hotel roomMore companies are looking for ways to demonstrate that they're environmentally conscious, and one way they're doing so is seeking out eco-friendly hotels for their employees to stay in when traveling for business, according to this USA Today article.

If all other factors, such as cost and amenities, are identical, corporations today seem more willing to choose eco-friendly lodgings for their employees. More than one in five now ask about hotel environmental policies before signing contracts with them, according to a survey taken this summer by the National Business Travel Association cited by the article.
Major companies including KPMG, the American Institute of Architects and Oracle are among this segment, according to a representative from the Green Meeting Industry Council quoted by USA Today. But companies today are watching every dollar, so it's overly optimistic to think that any corporate travel manager is going to sign off on a hotel contract that costs more just because a hotel recycles plastic bottles or has a garden on the roof.

Of course, many eco-friendly moves also save money; having guests reuse their towels means less is spent on laundry, while installing compact fluorescent light bulbs can mean trimming the energy bill. Some hotels even have water recycling systems and energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, all of which helps them save a bundle over their conventional counterparts. In the long run, this may help green hotels lower their operating costs, which could give them an edge by allowing them to offering lower rates to travelers. Ideally, a truly "green" hotel won't be showy about it; the best way to convert a guest to "green" travel is for them not to notice any difference between a stay at an eco-friendly property and a conventional one.

According to the National Business Travel Association, hotel rates are projected to fall between 2 and 8 % next year. This could bring eco-friendly hotel rates down, which might enhance their appeal to cost-conscious business travelers.

Readers, what do you think? Have you stayed at an eco-friendly hotel? Would you? And would a "green" certification of some sort sway you to pay more when you're on the road for business - or pleasure?

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