Booking.com launches travel sustainable badge to lead industry

Published on : Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Booking.com announced the inaugural launch of its Travel Sustainable badge, a credible, globally relevant sustainability measure that will provide highly coveted information to all over the world, looking to make more sustainable travel choices. The badge is available to any kind of property that has implemented a combination of sustainable practices that meet the requisite impact threshold for their destination. Designed to be applicable to a wide range of property types, from apartments, B&Bs, and holiday homes to hotels, resorts, and even treehouses, and adaptable to local realities and considerations, the initiative is a first of its kind in the industry. The goal of the badge is to make credible recognition of impactful sustainability efforts attainable for more properties worldwide and to provide travellers with a transparent, consistent, and easy-to-understand way to identify a wider range of more sustainable stays, no matter where they want to travel.

Considering that 98%* of Indian travellers state they want to stay in a sustainable accommodation in the upcoming year and with more than 28 million listings on Booking.com, the company sees a tremendous opportunity to showcase more of the impactful efforts its accommodation partners are taking on their important journeys to create more sustainable experiences, and in turn, make it easier for travellers to find a sustainable way to stay. The Travel Sustainable badge is also a concrete response to the 77% of Indian travellers who expect the industry to offer more sustainable options. And with 88% of Indian travellers indicating that they would be more likely to choose a specific accommodation if they knew it was implementing sustainable practices, the Travel Sustainable badge and program helps reward and further encourage all accommodation providers to take the next steps on their individual sustainability journeys, ultimately increasing the overall amount of sustainable accommodation options available.

Making sustainable travel choices easier for everyone

The company’s ambition, alongside the Travalyst Coalition in which Booking.com is a Founding Partner, is to create a universal and transparent measure for sustainable property information, across the industry. As such, this first version of the Booking.com Travel Sustainable badge leverages the first set of attributes validated by the Travalyst Independent Advisory Group. The badge focuses on highlighting practices that are most relevant to a broad range of property types, as well as their high-impact potential, whether it is an apartment in India, a homestay in Amsterdam or a resort along the coast in Australia. Building off the credible standards for sustainable accommodation already in place, Booking.com has collaborated with industry experts, including through Booking.com’s leading role within the Travalyst Coalition and other industry experts, to identify a set of the most impactful practices for a property to consider in five key areas: waste, energy and greenhouse gases, water, supporting local communities and protecting nature. This foundational framework is currently further broken down into 32 specific sustainability measures or practices that properties can implement, including everything from eliminating single-use plastic toiletries or switching to LED light fixtures to running on 100% renewable energy sources or investing a certain percentage of profits into local community and conservation projects.

For each one of these practices, Booking.com has also worked with reputable sustainability consultancy Sustainalize to develop a robust methodology that assesses these practices’ relative weight in the model. More detailed information on how individual properties around the world have achieved the badge is available in this updated section of the Travel Sustainable Handbook on the Booking.com Partner Hub. Properties that meet the required threshold for impact are receiving the first version of the Travel Sustainable badge, including those with a broad range of existing certifications and labels, for example, those officially approved by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), Green Tourism and the EU Ecolabel. This framework approach and measurement methodology have been officially developed within the Travalyst Coalition and approved by the Travalyst Independent Advisory Group, and continue to be developed with further consultation and advice from the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).

“Booking.com have methodically developed, tested, and refined this method drawing from GSTC’s expertise and the globally-recognized GSTC Criteria,” says GSTC CEO Randy Durband, “lending strong credibility to the framework that has been so carefully crafted.”

“Building a truly sustainable travel industry will take time, coordination, and concerted effort, but progress is possible through continued innovation, partner support, and industry collaboration,” said Marianne Gybels, Director of Sustainability at Booking.com. “With our Travel Sustainable badge and program, we are recognizing the sustainability efforts of a broader range of properties around the world in a credible and transparent way for consumers. In addition to encouraging properties to strive towards achieving the Travel Sustainable badge, we believe it’s important to demonstrate that there is a spectrum for sustainability and that there is value in showcasing the growing number of properties that are at various stages on their individual sustainability journeys. Displaying the practices they have in place makes it easier for everyone to make a more informed and hopefully more sustainable choice for their next trip, no matter where they want to go. Thus also inspiring even more of our partners to take the next step to operate more sustainably.”

Accelerating the sustainability journey

During this first phase of the launch, the Travel Sustainable badge and an overview of individual property sustainability efforts will initially be visible to travellers on property pages across the Booking.com app and website globally. As the rollout continues, the Travel Sustainable icon will also start to appear on property listings on the search results page over the coming weeks, along with a Travel Sustainable filter to help travellers identify more sustainable options from the beginning of their search experience on Booking.com. The list of measurable sustainability practices will continue to evolve and expand over the coming months, becoming increasingly locally relevant in terms of measurement, while maintaining a necessary level of global consistency. As additional practices are added over time, the plan is to also begin aligning this sustainability initiative with other Booking Holdings brands, as well as with other Travalyst coalition partners to ensure consistency across multiple platforms and enhanced sustainable choice for consumers.

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