Study on hotel towels re-use: Force of habit saves laundry and cuts pressure on environment

Α Decrease font Enlarge font
Study on hotel towels re-use: Force of habit saves laundry and cuts pressure on environmentStudy asks what makes hotel guests re-use towels rather than have them replaced

Who hasn’t seen those little signs in hotel bathrooms urging us to re-use our towels for the sake of the environment? The appeal tends to sound a bit threatening: “Every day tonnes of towels are washed in hotels around the world, consuming huge amounts of detergent that pollutes our water.” But the invitation to use the towel again often falls on deaf ears – in the experience of tourism group TUI. “Towels aren’t the only way, but they are one way tourists can play a  role in protecting the environment,” observes TUI Benelux sustainability manager Melvin Mak. He has been visiting one of the company’s own-brand hotels to test better ways of winning guests over. His conclusion: emphasis on habits, rather than threats, helps to reduce  laundry.

Melvin Mak performed an experiment for over a month at the 4-star hotel “Magic Life” on the Canary island of Fuerteventura. The hotel has about 700 rooms for a total capacity of 1,800 guests, and in these rooms he placed a variety of signs in Spanish, English and German. Some of the guests were reminded in the usual rather threatening tone about the environmental impact of their towel use, while other texts played more on the force of habit: “Reuse me again tomorrow. Just like at home.”

The manager was pleased with the result: “We saw that more guests reduced their towel use when attention was drawn to their habits back home,” Mak summarises. The re-use rate for bath towels increased to 49.4 per cent, compared with 38.6 per cent in the threat scenario. Hand towels showed a re-use rate increase from 43.1 per cent to 56.3 per cent. Out of 100 towels, this means that an extra 11 bath towels and 13 hand towels no longer had to be washed. “At home people wash their towels every three or four days,” explains Mak. “When you remind them of that, they can accept it on holiday too, as part of everyday life and as normal, logical behaviour.”

At first glance, Melvin Mak’s calculations only suggest a slight rise in the re-use rate among holidaymakers, but the environmental impact is significant. If we extrapolate for a whole year at the hotel where the test was conducted, the results translate into 56,474 fewer big towels and 69,616 fewer small towels being washed. Every 10kg towel wash consumes at least 50 litres of water and 1.2 kilowatt-hours of electricity, so 3 per cent saves 129,000 litres of water, which means CO₂ emissions for the hotel can be cut by 1,676 kg.

The testers were surprised, however, by a finding on humour. They had also displayed humorous texts in bathrooms – and there the re-use rate actually fell substantially to 25.8 per cent, even lower than the rate of 36.7 per cent in bathrooms where there were no signs at all. “Perhaps our text wasn’t clear enough, and of course people’s sense of humour varies,” says Mak. That question needs further testing. But one conclusion is clear: “Habits help more than threats.” Melvin Mak is currently talking to his colleagues on the TUI Group sustainability team about whether more tests are needed in other regions and hotels – and how the findings can be used in future to design cards. A journal article with all the details of the study will be published in collaboration with Prof. Xavier Font of Surrey University, UK.

In 2015 TUI Group adopted its sustainability strategy “Better Holidays, Better World 2015-2020”. One goal is to deliver ten million greener and fairer holidays a year by 2020. TUI also intends to operate Europe’s most carbon-efficient airlines by 2020 and to reduce the CO2 intensity of its activities by 10% – and here the Group’s own portfolio of more than 300 hotels can make an important contribution, as Melvin Mak’s study demonstrates.

About the TUI Group

TUI Group is the world’s number one integrated tourism group operating in around 180 destinations worldwide. The company is domiciled in Germany. TUI Group’s share is listed in the FTSE 100 index, the leading index of the London Stock Exchange and in the German open market. In financial year 2015/16, TUI Group recorded turnover of €17.2bn and an operating result of €1.001bn. The Group employs 67,000 people in more than 100 countries. TUI offers its 20 million customers comprehensive services from a single source. It covers the entire touristic value chain under one roof. This comprises leading tour operator brands and 1,600 travel agencies in Europe, five European airlines with around 150 modern medium and long-haul aircraft, more than 300 Group-owned hotels and resorts with premium brands such as RIU and Robinson. With cruise ships ranging from the MS Europa and MS Europa 2 luxury class vessels to the “Mein Schiff” fleet of TUI Cruises and the vessels of Thomson Cruises in the UK, TUI is also strongly positioned in the growing cruise sector. Global responsibility for sustainable economic, ecological and social activity is a key feature of our corporate culture. The TUI Care Foundation builds on the potential of tourism as a force for good by initiating projects that create new opportunities for the next generation and contribute to thriving destinations all over the world. As the only tourism group, TUI it is listed in the renowned Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) World.

