International Journal of Hospitality Management 30 (2011) 345–355
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International Journal of Hospitality Management
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/ijhosman
Are lodging customers ready to go green? An examination of attitudes,
demographics, and eco-friendly intentions
Heesup Han a,* , Li-Tzang Jane Hsu b,1 , Jin-Soo Lee c,2 , Chwen Sheu d,3
Department of Tourism Management, College of Business Administration at Dong-A University, Bumin-dong 2-ga, Seo-gu, Busan 602-760, Republic of Korea
College of Business Administration at Kansas State University, 2E Calvin Hall, Manhattan, KS 66506-1404, USA
School of Hotel and Tourism Management at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong
College of Business Administration at Kansas State University, 19D Calvin Hall, Manhattan, KS 66506-1404, USA
a r t i c l e
i n f o
a b s t r a c t
This study attempted to answer the following research questions: (1) Do eco-friendly attitudes affect hotel
customers’ environmentally friendly intentions to visit a green hotel, to spread word-of-mouth about a
green hotel, and to pay more for a green hotel?; (2) If so, which facet of attitudes has the greatest impact?;
(3) How do their expressed intentions differ across gender, age, education, and household income?; (4)
How do such expressed intentions differ based on the existence of previous experience staying at a green
hotel? A total of 422 cases were used to answer the research questions. Findings indicate that customers’
green attitudes are, in general, signi?cantly associated with their expressed intentions to visit a green
hotel, to spread word-of-mouth about a green hotel, and to pay more for it. Gender differences in such
intentions were found, and the intentions were affected by their previous experiences with a green hotel.
However, the eco-friendly intentions did not signi?cantly differ across age, education, and household
© 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
The concept of business sustainability has received considerable
attention from both practitioners and academicians, and concerns
regarding environmental protection have brought about changes
in consumer demands and behaviors (Mendleson and Polonsky,
1995; Ottman, 1992). A large number of customers show increased
environmental awareness and a preference for green ?rms and
their products, revealing their willingness to purchase and pay
more for environmentally friendly products/services (Manaktola
and Jauhari, 2007; Mendleson and Polonsky, 1995; Vandermerwe
and Oliff, 1990). A recent research done by the Athens Laboratory of Research in Marketing in collaboration with the Center of
Sustainability about the green marketing found more than 92% of
consumers has a positive attitude towards the companies that are
sensitive on environmental matters (Papadopoulos et al., 2009). To
ful?ll emerging green needs, business leaders in various ?elds have
made every effort to change their corporate structures/cultures to
* Corresponding author. Tel.: +82 51 200 7427; fax: +82 51 200 4335.
E-mail addresses: email@example.com (H. Han), firstname.lastname@example.org (L.-T.J. Hsu),
email@example.com (J.-S. Lee), firstname.lastname@example.org (C. Sheu).
Tel.: +1 785 532 6275; fax: +1 785 532 5959.
Tel.: +852 2766 4766; fax: +852 2362 9362.
Tel.: +1 785 532 4363; fax: +1 785 532 1339.
0278-4319/$ – see front matter © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
be more environmentally responsible and to modify their existing products/services to be more environmental friendly (Dief and
Font, 2010; D’Souza and Taghian, 2005; Ottman, 1992).
The competitiveness of the travel industry can be enhanced by
the popularity of a destination environment and by the presence
of natural attractions. However, travel products often negatively
impact the natural environment since heavy visitor traf?c can lead
to degradation of natural structures (Hillery et al., 2001). Nowadays, hotels are increasingly focusing on green management as
they contribute to environmental degradation through the construction of buildings, waste disposal, and water usage (Mensah,
2006). According to a report by UNWTO, UNEP, and WMO (2007),
the hotel industry is responsible for about 21% of all CO2 emissions
related to tourism. As people are increasingly concerned about
global warming, travelers are more likely to make an eco-friendly
decision to select a hotel. Therefore, a growing number of hotels
ha implemented eco-friendly practices and environmental strategies, and converted purchasing or operating procedures to be more
environmentally friendly (Ton, 1996; Wolfe and Shanklin, 2001).
Gradually, going green is believed to be an effective competitive
edge in the lodging market (Gustin and Weaver, 1996; Manaktola
and Jauhari, 2007; Wolfe and Shanklin, 2001; Han et al., 2009). As
a result, a critical challenge for hotel marketers is to gain a better
understanding of current/potential customer’s desire and intention
for green consumption (Han et al., 2009). In particular, improving their understanding of the eco-friendly attitudinal pro?les of
H. Han et al. / International Journal of Hospitality Management 30 (2011) 345–355
customers and identifying the demographic pro?les of environmentally responsible customers can be advantageous strategies.
Attempts have been made in the marketing and consumer
behavior literature to identify how individuals’ ecological attitudes
stimulate ecological buying activities (e.g., Kalafatis et al., 1999;
Laroche et al., 2001; Manaktola and Jauhari, 2007; Roberts, 1996),
and to examine the impact of personal characteristics on ecofriendly consumption (e.g., Banerjee and McKeage, 1994; Laroche
et al., 2001; McIntyre et al., 1993; Roberts, 1996). Yet, only a few
researchers have examined (1) the possible relationships between
lodging customers’ green attitudes in their daily lives and their
expressed eco-friendly intentions to visit, to spread word-of-mouth
about, and to pay more for a green hotel and (2) gender, age,
education, and income differences in forming hotel customers’
environmental friendly intentions. Moreover, little research to date
has investigated differences between experienced and inexperienced customers in forming eco-friendly intentions in the green
A study to examine associations among hotel customers’ green
attitudes, demographics, and eco-friendly intentions not only can
help hotel operators to understand their current/potential customers’ eco-friendly purchasing behaviors, but also can help them
to formulate better marketing strategies to reduce intensity of competition. The present study attempts to answer the following four
principal research questions:
(1) Do personal attitudes (i.e., regarding severity of environmental problems, inconvenience of being environmental friendly,
importance of being environmental friendly, and level of
responsibility of business corporations) affect eco-friendly
intentions to visit, to engage in word-of-mouth behaviors, and
to pay more for a green hotel?
