The Point Reyes Hostel, which opened its new
The Point Reyes Hostel, which opened its new "green" building last February, just received a LEED Gold rating. // (c) 2013 Hostelling International

It seems everyone’s booking green hotels these days.

What’s interesting, however, is when marketers at luxury hotels claim that their green efforts have been, could be or will be a hard sell for guests. That elite guests are concerned about a loss of high-level service when their favorite four- and five-star hotels implement green policies.

Take a recent article at HotelExecutive.com, by Harry Hobbs, Area Director of Engineering, for InterContinental Hotels, who said:

Some assume that taking on this important responsibility in our community and our environment comes at the cost of sacrificing the expected level of luxury.

Can that be true? Can anyone–guest, employee or stakeholder–really believe that an increased focus on sustainability will cause InterContinental Hotels to go so crazy, they will completely lose sight of their brand promise.

But, as usual, I digress. And despite my rant, I get it.

What hoteliers are really saying is that they believe that there’s an ongoing perception, especially among luxury travelers, that the term “green hotel” is equated with a small, electricity-free shack in the middle of a remote rain forest somewhere and that green hotel is not yet a term that travelers equate with an urban, luxury brand.

Where Are the Green Budget Hotels

Still a quick search of Google.com seems to indicate that the only searches for green hotels are for luxury products. A search of “Green Luxury Hotels” provides a full list of hotels competing in that space.

Sadly, there seems to be an apathy when it comes to seeking out green hotels in the budget and three-star category. In fact, a search of “green budget hotels” resulted in a variety of budget hotel options in “Green Bay” without a single green hotel in sight.

So which is it?

Is it that budget hotels aren’t promoting their green policies, so their clientele aren’t asking for them. Or is there really a complete buy phentermine online lack of interest in green hotels at this level? Or maybe in a weird, travelers irony, budget travelers think that greening is something that can only be afforded by luxury hotels.

No matter the answer, we were happy to stumble upon a press release by Hostelling International USA (Hi-USA) who has started “pioneering” a national sustainability initiative.

Hostelling International Goes Green

The brand, which has always had a commitment to low-impact travel and environmental stewardship, has developed a new eco-certification and sustainability monitoring system for its hostels. The certification focuses on such areas as purchasing practices, guest education, waste and recycling, water consumption, energy use, business travel, and carbon emissions.

The first phase of the pilot program, completed in partnership with Sustainable Travel International, HI-USA was performed at 15 hostels throughout the United States in late 2012. From here, HI-USA plans to expand internal standards, and will evaluate opportunities for network-wide implementation of a third-party eco-certification program by 2015.So is this just more marketing speak?

It could be, but know this:

The Point Reyes Hostel, which opened its new “green” building last February, just received a LEED Gold rating. And the Marin Headlands, Pigeon Point Lighthouse, and Point Montara Lighthouse hostels are all certified green businesses as well. Meanwhile, the San Francisco City Center Hostel received an Energy Star certification from the Environmental Protection Agency, for being among the top 1 percent for energy efficiency among hotels of comparable sizes.

The Point Reyes Hostel, which opened its new "green" building last February, just received a LEED Gold rating. // (c) 2013 Hostelling International
The Point Reyes Hostel, which opened its new “green” building last February, just received a LEED Gold rating. // (c) 2013 Hostelling International

It looks like we no are finally seeing a shift longer have to be a cool kid with a lot of disposable income to stay in green accommodations.