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinations Greek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

 

 

Tornos
  1. 21/01 23:12

    Patras Carnival kicks off in a feast of sound and color

  2. 21/01 23:09

    Greece main issue on the agenda of the Eurogroup of January 22nd

  3. 21/01 23:00

    Anastasiades big favorite to win re-election in Cyprus but not in first round

  4. 21/01 22:47

    Weather service warns of storms and snow in Greece from Sunday afternoon

  5. 21/01 22:44

    EWG chief blames politicians for Greek crisis and supports debt relief

  6. 21/01 22:39

    Foreign ministry: No confirmation that Greek was among Kabul terror victims

  7. 21/01 22:33

    Report: New Greek neo-nazi group threatens Muslims and migrants

  8. 21/01 22:26

    Building up in flames in Thessaloniki during Macedonia protest rally (videos)

  9. 21/01 21:36

    Greek PM on Macedonia issue: Foolish to waste opportunity for solution

  10. 21/01 21:26

    Protesting Greek farmers plan to block national roads with tractors again

  11. 21/01 20:09

    Protest rally over Macedonia name issue concluded in Thessaloniki (videos)

  12. 21/01 18:59

    Fury in FYROM and Greece over rights to Macedonia name (videos)

  13. 21/01 12:55

    Standard & Poor's raises Greece sovereign credit rating to B from B-

  14. 21/01 12:51

    Exhumation of Greek soldiers killed in Albania to start on Monday

  15. 21/01 10:43

    Vote Athens for Best European Destination 2018

  16. 20/01 21:20

    Greek oncologist develops first blood test for eight types of cancer

  17. 20/01 21:13

    Cyta: Vodafone is the preferred bidder for Greece subsidiary

  18. 20/01 20:58

    Former Greek Finance Minister Varoufakis: I called Tsipras an idiot

  19. 20/01 20:51

    Expression of interest invitation for Chios marina extended by privatization agency

  20. 20/01 20:36

    National Bank of Greece has eliminated its dependency on ELA funding

  21. 20/01 19:07

    +12,5% tourist arrivals to Cyprus in December 2017

  22. 20/01 18:43

    IMF chief: Greece is now better equipped to achieve economic growth

  23. 20/01 16:31

    EWG opens way for completion of program review 6.7 billion loan tranche

  24. 20/01 16:30

    Bulgarian Interior Minister Radev visits Moria hotspot on Lesvos island

  25. 20/01 14:56

    Greece-Bulgaria to tacke tax avoidance of Greek businesses and smuggling

  26. 20/01 14:36

    Groundwork for reconstruction of Philip V Stoa on Greek island of Delos is complete

  27. 20/01 13:05

    FYROM FM Dimitrov on state TV: We were and will remain Macedonians

  28. 20/01 10:02

    Greek president hails Orthodox Church's stance towards national issues

  29. 19/01 23:33

    Fraport Greece appoints Ilias Maragakis as new Chief Operating Officer

  30. 19/01 23:28

    Minister: Thessaloniki metro extensions to cost between €1.2 to 1.3 billion

  31. 19/01 23:22

    Hollywood star Lindsay Lohan to open second nightclub in Greece

  32. 19/01 23:11

    Greece aims to attract Latin American tourists

  33. 19/01 23:01

    Athens’ Hotel Grande Bretagne in Conde Nast’s 2018 Gold List

  34. 19/01 22:57

    Fyrom PM confirms meeting with Greek counterpart in Davos on January 24

  35. 19/01 22:29

    144K more jobs created in Greece during 2017 than lost

  36. 19/01 22:18

    Restaurant week in Athens between February 1-11

  37. 19/01 22:06

    Greek FinMin denies report over tax-free income measure implemented earlier

  38. 19/01 21:57

    Japanese band plays Greek "tsifteteli" dance song (video)

  39. 19/01 21:43

    Survey: Majority of Greek CEOs believe reforms will continue only with supervision