(2) If so, which component of attitudes has the greatest impact?
(3) How do hotel customers’ eco-friendly intentions differ across
gender, age, education, and household income?
(4) How do such expressed intentions differ based on the existence
of previous experience staying at a green hotel?
In the next section, the concept of green hotel, environmentally friendly attitudes, and personal characteristics are brie?y
discussed. Next, the research methodology, including measures of
study variables, data collection procedures, and sample characteristics, is introduced. The statistical results are then presented
followed by the discussion of the managerial implications. Finally,
research limitations and some directions for future research are
ing, ventilating, and air-conditioning (e.g., electricity and gas); and
have released signi?cant amounts of emissions into the air, water,
and soil (APAT, 2002; Bohdanowicz, 2005; Chan, 2005; Radwan et
As more environmental rules/regulations appear and individuals’ environmental awareness increases, consumers are
increasingly searching for eco-friendly hotels over conventional
hotels. Consequently, many hotels are beginning to implement
various innovative methods to increase the “greenness” of their
operations (Dief and Font, 2010; Manaktola and Jauhari, 2007;
Wolfe and Shanklin, 2001). The term “green” refers to “actions that
reduce the impact on the environment, such as eco-purchasing
or recycling” (Wolfe and Shanklin, 2001, p. 209). In a similar manner, “green hotel” is de?ned as an eco-friendly hotel
operation that performs/follows various environmentally friendly
practices/programs such as saving water/energy, using eco-friendly
purchasing policies, and reducing emission/waste disposals to
protect the natural environment and reduce operational costs
(Green Hotel Association, 2008). Speci?cally, unlike conventional
hotels, green hotel establishments actively follow eco-friendly
guidelines and practice environmental management; committing
themselves to carrying out environmental improvements, demonstrating such commitment through eco-labels or the green globe
logo, and acquiring techniques related to best practices in environmental management with experts’ help (International Hotels
Environmental Initiative, 1993). It is generally agreed that turning
a lodging property green not only ful?lls environmentally cautious
customers’ green needs and assumes the responsibility of performing environmental duties, but also results in substantial cost saving
through various environmental bene?ts (e.g., source/waste reduction, product-life extension, energy/water conservation, recycling,
etc.) (Bali and Balfe, 1998; Chan, 2005; Manaktola and Jauhari,
2007; Wolfe and Shanklin, 2001).
In addition, green management has enhanced customer satisfaction, market demand (Manaktola and Jauhari, 2007), and corporate
image (Mensah, 2004; Penny, 2007). Firms with their green products can strengthen their eco-friendly image to attract more
customers’ attention. About 67% of Americans claimed that they are
likely to pay 5–10% more for green products as they are increasingly
concerned with preserving the environment (Coddington, 1990).
This movement has also reached the hotel industry. According to
Mensah (2004), (90)% of hotel guests would prefer to stay in a hotel
that implements green management. Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants also reported that 16% of their guests stay with them because
of their eco-friendly practices, such as the use of nontoxic cleaning
agents and in-room recycle bins (Bulter, 2008). Green management
in the hotel industry has now played a critical role in marketing and
2. Literature review
2.2. Are eco-friendly attitudes related to green consumption?
2.1. Becoming more “green”!
The lodging industry may not be the primary one that creates substantial environmental pollution and consumes signi?cant
amounts of global resources; however, because of its primary purposes of providing comfortable services/supplies (e.g., hot water,
food, drinks, linens, towels, lighting, air-conditioning, limousines,
swimming pools, etc.), hotels clearly consume gross amounts of
water, energy, non-recyclable goods, and natural resources, thus
directly or indirectly harming the environment (Bohdanowicz,
2005; Chan et al., 2009; Dief and Font, 2010; Radwan et al.,
2010). Conventional hotels, especially, are often associated with
issues related to deterioration of the environment. It has been
reported that conventional hotels (both large and small hotels)
have produced enormous harm to the environment from excessive
consumption of non-recyclable goods; water; and energy for heat-
Recognizing the seriousness of environmental problems possibly caused by excessive use of energy and non-renewable natural
resources, copious supplies of foods and products, environmentally unfriendly production processes, and environmental disasters,
increasing numbers of individuals are aware of environmental
issues and feel our natural resources are limited and the environment is more fragile than we once believed (Easterling et al., 1996;
Kalafatis et al., 1999; Krause, 1993). Such environmental awareness instills in the public a positive attitude toward eco-friendly
activities, and encourages people to more frequently engage in
ecological behaviors in their everyday lives (Kalafatis et al., 1999;
Laroche et al., 2001). These individuals have strong environmentally friendly attitudes, look for opportunities to behave in an
environmentally friendly ways, and often express environmental
concerns (Kalafatis et al., 1999; Mandese, 1991). The eco-friendly
H. Han et al. / International Journal of Hospitality Management 30 (2011) 345–355
attitudes are strongly associated with individuals’ levels of perceived importance of the environment (Amyx et al., 1994; Laroche
et al., 2001). Researchers agree that eco-friendly attitudes contain
several dimensions, such as (1) perceived severity of environmental problems, (2) inconvenience of being environmentally friendly,
(3) importance of being environmentally friendly, and (4) perceived level of corporate responsibility to be eco-friendly, with
the last indicating individuals’ beliefs that business ?rms should
be concerned about our environment and, thus, try to be ecologically responsible (Laroche et al., 2001; McCarty and Shrum, 1994;
Roberts, 1996). In other words, individuals with strong eco-friendly
attitudes generally perceive the seriousness of ecological problems
(1st dimension: perceived severity of environmental problems;
e.g., “Global resources, such as water, energy, trees, gas, and so on,
are limited.”), defy the notion that being environmentally friendly
is inconvenient (2nd dimension: inconvenience of being environmentally friendly; e.g., “Recycling is not much trouble.”), recognize
the signi?cance of being ecologically friendly (3rd dimension:
importance of being environmentally friendly; e.g., “Recycling will
reduce pollution and natural resources.”), and strongly believe
that business ?rms (e.g., hotels and restaurants) strive to be environmentally responsible (4th dimension: level of responsibility of
business corporations; e.g., “Businesses are highly concerned about
While personal inconvenience and additional costs could still
force environmentally conscious individuals to consume in an ecologically unfavorable fashion, researchers found that individuals’
environmentally friendly attitudes undoubtedly play a signi?cant role in in?uencing their eco-friendly purchasing behaviors
(e.g., Kalafatis et al., 1999; Laroche et al., 2001; Manaktola and
Jauhari, 2007; Roberts, 1996; Han et al., 2009). In their investigation of demographic, psychological, and behavioral pro?les of
green customers, Laroche et al. (2001) found that consumers’ environmentally friendly attitudes are strongly associated with positive
intentions to pay more for a green product. Examining consumer
attitudes toward hotels’ green practices and behaviors, Manaktola
and Jauhari (2007) concluded that customers who are aware of
a hotel’s eco-friendly practices show a preference to patronize a
green lodging property. Further, Roberts (1996) indicated that consumer attitudes are signi?cant predictors of ecologically conscious
consumer behaviors. His ?ndings revealed that environmentally
conscious people are likely to engage in eco-friendly consumer
behaviors, and individuals who believe their speci?c ecological
activities can cause positive change are more likely to display
green consumer behaviors. He also suggested that individuals’
beliefs about the fact that environmental resource problems can
be reduced encourage more ecologically friendly consumer behaviors. In their study of the roles of attitudes toward green behaviors,
overall image, gender, and age in hotel customer’s eco-friendly
decision-making process, Han et al. (2009) found that customers
who have favorable attitudes toward eco-friendly behaviors in their
everyday lives and positive images of green hotels are willing to
stay at a green hotel, to recommend it, and to pay more.
