, followed by the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) department (33 percent).
  • There is a gap from Europe to North America as respondents consider taking action to drive more business travelers to sustainable hotels. Europeans (78 percent) are more likely to feature hotels with validated green credentials than those based in North America (61 percent).
  • More than one-third (36 percent) say sustainability considerations will have a “moderate” to “major” impact on the hotel choices they will make for their lodging program in 2023. Another 36 percent shared that sustainability elements will have a “minor” impact, with 28 percent reporting that it will have “no impact” at all.

“The global megatrend of sustainability is accelerating in the everyday discussions taking place today that are reshaping the priorities of corporate lodging programs,” said Martin Biermann, Chief Product Officer for HRS and a member of GBTA’s Sustainability Leadership Council. “We see that today via the traction of HRS’ Green Stay Initiative, which now has hotels representing 440-plus brands in 170 countries participating. It’s encouraging to see both corporate program leaders and hotel suppliers leverage technology to support this important cause at this crucial moment.”

green hotels“With business travel coming back at a rapid pace, it’s vital for all industry participants to grasp the long-lasting changes to hotel procurement and booking that sustainability considerations are driving,” said Delphine Millot, GBTA’s Senior Vice President of Sustainability and Managing Director of the GBTA Foundation. “The C-suite is leading the charge, as per this research. Accordingly, GBTA is highly engaged on sustainability to provide more research, advocacy, tools and educational events for our members – such as this week’s Sustainability Summit – to play our role in helping the business travel community seize upon best practices and technologies to help our industry reduce its carbon footprint.”

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