The benefits of going green (Part 1): Q&A with our Director of Responsible Travel
Hi Jenny! Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I’m Jenny Rushmore, TripAdvisor’s Director of Responsible Travel. I focus on making it easier for travelers to book an environmentally-friendly trip, by recognizing accommodations that follow green practices. I’m originally from the UK but I’ve lived all around the world – the U.S. is the 9th country I’ve called home, and before that I lived in Greece and Switzerland. Before TripAdvisor, I worked for Procter & Gamble for 11 years, most recently as the global sustainability leader for their beauty and grooming division.
What are you working on right now?
My main focus is on launching and expanding the TripAdvisor GreenLeaders program. I’m very excited about it, and I know a lot of hoteliers are too!
What is the TripAdvisor GreenLeaders program?
TripAdvisor GreenLeaders is a new and free initiative that highlights environmentally-friendly hotels and B&Bs. We love giving these green properties the recognition they deserve. We designed the voluntary GreenLeaders program with the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program, the United Nations Environment Programme and the U.S. Green Building Council. If your hotel or B&B meets the program’s criteria, we’ll highlight it as a TripAdvisor GreenLeader property and include details about your green practices on your TripAdvisor listing page to help impress potential guests.
How can hotels get involved? Where can they learn more?
It’s easy to get involved and apply for the GreenLeaders program! Any hoteliers who want to apply or learn more about the program requirements should visit green.tripadvisor.com.
Can any hotel apply for the GreenLeaders program?
While only properties in the U.S. can apply for now, we have plans underway to expand to other countries. We know how important it is for properties to stand out, and we’re eager to give properties around the world another way to set themselves apart from the competition.
In what ways do you think going green benefits the hospitality industry?
There is a range of compelling reasons for going green in hospitality. First, there is increasing interest from travelers who are “green” at home, and want to be eco-minded when they travel too. Participating in TripAdvisor GreenLeaders is a great way to let these travelers know about your commitment to the environment. Second, there are often cost savings when you become more sustainable: saving energy and water and reducing waste aren’t just good for the environment, they’re also good for your budget. And third, many of our TripAdvisor GreenLeader properties choose to go green because they feel it benefits their employees, community and region to be environmentally conscious.
What’s the financial impact? Are hotels seeing a return on initial investments from saved resources, etc.?
Yes, hotels are seeing that going green can lead to increased bookings from eco-conscious travelers, savings on energy bills and more efficient use of staff time. For instance, if you enact a popular “help conserve water by reusing your towel” option with guests, you save water, energy time and free up a little extra time for staff to take care of other matters. There are also many subsidies available for hotels interested in investing in new efficient infrastructure – check out your state’s environmental protection agency website for details or the US Department of Energy “Tax Credits, Rebates & Savings” database.
Look for part 2 of our Q&A with Jenny coming soon! She’ll share the 3 key things eco-friendly hoteliers should do, discuss innovative things others are doing and more.
To learn more about the GreenLeaders program, visit green.tripadvisor.com.