Furthermore, eco-friendly attitudes can suggest another business direction and strategy to the hotel industry. Hartmann et al.
(2005) elaborated the notion of green positioning and claimed that
an effective green positioning strategy builds on both functional
attributes and emotional bene?ts. Functional attributes is strongly
linked with bene?ts of green products/services. For instance, the
Chicago Hyatt Regency saved $120,000 through its waste reduction
and recycling program. The LA Intercontinental Hotel implemented
a power monitoring system and reduced its electricity costs by
$12,000 (Mensah, 2004). Hilton International introduced its “ecoroom.” About 97% of its materials are recyclable, including pure
cotton and wool, a minimal use of chrome and metal, and wood for
all furniture and ?oors, along with energy-saving devices (Hotelier,
2005). Many guests prefer to stay in eco-rooms since the ecorooms are not only environment-friendly, but also advantageous
to allergy sufferers (Hotelier, 2005). Evidently, a hotel that successfully implements green practices can reduce its energy and
water consumption and enhance guest satisfaction, thereby receiving bene?ts of functional attributes from green products.
However, functional attributes alone do not guarantee the success of a green positioning because a functional attribute-based
positioning can always be readily copied by competitors (Aaker,
1996). Therefore, a green positioning strategy that reinforces
emotional bene?t is also needed to complement the functional
positioning. According to the survey by IHEI (Hotel Online, 2002),
53% of the Brits and Australians surveyed expressed a preference for
staying at hotels that implement environmental programs. Hotel
guests sense emotional bene?t of saving a green environment
for the next generation and were motivated to stay at a green
hotel. Speci?cally, emotional bene?ts can be the feeling of wellbeing that is inspired by altruistic behavior (Ritov and Kahnemann,
1997) and a degree of positive self-expression that is associated
with socially conscious consumption of green products/services
(Belz and Dyllik, 1996). As potential guests increasingly seem to
prefer green hotels, the hotel industry began to see green practices not only as a temporary strategic and operational planning
project, but rather as a fundamental motive that should underlie all
hotel management efforts. Overall, green management can create
tremendous competitive edge for a hotel by enabling brand differentiation, cultivating customer loyalty, and improving a hotel’s
2.3. Personal characteristics and consumer behaviors
The literature has discussed the important role of demographic
characteristics to understand consumer behaviors better in many
?elds. Speci?cally, numerous studies have veri?ed gender, age,
education, and income as signi?cant affecting factors in explaining customer buying behaviors (e.g., Evanschitzky and Wunderlich,
2006; Gilly and Zeithaml, 1985; Henion, 1972; Im et al., 2003;
Laroche et al., 2001; Roberts, 1996). According to the social theory,
women and men play different roles and show dissimilar behaviors in society because they are differently socialized (Saad and Gill,
2000; Sarbin and Allen, 1968). Speci?cally, the early socialization
of females tends to be passive and restrained, and the socialization of males is likely to be more proactive or self-reliant (Saad
and Gill, 2000; Sarbin and Allen, 1968). Gender differences have
been investigated extensively in the consumer behavior literature.
Generally, the literature suggested that males and females differ
in their consumption patterns and behaviors. Han and Ryu (2006)
identi?ed gender differences in upscale restaurant customer’s
decision-making process. Females are more concerned about other
people’s welfare (Eagly, 1987), perceive interpersonal relationships
as being more important (Konrad et al., 2000), and reveal greater
preference for information and communication (Lehto et al., 2001).
Furthermore, women tend to be more environmentally conscious
and more frequently form environmentally friendly consumption
intentions (Banerjee and McKeage, 1994; McIntyre et al., 1993). In
a hotel context, Han et al. (2009) identi?ed that gender has a significant moderating role in customer’s eco-friendly decision-making
Age is another personal characteristic that has received considerable research attention. Researchers in various ?elds have
investigated age differences in consumer behavior and concluded
that age-related differences in purchasing behavior and decisionmaking do exist (Evanschitzky and Wunderlich, 2006; Homburg
and Giering, 2001; Im et al., 2003). While ?ndings in ecological consumer behavior studies are inconsistent, some early results showed
that age is signi?cantly related to environmentally friendly buy-
H. Han et al. / International Journal of Hospitality Management 30 (2011) 345–355
ing behaviors and eco-friendly intention formation (Anderson and
Cunningham, 1972; Van Liere and Dunlap, 1981). More speci?cally,
the ?ndings indicated that ecological customers who frequently
make green purchasing decisions are more likely to be younger.
