While at The Lodging Conference in Phoenix last week, I had the opportunity to meet with Richard Varner, founder of istaygreen.org. I highly recommend that you check out his site. There are many websites that feature green hotels and almost as many that include booking engines to access them. What istaygreen.org does, however, is go far beyond your typical green hotel site to include a social networking structure much like Facebook. Visitors to the site can create their own profiles, add friends, upload photos, form groups, create and respond to forum threads, and add comments and reviews to hotel profiles. The new site provides a means for travelers to police those hotel owners and operators who make false claims about environmental programs. Hotel owners can respond to traveler comments. The site also provides a way for hotel owners and operators to promote all of the good green things they are doing. For example, an owner can upload photos that show a hotel's green programs in progress.
With iStayGreen’s rapidly growing searchable directory of almost 3,000 Green Leaf Rated Properties, it’s easy for anyone to quickly locate and compare green lodging worldwide. To earn a Green Leaf Rating, hotels must complete a thorough self-audit and are then rated based on their eco-initiatives. Varner said the site already has more than 100,000 hotels listed. Is your property currently listed? Check out the site to find out.