Green hotels are big right now, so it’s no wonder that Trip Advisor launched its GreenLeaders Program with the USGBC, UNEP, and Energy Star. This is great news for hotel guests looking for rooms without the guilt of environmentally unfriendly hotel practices and great for hoteliers looking to cash in on energy savings and even increased rates for being green stewards.
On a recent last-minute trip to South Carolina, I booked a cheap hotel that was convenient to my family’s condo (funny how the place they booked didn’t have enough room for us, but that’s not important here) without much consideration for the hotel’s green practices or features. I just wanted a clean hotel room for a good price. After checking in, I was elated to find this Holiday Inn Express had a sign in the lobby stating they were a GreenLeaders hotel. Horray: Cheap, good location and good for the environment! Upon entering the room, we found some promising signs of eco-stewardship: a sign in the bathroom asking us to help save the snowy owl by reusing our towels, an Energy Star mini-fridge, and disposable coffee cups that were recyclable and sourced from sustainable materials. Heck, the window even opened so we could get some fresh ocean air.
However, I soon became a bit suspicious of the GreenLeaders program after I noticed there were no recycling bins in the room. The slide show below chronicles my discoveries and disappointments with the program at this hotel.