Younger people with better information processing capacities tend
to search for new and alternative information (Evanschitzky and
Wunderlich, 2006; Gilly and Zeithaml, 1985), which may motivate
them to make green lodging purchasing decisions because they
are more knowledgeable about green lodging properties and the
bene?ts of staying at a green hotel.
The signi?cant role of education and income in the process of
decision-making and environmental purchasing is also identi?ed
in the extant literature. According to Keaveney and Parthasarathy
(2001), consumers with higher levels of education and income
have more capability to develop sophisticated and credible estimations of what to expect from a product/service, thus their buying
behaviors and expressed intentions are dissimilar to lower income
and less educated consumers. In addition, many researchers in
consumer behavior found that education and income have a signi?cant role in explaining customer post-purchase behaviors (e.g.,
Evanschitzky and Wunderlich, 2006; Im et al., 2003). Similarly, in
developing a pro?le of eco-friendly customers, researchers identi?ed that individuals who are highly educated and have higher
income tend to be more ecologically conscious and engage more
actively in forming eco-friendly intentions and purchasing green
products (e.g., Henion, 1972; Roberts, 1996). In sum, previous studies related to demographic characteristics showed that customers’
buying behaviors and expressed intentions varied as a function of
those demographic characteristics (i.e., gender, age, education, and
income) and suggested that environmentally conscious customers
are more likely to be female, younger, more educated, and earn
more money than average.
3.1. The questionnaire
The questionnaire consisted of three sections. The ?rst section
included a thorough description of a green lodging property to help
survey participants understand what a green hotel is. The second
part contained questions about environmentally friendly attitudes
in their everyday life (i.e., severity of environmental problems,
inconvenience of being environmentally friendly, importance of
being environmentally friendly, and level of responsibility of business corporations) and intentions to visit, spread word-of-mouth
about, and pay more for a green hotel. The measurement items
were generated by closely following previous studies (Laroche et al.,
2001; Mathieson, 1991; Maxham and Netemeyer, 2002; McCarty
and Shrum, 1994; Zeithaml et al., 1996). Speci?cally, the items
were modi?ed for the green hotel context. All constructs were measured with multiple items using a 7-point Likert-type scale ranging
from 1 = strongly disagree to 7 = strongly agree. The speci?c scales
and their related items are presented in Table 1. The last survey
section included questions about demographic information such
as gender, age, years of education, household income, frequency
of a hotel stay, and previous experience with a green hotel. The
total measurement items for individual’s environmentally friendly
attitudes were developed from the literature and were submitted
to 30 academic and industry professionals and actual hotel customers for feedback in order to retain measurement items free of
vagueness, irrelevance, and overlap. Eight items for attitudes were
retained through this process. Subsequently, the questionnaire was
pretested on a group of 20 hospitality faculty and industry professionals for re?nement and face validity. The results of the pilot test
indicated that items for each study construct had an adequate level
of reliability and validity.
2.4. Importance of the existence of previous experience
3.2. Data collection and sample characteristics
Previous studies about the modi?ed theory of planned behavior have identi?ed the important role of the existence/frequency of
past experience in intention formation (Lam and Hsu, 2006; Oh
and Hsu, 2001; Perugini and Bagozzi, 2001). Their studies indicated that individuals’ past behavior (or experience) relates to their
intentions. Similarly, Buhalis (1999) found that a travelers’ behavior is strongly associated with a range of factors, including his/her
Previous experience can be more in?uential with services, particularly lodging services, than with tangible products. Since hotel
services are almost intangible (few tangible cues on which to rely)
and dif?cult to standardize, it is dif?cult for hotel consumers to predict what hotel service will be like before they actually purchase
and consume it (Back, 2005; Han and Back, 2008). In other words,
hotel services can be possibly perceived by potential customers as
high risk. Accordingly, hotel customers may rely heavily on their
past experience with services a speci?c hotel provides when making decisions. Supporting this notion, some recent studies identi?ed
the important role of past experience/behavior in customers’ intention formation for the product that has the highly intangible nature
(e.g., meeting participation or destination choice) (Lam and Hsu,
2006; Lee and Back, 2007, 2009). Within hotel service-purchase
decision situations, an individual’s past experience may be strongly
related to his/her intentions to revisit a hotel, to engage in wordof-mouth behaviors, and to pay more. Hotel customers who have
stayed at a green hotel have had opportunities to experience various eco-friendly services and may be aware of what is available.
Customers who have never stayed at a green hotel, on the other
hand, may not be aware of various services/bene?ts available at a
In the present study, an online survey was employed to collect
data to effectively reach general hotel customers. The utilization of
an online survey is becoming more popular and acceptable in the
academic research because it is easier to reach the general population and to obtain more candid responses (Han and Kim, 2009;
Han et al., 2009; Kim, 2001; Kim and Ok, 2009; Kim and Canter,
2010). The questionnaire was coded in an online market research
company’s survey program and electronically sent to 3,000 common U.S. hotel patrons, who were randomly selected from the
company’s database. This market research company, maintaining a by-invitation-only database, provides a small incentive for
respondents’ participation in the form of credits. Researchers using
the company’s online survey program and system pay the percompleted-response fee.
After excluding incomplete and otherwise unusable responses,
a total of 422 usable questionnaires were retained for analysis.
Thus, the usable response rate was 14.07%. Table 2 presents a
demographic summary of the study sample. Of 422 participants,
206 were male and 216 were female. The mean age was 44.5
years with a median of 41 years. Among the participants, 55.7%
had an undergraduate or postgraduate degree, and 44.3% had less
than an undergraduate college degree. About 35.1% of respondents’ annual household income was under $39,999; 44.1% was
between $40,000 and $84,999; 20.8% was over $85,000. A total
of 58 respondents indicated that they had a previous experience
staying at a green hotel; 237 of the participants reported that
they have never stayed at a green hotel; and 127 respondents disclosed that they were not sure whether they had stayed at a green
H. Han et al. / International Journal of Hospitality Management 30 (2011) 345–355
Measurement items for study variables.
