Green travel trend helps Tahoe environment, economy | Green Bucks | SierraSun.com

Green travel trend helps Tahoe environment, economy | Green Bucks

Editor’s note

This story is the next in a monthly series deriving from a partnership between the Sierra Sun, and the Tahoe Fund and Truckee River Watershed Council, to tell stories from local businesses that have collected donations via the Green Bucks program.

TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, surveys customers to better understand how they choose travel destinations, hotels, and restaurants.

In 2012, they noted the “green travel” trend gaining momentum among TripAdvisor members, as 71 percent said they plan to make more eco-friendly choices in the next 12 months.

More recently, in 2014, half of the travelers surveyed said they would spend more money to stay at an eco-friendly accommodation. Fifty-seven percent of travelers said they “often” make eco-friendly travel decisions.

Twenty-three percent would pay up to $25 additional per night to stay at such a property, while nine percent would be willing to spend $25-$50 extra.

With a tourism-based economy, the hotel industry in Tahoe is paying close attention to these trends and desires of their guests. This is good news for the local economy and the local environment.

An emphasis on eco-friendly practices at hotels will lead to improved bottom-lines while respecting the fragile environment in which we all live, work and play.

This month we are featuring two Green Bucks partners who are taking the steps necessary to be eco-friendly for the benefit of their guests and our environment.

PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn is a boutique hotel located at the base of Squaw Valley. From the complimentary cruiser bikes provided to encourage guests to get outside and not drive, to the water stations throughout the property to reduce the use of bottled water, PlumpJack has built their commitment to the environment into the guest experience.

“We did all of the unseen and unsexy things to reduce our impact. We have LED and CFL bulbs, recycle bins everywhere, no central air condition, and we only change towels when requested, “ said General Manager Steve Lamb. “The opportunities to connect with our guests with things like giving out reusable bags and emailing instead of printing their bills are small ways we can make our commitment even more obvious.”

PlumpJack staff are also fully engaged, participating in annual Truckee River clean-up and restoration days.

On the other side of the Lake is MontBleu Casino & Resort. A major hotel property, with more than 430 rooms, MontBleu is also committed to improving the environment.

They have installed high-efficiency bulbs throughout the property and have a property-wide effort to recycle all glass, aluminum and cardboard.

With restaurants a big part of their business, they have made sure all to-go containers are made from recycled compostable products, and cooking oil is recycled to make bio-diesel.

They have designated parking for the growing number of guests who arrive in hybrids, and bike racks for employees in addition to a ride share/carpool program for employees. They recently announced plans to invest more than $24 millions in upgrades to the property including environmental improvements.

PlumpJack and MontBleu are both Green Bucks businesses, allowing their guests the opportunity to donate a dollar or two to the environment with each room night.

Together, their guests’ contributions top more than $20,000 over the past few years. These funds will help restore watersheds, build new trails, and improve environmental stewardship for visitors and residents in the region.

Lisa Wallace is executive director of the Truckee River Watershed Council. Amy Berry is executive director of the Tahoe Fund.