Cornell Study Finds That Sustainability Is Overall Revenue Neutral for Hotel Industry
Sabre has created an innovative green "Eco-Certified Hotel" label for hotels that have earned any of a dozen international sustainability certifications. This green flag appears both on Travelocity.com search results and in the Sabre Global Distribution System. Chong and Verma compared the revenue results for each of 3,000 green-label hotels to a comparison set of hotels drawn from 6,000 non-certified hotels.
"The hotel industry has moved ahead with sustainability," said Chong, an assistant professor at the School of Hotel Administration, "but there's a nagging question about whether installing green programs interferes with the hotel's quality standards and its ability to provide guest luxury. Some hotels have been reluctant to go green because they might lose business. This study shows that, on average, the hotel industry doesn't lose sales or rate from sustainability."
Verma, who is a professor at the School of Hotel Administration explained that some individual hotels may see a drop in revenue from going green, while others may improve their sales. "We are indebted to Sabre for providing its database," he said. "Using that database of millions of individual bookings we could see the overall effects of a green label."
Added Chong: "It was not possible to address the situation of any individual hotel, but we can conclude that going green is compatible with existing quality standards of hotel service, and that advertising green status doesn't hurt a hotel's revenues. But it may not help either. In other words, green is not a 'silver bullet' strategy."
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