Measurement items (strongly disagree (1)/strongly agree (7))
Eco-friendly attitudes (Laroche et al., 2001;
McCarty and Shrum, 1994)
SEP (reverse coded)
Intention to visit (Mathieson, 1991; Zeithaml
et al., 1996)
Intention to spread word-of-mouth (Maxham
and Netemeyer, 2002; Zeithaml et al., 1996)
Intention to pay more (Maxham and
Netemeyer, 2002; Zeithaml et al., 1996)
1. In our country, we have enough electricity, water, and trees that we do not have to
worry about conservation.
2. The earth is a closed system where everything eventually returns to normal, so I see no
need to worry about its present state.
INEF (reverse coded)
1. Recycling is too much trouble.
2. Keeping separate piles of garbage for recycling is too much trouble.
1. Recycling will reduce pollution.
2. Recycling is important to save natural resources.
1. Hospitality operations (e.g., hotels and restaurants) are concerned about the
2. Packaged food or paper companies are concerned about the environment.
1. I will stay at a green hotel when traveling.
2. I will make an effort to stay at a green hotel when traveling.
3. I am willing to stay at a green hotel when traveling.
1. I will encourage my friends and relatives to stay at a green hotel when traveling.
2. If someone is looking for a hotel, I will suggest to him/her to stay at a green hotel.
3. I will say positive things about an environmentally friendly hotel.
1. I will spend extra in order to stay at an environmentally friendly hotel.
2. It is acceptable to pay more for a hotel that engages in green practices.
3. I am willing to pay more for a green hotel.
Note: SEP = severity of environmental problems; INEF = inconvenience of being environmentally friendly; IMEF = importance of being environmentally friendly; LRBC =
of responsibility of business corporations.
A series of multiple regression analyses were utilized to examine the effects of attitude components on intentions to visit a green
hotel, to engage in word-of-mouth, and to pay more. Standardized
coef?cients and t-values were used to determine which component
of attitudes has greatest impact. An analysis of variance (ANOVA)
was employed to investigate how customers’ eco-friendly intentions differ across gender, age, education, and household income,
and how intentions differ based on their previous experience staying at a green hotel. According to Hair et al. (1998), the effective
sample size used in multiple regression ranges from 20 to 1,000
depending on the numbers of independent variables and detectable
Under 30 years
60 years or older
High school or less
Previous experience with a green hotel
explanatory power (R2 ). Considering the number of independent
variables and ability of detecting R2 values in this study, the sample size of 422 cases in the present study was effective enough to
use multiple regression analyses. In addition, the 422 cases were
well above the required sample size for designing the proposed
ANOVA models in the present study, exceeding medium and large
effect size (Cohen, 1988). Overall, the sample size in this study was
suf?cient to validate the generalizability of the results.
4.1. Impact of eco-friendly attitudes
Before testing the impact of eco-friendly attitudes, the adequateness of this construct’s dimensionality was assessed. The
results of the con?rmatory factor analysis revealed that the
proposed four-dimensional structure of attitudes is extremely satisfactory (2 = 40.380 [df = 14, p < .001], RMSEA = 0.067, CFI = 0.990, NFI = 0.985). Thus, dimensionality of attitudes was con?rmed. Subsequently, multiple regression analyses were conducted to test the role of attitudes. Table 3 presents the results. The ?ndings indicated that components of eco-friendly attitudes (independent variables) are generally associated with eco-friendly intentions (dependent variables). In particular, importance of being environmentally friendly (?IMEF ? IV = .343, t = 7.034; ?IMEF ? ISWOM = .346, t = 6.992; ?IMEF ? IPM = .110, t = 2.063) and level of responsibility of business corporations (?LRC ? IV = .199, t = 4.315; ?LRC ? ISWOM = .220, t = 4.716; ?LRC ? IPM = .328, t = 6.521) signi?cantly strengthen hotel customers’ intentions to visit a green hotel, to engage in wordof-mouth behaviors, and to pay more for a green hotel. However, among the components of intentions, severity of environmental problems was not signi?cantly associated with any components of intentions (?SEP ? IV = .036, t = .516; ?SEP ? ISWOM = .028, t = .399; ?SEP ? IPM = .020, t = .257), and inconvenience of being environmentally friendly was signi?cantly related only to intention to visit (?INEF ? IV = .165, t = 2.393; ?INEF ? ISWOM = .106, t = 1.515; ?INEF ? IPM = .017, t = .220). These unexpected ?ndings imply that individual’s perceived severity of environmental problems does 350 H. Han et al. / International Journal of Hospitality Management 30 (2011) 345–355 Table 3 Determination of eco-friendly intentions. Eco-friendly attitudes Severity of environmental problems (SEP) Inconvenience of being environmentally friendly (INEF) Importance of being environmentally friendly (IMEF) Level of responsibility of business corporations (LRBC) Intention to visit (IV) Intention to spread wordof-mouth (ISWOM) Intention to pay more (IPM) Beta t-Values Beta t-Values Beta t-Values .036 .165* .343** .199** .516 2.393 7.034 4.315 .028 .106 .346** .220** .399 1.515 6.992 4.716 .020 .017 .110* .328** .257 .220 2.063 6.521 R2 (Adjusted): Intention to visit = .277 Intention to spread word-of-mouth = .257 Intention to pay more = .138 Note: All Beta values are standardized. Bolded numbers indicate the values that have the strongest impact on each dimension of decisions. * p < .05. ** p < .01. not contribute to building their eco-friendly intentions to visit a green hotel, to engage in word-of-mouth activities, or to pay more. In addition, individual’s perceived inconvenience of being ecologically friendly is not likely to induce their willingness to spread favorable word-of-mouth about a green hotel or to pay more for a green hotel. The unexpected results may be attributed to multicollinearity (Cohen and Cohen, 1975). Speci?cally, the correlation value between severity of environmental problems and inconvenience of being environmentally friendly is relatively high (.793), almost reaching a problematic level of .800 (Hair et al., 1998). Further, it can be also inferred that although the questionnaire was rigorously designed by following the various steps for re?nement and clarity, the use of reverse coded items for these constructs in the questionnaire probably confused survey participants, causing errors that bring undesirable results. Moreover, the results of the comparisons