Academic journal article European Journal of Tourism Research

An Investigation on Green Attitudes and Demographics: Understanding the Intention of International Tourists in Malaysia to Pay a Premium for Green Hotels

Academic journal article European Journal of Tourism Research

An Investigation on Green Attitudes and Demographics: Understanding the Intention of International Tourists in Malaysia to Pay a Premium for Green Hotels

Article excerpt

Introduction

In recent years, the concept of sustainability has received a noteworthy attention among academia, industries, and practitioners both in developed and developing countries (Banerjee, Iyer, & Kashyap, 2003; National Round Table on Environment and Economy (NRTEE), 1999; Ottman, 1994). Findings of Athens Laboratory of Research in green marketing indicate that more than 92% of consumers have positive attitudes towards green activities and towards businesses who participate in green activities (Han Hsu, Lee, & Sheu, 2011). Earlier research indicates accelerating rates of consumers' shift in awareness, intention and demand towards green products and services, unveiling their intention to pay premium prices for green products and services (e.g. Calantone, Vickery, & Dröge, 2003; Dodds, Graci, & Holmes, 2010; Laroche, Bergeron, & Barbaro-Forleo, 2001; Manaktola & Jauhari, 2007; Mendleson & Polonsky, 1995; Vandermerwe & Oliff, 1990).

Concerns pertaining to a series of recent environmental issues such as depletion of the ozone layer, global warming, water contamination and increase of solid wastes have motivated people to show green or eco- friendly attitudes in their daily habits (Laroch et al., 2001). Despite this shift however, there still remains a big gap between a change in the attitude of individuals, and their actual and routine green intentions (Erdogan, 2003; Erdogan & Baris, 2007, Han et al., 2011).

In spite of the debate on Tokyo Protocol and perceived difficulties of becoming eco-friendly, businesses have already started to incorporate a more sustainable approach to their conventional operating activities, product development, and corporate structure operating in order to respond appropriately to the emerging green needs of consumers (Dief & Font, 2010; Drumwright, 1994; Ottman, 1994; Pujari, Wright, & Peattie, 2003; Sharma, 2000; Walley & Whitehead, 1994). While at one point sustainable development was seen as an expense and second to other goals of a corporation, it is now being perceived as important objective for companies and it can also provide a competitive advantage over rivals (Manaktola & Jauhari, 2007; Pujari, 2004).

Recent years have witnessed an incremental increase in the reporting of prescriptive research in the field of sustainable development with regards to production processes, R&D, and development of new products and services (e.g. Azzone & Noci, 1996; Conway & Steward, 1998; Foster & Green, 2004; Pujari et al., 2003). Anecdotal evidence, popular periodicals, and different case-studies frequently disclose a variety of new products and/or services which have either been successful or have failed to capture the markets attention with their environmental focus. Some successful green projects have been namely, Body Shop's cosmetic goods, ARCO's reproduced gasoline, and P&G's Lenor fabric softener. On the other hand, some of the new green products that have failed include, the first electric car made by General Motors 'EV-1', Whirlpool's CFC-free fridges and 'Earthlight' florescent bulbs made by Philips (Ottman, 1998).

Though sustainable development has taken place in several companies explicitly, most of these eco-innovation activities have made paradoxical market-success. Sustainable development has still been mostly under auspices of governmental and/or public eco- friendly legislation and policies (Hall & Vredenburg, 2003). Conducting large-scale, market-driven, empirical studies can reduce the risk of being unsuccessful in sustainable development, help better formulate green marketing strategies based on demographic profiles timely and proactively, and facilitate the recognition of crucial attitudinal factors which drive current/potential customers' intention to pay a premium for green hotels.

In this study, 'pay a premium' is additional price in terms of percentage which hotel customers are willing to pay for a green hotel instead of a non-green hotel of the same type and quality. …

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