A few times a year I travel to far off cities and speak with nonprofits about how social media can help their cause. While on the road, I always keep my green eyes peeled for interesting, innovative, and clever sustainability ideas.

When I visit places like San Francisco, Portland, Vancouver, and Montreal, I always notice how progressive the airports and hotels seem (I’ve blogged about this here and here). The hotels I stay in always have programs promoting the reuse of towels, recycling bins rooms, and CFLs in all the lights.

That got me thinking about Charleston’s hotels, and what sustainable practices they are using. I decided to call around and ask the major Charleston hotels five simple questions – the results are in the Hotel Scorecard below.

I asked the hotels if they were doing these five simple things…things that cost relatively little money. Sure it would be nice if hotels were using solar energy, collecting rainwater, and composting, but those things are difficult and expensive to implement. I wanted to see if Charleston hotels were doing any of these simple things, because I see other hotels doing them when I travel.

As you can see, the Charleston hotels aren’t doing much at all. I gotta hand it to the Francis Marion Hotel and Embassy Suites for at least using CFLs and encouraging the reuse of towels, but there’s room for improvement across the board. I mean, two of these hotel chains have web pages bragging about their sustainability efforts (see below). I’d like to see the rest of the hotels adopt a couple of these practices, even if it’s just to save money instead of the planet – I’ll take it.

I’d also like to note that the Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn refused to participate in my survey, citing corporate regulations on discussing these things (OK?) If you have connections at any of these hotels, please pass along this information and ask that they green up their hotels. Look for this report to come out again in one year with updated scores.

What do you all think about this?  Should hotels green up their practices, or is it our responsibility when we travel to do it ourselves?

Let the Hotels Know What You Think

Help us tell these hotels that Charleston deserves greener digs, and that they should be doing a better job as hosts to thousands of tourists each year. Two of these hotels have sustainability sections on their websites talking about all the amazing things they are doing – we call that greenwashing, and it’s not enough. Let them know what you think:

Embassy Suites: phone | email | website | sustainability
Charleston Marriott: phone | email | website | sustainability
Charleston Place Hotel: phone | email | website
Francis Marion Hotel: phone | email | website
The Mills House: phone | email | website
The Market Pavilion: phone | email | website



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