among the beta coef?cients along with t-values revealed that importance of being environmentally friendly had a greater impact on intentions to visit and to spread word-of-mouth than other facets of eco-friendly attitudes. Among the four components of attitudes, the level of responsibility of business corporations has the greatest impact on intention to pay more. The four components of eco-friendly attitudes explained approximately 27.7% of the total variance in intention to visit, 25.7% in intention to spread word-of-mouth, and 13.8% in intention to pay more. 4.2. Gender and eco-friendly intentions The ANOVA tests revealed signi?cant differences in intentions across gender groups (intention to visit: F (1, 420) = 8.877, p = .003; intention to spread word-of-mouth: F (1, 420) = 15.535, p = .000; intention to pay more: F (1, 420) = 10.943, p = .001). Table 4 and Fig. 1 present the results of the ANOVA tests. Mean scores for each intention were higher for the female group than male group (intention to visit: Mfemale = 5.485 vs. Mmale = 5.101; intention to spread word-of-mouth: Mfemale = 5.397 vs. Mmale = 4.803; intention to pay more: Mfemale = 4.316 vs. Mmale = 3.769). These ?ndings implied that women tend to rate eco-friendly intentions more favorably. In other words, female hotel customers showed greater willingness to visit Fig. 1. Gender difference in intentions (male and female). a green hotel, to recommend it, and to pay more for it. These results were consistent with previous research about gender differences in eco-friendly behaviors that suggested women are more likely to be ecologically conscious and more frequently make environmentally friendly intentions when purchasing (e.g., Banerjee and McKeage, 1994; Laroche et al., 2001; McIntyre et al., 1993; Roberts, 1996). 4.3. Age and eco-friendly intentions Consistent with earlier research ?ndings, results of the present study showed that mean scores in intentions for the lowest age group (under 30 years) were slightly higher than other age groups (intention to visit: Mlow = 5.426 vs. M30–59 years = 5.242 and Mover 60 years = 5.267; intention to spread word-of-mouth: Mlow = 5.267 vs. M30–59 years = 5.007 and Mover 60 years = 5.126; intention to pay more: Mlow = 4.315 vs. M30–59 years = 4.021 and Mover 60 years = 3.835). However, as shown in Table 5 and Fig. 2, the results of the ANOVA indicated that intentions were not statistically signi?cantly different among age groups (intention to visit: F (2, 419) = .718, p = .488; intention to spread word-of-mouth: F (2, 419) = .990, p = .373; intention to pay more: F (2, 419) = 2.232, p = .109). Furthermore, a post hoc test (Fisher’s LSD) for age groups indicated no signi?cant differences between any pair of groups. The Table 4 Results of ANOVA: gender differences in intentions. Variables Gender Mean (SD) Intention to visit Male Female Male Female Male Female 5.101 (1.291) 5.485 (1.354) 4.803 (1.599) 5.397 (1.496) 3.769 (1.646) 4.316 (1.750) Intention to spread word-of-mouth Intention to pay more F-Value p-Value 8.877 .003 15.535 .000 10.943 .001 H. Han et al. / International Journal of Hospitality Management 30 (2011) 345–355 351 Table 5 Results of ANOVA: age differences in intentions. Variables Intention to visit Intention to spread word-of-mouth Intention to pay more Age Mean (SD) F-Value Under 30 years 30–59 years 60 years or older Under 30 years 30–59 years 60 years or older Under 30 years 30–59 years 60 years or older 5.426 (1.201) 5.242 (1.370) 5.267 (1.405) 5.267 (1.393) 5.007 (1.606) 5.126 (1.681) 4.315 (1.556) 4.021 (1.724) 3.835 (1.843) p-Value .718 .488 .990 .373 2.232 .109 Table 6 Results of ANOVA: education differences in intentions. Variables Education Mean (SD) F-Value p-Value Intention to visit High school or less Some college College graduate Postgraduate High school or less Some college College graduate Postgraduate High school or less Some college College graduate Postgraduate 4.977 (1.735) 5.357 (1.320) 5.411 (1.169) 5.297 (1.384) 4.845 (1.740) 5.363 (1.429) 5.014 (1.629) 4.971 (1.593) 4.264 (1.691) 4.037 (1.872) 4.049 (1.637) 3.967 (1.626) 1.514 .210 2.082 .102 .293 .831 Intention to spread word-of-mouth Intention to pay more current ?ndings suggested that age did not have a signi?cant role in explaining hotel customers’ eco-friendly intentions. 4.4. Education and eco-friendly intentions In addition, the results of Fisher’s LSD analysis indicated that the components of intentions did not signi?cantly differ between any pair of education groups. The results lead to the conclusion that hotel customers’ willingness to visit a green hotel and their intentions to spread word-of-mouth about it and to pay more for it are not necessarily related to their education level. The current study ?ndings were not in line with previous research about education differences in purchasing behaviors (e.g., Evanschitzky and Wunderlich, 2006; Roberts, 1996). It is possible that the effect of education on consumer purchasing behavior varies across industries. Education differences in hotel customers’ ecological intentions were examined next. Mean scores for education groups are shown in Table 6 and Fig. 3. For intention to visit (ranked high to low; Mcollege graduate = 5.411 vs. Msome college = 5.357, Mpostgraduate = 5.297, and Mhigh school or less = 4.977) and intention to spread wordof-mouth (Msome college = 5.363 vs. Mcollege graduate = 5.014 vs., Mpostgraduate = 4.971, and Mhigh school or less = 4.845), the “college graduate” and “some college” groups showed the highest mean values among the four education groups. With regard to intention to pay more, the “high school or less” group reported an average of 4.264, which was greater than the averages of other groups (Msome college = 4.037, Mcollege graduate = 4.049, and Mpostgraduate = 3.967). However, the results of the ANOVA tests did not yield statistically signi?cant differences in intentions among education groups (intention to visit: F (3, 418) = .1.514, p = .210; intention to spread word-of-mouth: F (3, 418) = 2.082, p = .102; or intention to pay more: F (3, 418) = .293, p = .831) (see Table 6). Investigation of the mean scores for household income groups indicated the low income group (under $39,999) had slightly higher mean values for intention to visit (Munder $39,999 = 5.349 vs. M$40,000–$84,999 = 5.253 and Mover $85,000 = 5.303) and intention to spread word-of-mouth (Munder $39,999 = 5.315 vs. M$40,000–$84,999 = 5.002 and Mover $85,000 = 4.977) among three income groups. The middle income group ($40,000–$84,999) showed a higher mean score for intention to pay Fig. 2. Age difference in intentions. Fig. 3. Education difference in intentions. 