Promoting your hotel’s green credentials (Part 1)

Everyone’s doing it

OgilvyEarth’s research confirmed what scientists and behavioral economists already knew: attitudes and beliefs are shaped by behaviors, not the other way around. “We are social creatures and look to others around us to help us make decisions on how we live our lives” claims OgilvyEarth. People don’t want to be told what to do but they want to be told what acceptable and normal behavior is. So, instead of trying to get guests to care, we need to change their behaviors.

We need to reframe unsustainable consumption as anti-social and abnormal, in the same way that smoking became abnormal, once smokers were left to stand outside in the cold looking like outcasts.

Green behaviors should be marketed as normal behaviors for everyone to adopt, not an “elite” idea for hippies, or rich snobs. Hotels should market such behaviors to a mass audience and should put the infrastructure in place to make it easy for guests to be green. Guests should feel that “everyone is doing it, this is the normal behavior”.

One way to define ‘normal behaviour’ is to tell your guests what other guests are doing: e.g. showing participation rates in green activities or including in the towel re-use cards a message indicating that “most of our guest chose to re-use towels”. Another option is to make the hotel staircases appealing and guest-friendly (e.g. clean and with picture frames) to encourage guests to take the stairs.