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Dear AAA Hotel Rating Systems [Go to http://www.aaa.com and fill out the "contact" page],

or

Dear Mobile Hotel Ratings [mcallaghan@mobiltravelguide.com]

A study by PhoCusWright found that "44 percent of U.S. travelers consider the environmental impact to be important to them when planning travel," but "56% are skeptical of what companies are telling them about green practices and only 8% think it is easy to find green travel options."

http://www.hsmaieconnect.org/news/154000573/4040552.html

I'm part of the rapidly growing 44% of U.S. travelers who care about the environmental impact of the hotels I stay in. I'm also part of the 92% who find it too difficult to find those green hotels.

Here are some ideas relevant for a rating system:

  • I'd be twice as happy with an organic mint on my bed than a commercial one. Can you do a survey of some random travelers and find out, on average, how much happier they would be to be served organic food, and then adjust your point scale appropriately?
  • A hotel should be able to answer guests' questions. More and more of us are asking how hotels they treat the planet, how they treat employees, whether the chocolate was picked using child labor. A hotel's ability to answer questions about greening and social responsibility should be an intrinsic part of the concierge service, along with their answers.
  • One of the biggest problems of the star systems is perception. Please let the hotels know that hotels are behind their customers on greening, and hotel rating systems will soon catch up!


AAA has begun this process, with a very, very basic ECO icon. It's clear that greening is becoming a fundamental requirement to please hotel guests such as myself, and thus a fundamental part of a good ratings system. The best ratings systems will be those who are able to rate greening efforts with as much detail and understanding as any other hotel service.

I hope that greening becomes a central component to your rating system. Just as business travelers or families may have more detailed sections but are included in the main ratings, green standards are central to a large and rapidly growing number of travelers and should be part of the eye-catching main rating: no hotel should have four or five stars unless it meets our needs.

Sincerely,
[your name]