Number of green travelers is growing, hotels taking advantage

The popularity of green travel is expanding rapidly, but with hotels using the trend as a marketing tool, it’s not always easy to find truly eco-friendly lodging.

The popularity of green travel is growing rapidly, but unfortunately, the demand for more eco-friendly accommodations seems to be outweighing the availability of them.

The results of a recent survey of more than 700 American travelers by website TripAdvisor showed that 57 percent would be interested in making green vacation arrangements.

"Green initiatives are an increasing priority for hospitality businesses that are trying to reduce their environmental footprint," Jenny Rushmore, director of responsible travel for TripAdvisor, said in a statement. "Our survey shows that TripAdvisor travelers are interested in eco-friendly practices, but hungry for more information about which green plans and policies are actually in place."

Finding a truly eco-friendly hotel can be difficult though. While, ideally, travelers should look for hotels that have received recognition with a Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) rating, there isn't always one available. Rachel Muir, an ecologist employed by the U.S. Geological Survey, told the San Jose Mercury News that she couldn't find a LEED certified hotel in Atlanta, so she chose one that was in close proximity to the venue she was attending meetings at.

As a certain Muppet taught us, it isn't easy being green and many hotels simply claim to be thoroughly eco-friendly for marketing purposes. Muir explained that there needs to be a universal method of measuring how environmentally-conscious hotels actually are so that travelers who are leading a green lifestyle can make informed decisions when booking accommodations.

Even if that means the price of lodging rises, it shouldn't have an effect on green travel. Half of the respondents to TripAdvisor's survey said that they would be willing to pay more money to stay in an eco-friendly hotel.

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