The question that arises is: How many of us go to hotels and think about taking less showers or reusing their towels? I guess very few. We as consumers enjoy free services and tend to overuse them.

Nowadays, many hotels are promoting themselves as being green or “environmentally conscious hotels.” When visiting hotels, guests see signs such as “save the planet” or “reuse your towel”, advices for taking “shorter showers”, and “we refill shampoo bottles” and assume that the hotel is eco-friendly. The question that arises is “Are these signs perceived as credible by customers?”

Indeed, these practices are “Greenwashing practices” and may be perceived by consumers as self-serving.

Hotels have been trying to make consumers responsible for their cost savings. We often see signs indicating that the consumer has to worry about the environment and make all the effort to save energy while the hotel does not even provide customers with a recycling bin. These practices have made customers skeptical towards the eco-friendly strategies. Even the environmentally-friendly conscious guest is not willing to pay premium prices if he/she feels that the hotel is not making any effort to be environmentally responsible. It is the hotel’s responsibility to implement environmental practices and then get consumers involved in the process.

Becoming Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified can be one of the best ways to be perceived as a credible entity. Hotels can revisit their lightings and invest in Led bulbs or showerheads that can control the flow of water, and use solar panels mainly in places such as Florida and California. These methods will help hotels lower their costs, their taxes, as well as their maintenance costs. By implementing these practices, hotels will be perceived as credible and socially responsible.

Selima Ben Mrad, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Marketing in the Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship, Nova Southeastern University. She can be reached at