The attitude of hotel guests has to change before many hotels cut their use of resources, according to senior figures in the sector.

Hilton Hotels director of energy management and sustainability Andrew Forte said: “There is a challenge with guest expectations. Guests think: ‘I paid this amount of euros per night and I expect the best’.

“How you control energy consumption without controlling the guest is a problem.”

Emirates Hotels and Resorts vice-president Tony Williams agreed: “There is a need for guests to go through an education process.

“They want your product to be the best in luxury and service and also to be environmentally friendly. Guests need to take personal responsibility.”

But Williams conceded the pressure to be profitable could also hinder environmental initiatives. “Hotel groups have a responsibility to their investors,” he said.

Forte acknowledged the flat-screen TVs, now normal in luxury hotel rooms, consume much more energy than traditional models, but said: “Flat-screen TVs produce less heat so the rooms use less energy for air conditioning.”

He conceded TVs left on standby consume almost as much power as when switched on, but said: “If there is no standby button, the delay in a TV coming on leads some guests to think it does not work. Some guests complain if a TV does not come on immediately.”

Forte said a staff-awareness programme at Hilton Hotels, which began in January 2006, led to a 10% reduction in annual energy use and 5% cut in water usage.