Perceptions vs. practice: A longitudinal analysis of energy-efficient and energy conservation practices in Minnesota'S tourism industry

Madeleine Orr, Xinyi Qian, Ingrid Schneider, Michelle Heyn, Patrick Simmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The importance of adopting sustainable practices in the tourism industry is well established. This project assessed tourism professionals' perceptions of constraints and benefits to sustainable practices as well as actual implementation of energy practices across time. Adopting a longitudinal approach, perceptions and practices were tracked through an Internet-based questionnaire administered among tourism professionals in 2007, 2010, and 2013 in a Midwestern U.S. state. Professionals consistently agreed that attracting new clientele, improving consumer perceptions, and organizational image were benefits of sustainable practices, while initial financial costs constrained implementation. The most frequently implemented energy practices were using daylight and compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). Only the use of two energy practices increased across time: using CFLs and Energy Star equipment. Overall, the adoption of sustainable practices was varied, and implementation rates remained minimally changed between 2007 and 2013. Reasons for the varied adoption and lack of changes in practice implementation may be explained by perceived barriers to implementation, lack of perceived benefits, and socio-economic contextual factors. With consideration to institutional theory and organizational capacity, industry and organizational-level implications are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6741
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research received no external funding but had in-kind funding from Explore Minnesota Tourism and the Carlson Chair for Travel, Tourism and Hospitality at the University of Minnesota Tourism Center.


  • Constraints
  • Institutional theory
  • Organizational capacity

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