4.5. Income and eco-friendly intentions 352 H. Han et al. / International Journal of Hospitality Management 30 (2011) 345–355 Table 7 Results of ANOVA: income differences in intentions. Variables Intention to visit Intention to spread word-of-mouth Intention to pay more Income Mean (SD) Under $39,999 $40,000–$84,999 Over $85,000 Under $39,999 $40,000–$84,999 Over $85,000 Under $39,999 $40,000–$84,999 Over $85,000 5.349 (1.360) 5.253 (1.319) 5.303 (1.343) 5.315 (1.495) 5.002 (1.570) 4.977 (1.688) 3.948 (1.779) 4.235 (1.690) 3.826 (1.657) F-Value p-Value .215 .807 2.020 .134 2.090 .125 Table 8 Results of ANOVA: differences between experienced and inexperienced groups. Variables Previous experience Mean (SD) F-Value p-Value Intention to visit Experienced Inexperienced Experienced Inexperienced Experienced Inexperienced 5.615 (1.137) 5.125 (1.382) 5.184 (1.553) 4.896 (1.633) 4.552 (1.537) 3.875 (1.788) 6.240 .013 1.475 .225 7.028 .008 Intention to spread word-of-mouth Intention to pay more more (M$40,000–$84,999 = 4.235 vs. Munder $39,999 = 3.948 and Mover $85,000 = 3.826) (see Table 7 and Fig. 4). However, as Table 7 indicates, the ANOVA tests revealed that income differences in eco-friendly intentions were not signi?cant (intention to visit: F (2, 419) = .215, p = .807; intention to spread word-of-mouth: F (2, 419) = .2.020, p = .134; intention to pay more: F (2, 419) = 2.090, p = .125). A post hoc analysis using Fisher’s LSD also showed no signi?cant difference between any pair of income groups. These ?ndings implied that income is not strongly related to lodging customers’ green intention formation. The current results were not in line with the earlier research about income differences in consumer behaviors (e.g., Evanschitzky and Wunderlich, 2006; Homburg and Giering, 2001; Im et al., 2003). Similar to our ?ndings regarding education, future research should verify the effect of income on green hotel purchasing behavior. icant (see Table 8 and Fig. 5). A total of 127 cases were not included in the analyses due to respondents’ uncertainty regarding whether they had ever visited at a green hotel. Examination of the mean values revealed that mean scores for intention to visit (Mexperienced = 5.615 vs. Minexperienced = 5.125), to spread wordof-mouth (Mexperienced = 5.184 vs. Minexperienced = 4.896), and to pay more (Mexperienced = 4.552 vs. Minexperienced = 3.875) appeared to be higher in experienced group. These ?ndings implied the experienced group is more enthusiastic than the inexperienced group about staying at a green hotel and paying a price premium for a green hotel. 5. Discussion Finally, differences in intentions between customers who have stayed at a green hotel (n = 58) and customers who have never stayed at a green hotel (n = 237) were examined. The ?ndings from the ANOVA tests indicated that while the difference in intention to spread word-of-mouth is not signi?cant (F (1, 293) = 1.475, p = .225), differences in intentions to visit a green hotel (F (1, 293) = 6.240, p = .013) and to pay more for a green hotel (F (1, 293) = 7.028, p = .008) were statistically signif- As the previous studies indicated (e.g., Kalafatis et al., 1999; Laroche et al., 2001; Manaktola and Jauhari, 2007; Roberts, 1996), these study ?ndings, in general, demonstrated that hotel customer’s eco-friendly attitudes positively affect their expressed intention. In addition, the regression analyses revealed that the importance of being environmentally friendly best explained hotel customer’s intentions to visit a green hotel and to spread their experience. The level of responsibility of business corporations played the strongest role in driving customer’s intentions to pay more for a green hotel. These results are in line with previous research ?ndings (Laroche et al., 2001; Manaktola and Jauhari, 2007; Roberts, 1996). Our ?ndings suggested that, among the dimensions of attitudes, gendering in hotel customers’ the perceived importance of being Fig. 4. Income difference in intentions. Fig. 5. Comparison between experienced and inexperienced groups. 4.6. Differences of experienced and inexperienced groups in eco-friendly intentions H. Han et al. / International Journal of Hospitality Management 30 (2011) 345–355 environmentally friendly is the best way to encourage intentions to visit a green hotel and to spread word-of-mouth, and increasing their perceived level of responsibility of business corporations enhances their intentions to pay more. Therefore, green hotel operations should actively educate individuals through environmental campaigns or the tools of informal education (e.g., brochures, exhibitions, or seminars) that, although it may be inconvenient, their green practices (e.g., recycling) in everyday life indeed make a difference (e.g., reducing pollution or saving natural resources) and persuade them to perform eco-friendly practices (e.g., recycling). These types of efforts on the part of green hotel ?rms would reduce individuals’ perceptions of the inconvenience of carrying out ecological behaviors, as well as enhance their perceived importance of being environmentally friendly. In addition, green hotel ?rms should also demonstrate their environmental commitment in their facilities and make known their concerns for the welfare of the environment (e.g., following environmental regulations, conserving energy/water, or recycling). Such efforts would contribute to boosting hotel customers’ perceptions regarding the level of responsibility of business corporations. In other words, consumers would be more likely to believe that green hotel ?rms act responsibly towards the environment. In line with theories related to sex differences in human behaviors (i.e., social role theory and evolutionary psychology), gender differences in eco-friendly purchasing intentions were identi?ed in this research. Speci?cally, the ?ndings revealed that female customers showed greater willingness to purchase a green lodging product, to engage in positive word-of-mouth, and to pay more for an eco-friendly hotel. The results help marketers in green hotels acknowledge the characteristics of their target segment. According to Lehto et al. (2001), female customers tend to show stronger preferences for information/communication than male customers. Thus, to attract/retain more female customers, green hotel marketers should provide a learning opportunity to this group of customers by delivering various information/knowledge about their green programs and eco-friendly activities. Previous studies showed that consumer behaviors tend to differ based on characteristics of the customer (e.g., Baker et al., 2007; Evanschitzky and Wunderlich, 2006; Homburg and Giering, 