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Published: 26-Oct-2011

Written by: Jessica McKelson

What do you look for when you book accommodation?

Does budget impact your choice? Or location? Star ratings? Value for money?

What about ecological sustainability? Is this important to you? Or is it simply an added bonus to discover the place you booked qualified for Eco Certification?

The accommodation industry is very competitive, and holiday makers are the drivers of this competition. Modern travellers expect options and added extras. Eco/sustainable values and practices are often not considered in the accommodation decision-making process.

Should they be? Shouldn’t they be? That is up to you....

I have been asking people about their accommodation considerations for some time now. Most mention convenience, location, and adherence to budget as necessities. Additional perks like breakfast and parking are welcome inclusions. Yet many also express a desire to ‘help the environment’. How does this relate in real terms to travel accommodation? What should you look for?

What makes me happy when I book accommodation? I like it to be clean, comfortable, and within my budget. But my top priority? The one that makes me pause to double check before hitting the accommodation agreement button? Whether it has a sustainability policy. This is at the forefront of my decision. I will feel extremely guilty the entire holiday if I find some kind of sustainability policy is not being met, and won’t enjoy my stay. It is not always the accommodation’s fault. I have strong personal travel values! So sometimes my choices are limited. It is as it is. I want comfortable, clean accommodation, one set of towels, the choice of organic food available on the property, well maintained gardens, minimalist furniture, bathroom products that are phosphate free/palm oil free, and the option to support a small business owner looking for extra income. I am there to explore a travel destination, not the accommodation, therefore it enriches me to get out and see the gardens, the sites, and attractions, before returning to a clean, comfy bed – without 20+ pillows to suffocate me!

More importantly, I want accommodation that is involved in, or has a strong commitment to, sustainable practices; one that is involved with a conservation project, where all the staff understand the lodging’s commitment to this project, and willingly speak to guests about how they support this work.

Have you stayed in an eco-rated accommodation? I am interested to hear your thoughts on this topic.

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