Hotel guests can be gently persuaded to reduce the number of towels they use each day, psychology researchers at the University of Luxembourg have found. With fewer towels to wash, this reduces the waste of water, energy and detergent. This is good news for the environment and it cuts costs, so enabling hotels to reduce prices.
Two hotels in Swiss and Austrian ski resorts helped with an experiment in early 2013. Three different signs were placed separately in different bathrooms, all of which gently reminded guests of the environmental impact of towel use.
However, one of the signs added that: “75% of guests in this hotel reuse their towels” with another sign talking of: “75% of guests in this room” reusing. 132 guests participated in this field experiment. Signs were in German and English, so would have been understood by guests in these Alpine resorts.
“We found that guests cut their towel use significantly when told of the behaviour of previous guests in their room,” said the lead researcher Dr Gerhard Reese.
In the “room” scenario, guests used, on average, one towel per person per day. This compared with 1.6 towels per person per day for those told of behaviour in the hotel as a whole. This amounted to a 40% saving in the number of towels needing to be washed.
Subtle social pressure
These results are consistent with a handful of similar studies conducted in the USA. “Humans are social beings,” explained Dr Reese. “People want to be accepted into groups and so we act in ways that make us belong. Instinctively, we feel close to those who have used a hotel room before us, believing that they are similar to ourselves. Thus we are more likely to follow their behaviour.”
This research points to the possibility of finding other ways to persuade people to do the right thing using such subtle pressure.
Gerhard Reese , Kristina Loew & Georges Steffgen (2014) A Towel Less: Social Norms Enhance Pro-Environmental Behavior in Hotels, The Journal of Social Psychology, 154:2,97-100, DOI: 10.1080/00224545.2013.855623
Britta Schlüter | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Environmental DNA uncovers biodiversity in rivers
30.08.2016 | Universität Zürich
New approach for environmental test on livestock drugs
27.07.2016 | Universität Zürich
Scientists and engineers striving to create the next machine-age marvel--whether it be a more aerodynamic rocket, a faster race car, or a higher-efficiency jet...
Waveguides are widely used for filtering, confining, guiding, coupling or splitting beams of visible light. However, creating waveguides that could do the same for X-rays has posed tremendous challenges in fabrication, so they are still only in an early stage of development.
In the latest issue of Acta Crystallographica Section A: Foundations and Advances , Sarah Hoffmann-Urlaub and Tim Salditt report the fabrication and testing of...
Electrochemists at TU Graz have managed to use monocrystalline semiconductor silicon as an active storage electrode in lithium batteries. This enables an integrated power supply to be made for microchips with a rechargeable battery.
Small electrical gadgets, such as mobile phones, tablets or notebooks, are indispensable accompaniments of everyday life. Integrated circuits in the interiors...
Recent findings indicating the possible discovery of a previously unknown subatomic particle may be evidence of a fifth fundamental force of nature, according...
A nanocrystalline material that rapidly makes white light out of blue light has been developed by KAUST researchers.
25.08.2016 | Event News
24.08.2016 | Event News
12.08.2016 | Event News
30.08.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
30.08.2016 | Life Sciences
30.08.2016 | Life Sciences