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VU study looks at "greening" hotel guest behaviour

Hotel and motel guests usually receive fresh towels every day, but what does it take to encourage the guests to re-use them?

With an increasing focus on water conservation and environmental sustainability, Victoria University researchers will investigate this question in a six-month study conducted in association with Tourism Victoria and Monash University.

Dr Judith Mair, Postdoctoral Research Fellow with VU’s School of Hospitality, Tourism and Marketing, said the research aims to understand hotel and motel guest behaviour by testing various messages that encourage towel re-use.

“Hotels and motels are large-volume users of water and detergents, and we are looking at finding the best ways to promote pro-environmental behaviour among their guests,” she said.

The research will track whether guests re-use their towels when one of three cards encouraging the behaviour is placed in their rooms.

One set of cards will inform guests only how much water the hotel uses by washing its towels. A second set will add to that information a request to re-use towels. A third set will contain all that information, but add statistics detailing the percentage of other guests who re-used their towels.

Initially, researchers will survey some 300 guests and hotels and motels around Victoria over the coming months, then determine which method is most effective. Researchers aim to extend their study to include a larger number of accommodation providers after that.

The project is jointly funded by the Victoria University Researcher Development Grant Scheme and Tourism Victoria.

Dr Judith Mair is available for interview.

Contact:

Dr Judith Mair, Postdoctoral Research Fellow,

School of Hospitality, Tourism and Marketing, Victoria University

Ph: (03) 9919 9581

Media contact:

Ann Marie Angebrandt, Marketing and Communications Department, Victoria University

Ph: (03) 9919 5487; mobile: 0403 556 001

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