2001; Im et al., 2003; Roberts, 1996; Sandahl and Robertson, 1989). More speci?cally, their expressed intentions are dissimilar across gender, age, education, and income. However, ?ndings in the current study revealed that, with the exception of gender, hotel customers’ intentions were not signi?cantly different across age, level of education, and level of household income. One of the possible reasons for such unexpected results is differences in consumer behaviors between purchasing green hotels and other green products. Picket et al. (1993) and Laroche et al. (2001) found that one speci?c environmentally conscious act does not necessarily transmit directly into another eco-friendly purchasing behavior. That is, a consumer who frequently buys a certain recycled product may not be the same one who is willing to visit a green hotel. Several other environmental research studies either found non-signi?cant roles of personal characteristics (e.g., Antil, 1984; Kassarjian, 1971) or reported contradictory ?ndings to most existing research (e.g., Sandahl and Robertson, 1989). Overall, our results indicated that facets of personal characteristics such as age, education, and income are less important than other variables (e.g., gender, eco-friendly attitudes, and previous experience with a green hotel) in explaining hotel customers’ environmentally friendly intentions. Researchers have indicated that realizing the seriousness of environmental problems increases demand on eco-friendly products/services (e.g., Laroche et al., 2001; Manaktola and Jauhari, 2007). In this study, 56.16% of the participants had never stayed at a green hotel. Moreover, 30.09% reported they were not sure whether they had ever visited a green hotel. Given this, it can be 353 inferred that many individuals are lacking information/knowledge about green hotels or do not even know of the existence of green lodging establishments. Obviously, marketers in various types of green hotel operations should be more proactive in informing current and potential customers of their green facilities, practices, and programs. Additionally, in the current study, interesting differences were found when comparing respondents who have stayed at a green hotel versus those who have never stayed at a green lodging operation. The experienced group of customers scored signi?cantly higher on intentions to visit and to pay more. Therefore, marketers should enhance their customer retention strategies with the realization that once hotel customers experience the favorable green attributes of a hotel (e.g., cotton towels, locally grown organic foods, unbleached linens, non-polluting soaps, or healthy natural air, etc.), they are likely to develop positive attitudes toward green lodging establishments. While the current research has shed some lights on several signi?cant issues, there are some limitations that reveal opportunities for future studies. First, the current study did not classify customer groups in accordance with the types of hotels (e.g., economy, mid-scale, upscale, or luxury) when examining attitudes, demographics, and intentions. Future studies should investigate if the similarities/differences in eco-friendly intentions/behaviors exist among groups of customers in various segments of green hotels. Second, this study used a Web-based survey method to collect data. Thus, samples were limited to those with access to a computer and online network. Future studies should examine green hotel customers’ behaviors in an actual green hotel purchase setting to overcome this issue, thus increasing validity. Third, while the usable response rate of 14.07% in the present study is comparable with the range of 10–15% found from previous studies using online surveys (e.g., Han and Kim, 2009; Han et al., 2009; Kim, 2001; Kim and Ok, 2009), the non-response error is a potential problem (Dillman, 2000). Dillman (2000) indicated that a nonresponse error occurs when people who participate in a survey are different from those who do not. It is possible that individuals with an interest in environmental issues are more likely to respond to the survey including ecological issues than those with no/little interest. To reduce non-response error and increase response rate, for future study, it is recommended to follow Dillman’s (2000) four-time-contact email survey: a pre-notice; the questionnaire; a thank-you/reminder; and a replacement questionnaire. In addition, for future research, the effective strategy should be made to increase the wider range of participants including both individuals with an interest in environmental issues and those with no/little interest. Fourth, the results of the current study only provided a starting point for more rigorous studies about green hotels. For instance, this study examines customer’s intentions on purchasing a green hotel and one should note that such intention may or may not lead to actual green decisions/behaviors. Thus, further research has to gain more in-depth knowledge about hotel customer’s actual behaviors in a green hotel context. Speci?cally, further research should examine green hotel customers’ actual decisions/behaviors and pre/post-decision-making processes. Fifth, our data were collected from the U.S. consumer. Thus, it should be cautious to generalize the ?ndings to consumer groups in other countries or continents (Europe, Asia, etc.). For future study, including wider sampling range is recommended to enhance the generalizability of the results. Lastly, although a rigorous procedure was employed to obtain items to adequately assess individual’s ecological attitudes in their everyday life, using only 2 items for evaluating each individual dimensions of a complex psychological construct can be too simplistic and possibly cause a validity problem. For future research, a more effective process that generates greater number of items should be utilized to accurately assess this construct. 354 H. Han et al. / International Journal of Hospitality Management 30 (2011) 345–355 6. Conclusion Today, ?rms are judged on the basis of business ethics, social accountability, and socio-economic awareness as their stakeholders are becoming increasingly concerned with climate changes. This global trend is encouraging hotels to move toward green practices. As the ?ndings suggested, eco-friendly attitudes favorably affect hotel guests’ intentions to visit a green hotel, to spread positive word-of-mouth, and to pay more. However, more efforts must be made to communicate green hotel practices to the public to assist the selection of green hotels and more active participation for green consumption. 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