AAA currently publishes 26 TourBook guides that have a total circulation of 16 million. The guides include detailed information on more than 31,000 hotels. Millions of travelers rely on AAA TourBooks to help them make their travel plans. Those travelers who prefer to stay in green lodgings will soon get a little help from AAA. Beginning this fall, AAA Publishing will include an "eco-friendly" icon in the 2010 TourBook editions to indicate those properties that promote environmental and energy conservation. The icon will appear in both print and online editions.
How is AAA deciding which properties to include? It is currently working with those organizations that run state and national green lodging programs to get lists of certified properties. For example, all Green Globe International certified properties will be included, as well as those hotels in Canada that are part of the Hotel Association of Canada's Green Key program. What about those properties that practice environmental stewardship but are not part of a state or national green lodging program? That is a question I am currently trying to get answered. Look for details no later than next week at www.greenlodgingnews.com.
While AAA's attempt to point out green properties in its TourBook guides is a good one, you can bet travelers are going to be wondering exactly what the icons mean. Let's hope AAA does a good job explaining its methodology.