  40. 19/01 16:26

    Greek MIT professor who solved “Nash Puzzle” sad over brain drain

  41. 19/01 16:00

    Holiday bookings from the Netherlands to Greece on the rise

  42. 19/01 15:43

    Consumer confidence soars in Greece with the growth in summer tourism

  43. 19/01 15:09

    Young Diaspora Cypriots invited to explore their island of descent

  44. 19/01 14:47

    BoG head: Central bank has an obligation to publicly warn about risks

  45. 19/01 14:35

    Greek State budget surplus for 2017 exceeds target

  46. 19/01 10:48

    Latest investment schemes under development law reach €519 million

  47. 19/01 01:39

    Report: North and South Korea to march under same flag in Winter Olympics

  48. 19/01 01:35

    Barnes International Realty opens office in Greek capital of Athens

  49. 19/01 01:31

    Greek privatization agency issues business plan for tenders without deadlines

  50. 19/01 01:24

    Report: Drone photo of Greek landscape among top-10 for 2017

  51. 19/01 01:11

    Turkish hackers tweet pro-Erdogan propaganda to Trump from ex-Fox accounts

  52. 19/01 01:01

    New law foresees two month closure of casino owing back wages in Greece

  53. 19/01 00:55

    Greece ranks first in absorption of EU funds during 2007-2013

  54. 19/01 00:42

    Cyprus residents' trips abroad grow by 5% in December

  55. 19/01 00:36

    New record: Tourists arrivals in Cyprus during 2017 reach 3.6 million

  56. 19/01 00:36

    Northern Greece's olive oil 'Makri' to be given PDO status

  57. 19/01 00:24

    Bulgarian PM optimistic over prospects of resolving FYROM name dispute

  58. 19/01 00:20

    Bank of Greece Governor Yiannis Stournaras unafraid of terror attacks

  59. 18/01 23:20

    Qatar Airways to use ultra-modern Airbus A350 on Athens-Doha route

  60. 18/01 22:51

    Arms dealer on United States blacklist linked to Cypriot companies

  61. 18/01 20:47

    Series of actions to promote the popular Greek island of Paros

  62. 18/01 16:03

    Citigroup: Greece needs post-bailout watching despite big surplus

  63. 18/01 14:50

    Greek Diva Maria Callas returns back on stage as a hologram

  64. 18/01 12:44

    Greece attracts strong interest for new offshore oil and gas tenders

  65. 18/01 10:36

    Opposition leader: Greece needs a change of policy with lower taxes

  66. 18/01 01:30

    Greek Defense Minister: FYROM can use the name “Vardarska”

  67. 18/01 01:28

    NATO rules out invitation to FYROM without solution to name issue

  68. 18/01 01:18

    Pelion ski centre "Agriolefkes" opens after last days' heavy snowfall

  69. 18/01 00:57

    ASTA president: US travel agents invest in Greece as a leading tourist destination

  70. 18/01 00:27

    Air passengers and flights at Greek airports break records during 2017

  71. 17/01 22:35

    Hellenic Seaways scraps Thessaloniki-Sporades Islands ferry route

  72. 17/01 20:09

    Giant US investors want stake in Calamos’ Ethniki Insurance takeover

  73. 17/01 18:52

    Turkish Coast Guard vessel bumps into Greek warship Nikiforos near Imia islet

  74. 17/01 16:40

    Tourism receipts hit record high in Greece during January-September 2017

  75. 17/01 14:39

    Ancient Greek mosaic floor discovered in war-torn Syria while digging for mines

  76. 17/01 12:10

    Cambridge Uni archaeologists make new discoveries on Greek island of Keros

  77. 17/01 00:07

    UN envoy: Athens and Skopje have leaderships that 'genuinely want a solution'

  78. 16/01 20:19

    Transport Minister: Contracts for Larnaca port and marina to be signed in 2018

  79. 16/01 20:06

    Albanian PM: We are not blame for deteriorated relations with Greece

  80. 16/01 20:06

    Albanian PM: We are not blame for deteriorated relations with Greece

  81. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  82. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  83. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  84. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  85. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  86. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  87. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  88. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  89. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  90. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  91. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  92. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  93. 16/01 19:51

    Only a few telephony providers remain 11 years after deregulation in Greece

  94. 16/01 19:46

    Report: These are the 10 worst countries to be a Christian

  95. 16/01 19:41

    4.2-magnitude quake shakes Attica without damages reported

  96. 16/01 19:31

    Land deed operators oppose abolition of offices throughout Greece

  97. 16/01 19:23

    Turkey reveals route for new canal to facilitate Bosphorus shipping

  98. 16/01 19:13

    Contracts signed for Paralimni marina in south-eastern Cyprus

  99. 16/01 19:09

    UN sees positive momentum to solve the "Macedonia" name dispute

  100. 16/01 18:59

    JP Morgan hires Greek former debt management agency chief