Google updates search tool for eco-certified hotels

WORLDWIDE: Google has updated certain aspects of its search tool to filter results for sustainable accommodation.


WORLDWIDE: Google has updated certain aspects of its search tool to filter results for sustainable accommodation.

The search giant has added an eco-certified filter to its Google Travel search engine, for hotels which meet certain sustainability standards.

Travellers using the Google.com/travel search engine can use the filter to limit the hotel results they see to only those which have been eco-certified.

Google is working with organisations such as the US Green Building Council and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) to improve the accuracy of its hotel certification data.

Google is also a member of the Travalyst Coalition, which has helped its sustainability framework. Expedia recently joined the Travalyst Coalition and launched its Sustainability framework, Open World.

Expedia launches latest sustainability strategy Open World

WORLDWIDE: Expedia has launched its new global social impact and sustainability strategy known as Open World.

WORLDWIDE: Expedia has launched its new global social impact and sustainability strategy known as Open World.

The Open World social impact and sustainability strategy complements the Open World technology platform, which launched earlier this year. The platform was created for partners to leverage and offer products and services which would work together in the travel ecosystem.

Peter Kern, vice chairman and CEO, Expedia Group said: “Travel is transformative. It broadens horizons, strengthens connections and changes perspectives. With our new Open World social impact and sustainability forward-looking plans, we will further our mission to power travel for everyone, everywhere. Travel needs to lighten its footprint on the planet, and everyone should be able to experience it and receive the associated benefits. Now is the time to innovate the existing model. We have a responsibility to enable a stronger, more sustainable industry.”

Open World aims to foster a healthy planet and a travel industry that mitigates and adapts to climate change. The sustainability parts of the report includes a Q&A section with Expedia’s CEO Peter Kern.

Q: How is Expedia Group helping advance a more sustainable travel industry?

“Our collective industry must recognise that we impact the environment with every travel experience we sell. At the same time, travel is one of the biggest economic drivers for many communities throughout the world; we must ensure the future of travel for generations to come. As travellers are increasingly shopping their values, they are turning to our platform for inspiration and guidance, and we will be ready to meet this desire for greener, more responsible choices. We’re committed to working together with our partners and peers to ensure the industry can fulfil the scientific imperative of Net Zero by 2050. This commitment encompasses our initiatives with the UNWTO and the UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge, among others, to accelerate sustainability in the travel industry. And we’ve already started at home with our LEED Gold Certified Seattle headquarters and the purchase of renewable electricity to power our offices worldwide.”

Expedia Group recently joined the Travalyst Coalition (helps travel companies deliver sustainability frameworks and methodologies to travellers worldwide). and signed the Glasgow Declaration for Climate Action in Tourism along with more than 450 organisations.

Under the declaration, Expedia Group will support the global goals of cutting emissions in half over the next ten years helping the travel industry achieve Net Zero emissions as soon as possible before 2050. 

Expedia Group is also developing a long-term climate action plan. A partnership with The Travel Foundation will offer training and practical guidance to destination marketing organisations (DMOs), enabling them to manage change at a local level.

Booking.com released its sustainability report earlier this year.

Travel management company CWT joins Global Sustainable Tourism Council

WORLDWIDE: CWT, a global travel management company, which helps companies manage their travel and accommodation needs, has become a member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.


WORLDWIDE: CWT, a global travel management company, which helps companies manage their travel and accommodation needs, has become a member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

Randy Durband, chief executive officer of GSTC said: “GSTC is delighted that CWT joins the rapidly growing list of major brands that see the value in applying the GSTC Criteria, and our programs, as part of their commitment to enhance the sustainability of their extensive operations and supply chain.”

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), business travel spending worldwide has more than doubled since 2000 – and in 2019 peaked at roughly USD$1.28 trillion. However, as the GSTC says on its website “business travel also has a negative effect on our environment. Sustainable business travel is concerned with managing the costs, social impacts and environmental consequences generated by the use of different modes of business travel.”

Using the GSTC Criteria as a reference point, corporates and organisations can put in place systems to adopt sustainable working policies and practices.

CWT has a broad portfolio of responsible travel products, services and measures to help its clients reach their sustainability goals. In March CWt implemented carbon footprint indicators, and in June it launched enhanced CO2 emission reporting to underpin responsible travel programs for travel bookers to make green choices for corporate travellers.

CWT works with Thrust Carbon, to bring further enhancements to its responsible travel consulting and portfolio. 

Charlie Sullivan, VP product management at CWT said: “CWT has worked collaboratively with its customers and partners for over a decade to provide innovative sustainable corporate travel solutions and insights. We are thrilled to be part of the GSTC family, combining our efforts and influence to drive awareness and adoption of standards for sustainable travel”. 

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC®) manages the GSTC Criteria, the global standards for sustainable travel and tourism; as well as acts as an international body providing assurance for sustainable tourism certification in three key subsectors of tourism: hotels/accommodations, tour operators/agencies, and destinations. 

Recently, Agoda, the digital travel and booking platform, teamed up with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) to help create sustainable tourism practices for hotels.

Photo: Google Pexels

Dubai hotel stays green with sustainable technology system

UAE: Dubai Four Points by Sheraton Downtown has developed a sustainable management plan for guests and staff.

UAE: Dubai Four Points by Sheraton Downtown has developed a sustainable management plan for guests and staff.

The plan, keeps the hotel inline with sustainable policies guided by Green Globe.

The hotel, which was certified by Green Globe in 2020, is using green technology to heat up and cool down the building. The Adiabatic Cooling Pad System creates chilled air using a pre-cooling technology that utilises less water and energy. 

The hotel also uses a building management system (BMS) and achieves carbon reduction and energy savings of up to 50 per cent.

Heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC), as well as lighting and window sensors, are connected to the BMS meaning they work automatically based on whether the guest is in the room or the room is empty.

Karam Beshara, Four Points by Sheraton Downtown’s director of engineering said: “Receiving Green Globe Certification for the third year in a row is an important milestone within Four Points by Sheraton Downtown’s wider commercial commitment to the environment, society and culture, quality, and health & safety. It’s our intention to improve on this performance and achieve greater sustainability and environmental responsibility in the years ahead. This certification has definitely encouraged all of us in the hotel to introduce additional green initiatives.”

Guests at the hotel are also given the opportunity to make green choices, such as paperless check in, or using their Mobile Key to opt out of unnecessary housekeeping, saving energy and water.

You’ll find some of the acronyms (and more) used in this piece explained in our Glossary for Sustainable Hotels.

Qantas encourages Australian flyers to stay green

AUSTRALIA: Qantas Frequent Flyers who live in Australia will now be rewarded for making sustainable hotel choices. 

AUSTRALIA: Qantas Frequent Flyers who live in Australia will now be rewarded for making sustainable hotel choices. 

The Qantas Green Tier will unlock rewards for frequent flyers once they have taken part in five sustainable activities – including staying in an “eco hotel”. Other activities include carbon offsetting, buying green products at home, choosing green energy and taking a sustainability quiz.

Rewards for those who achieve Green Tier status include 10,000 Qantas Points, 50 Status Credits, or for three tonnes of carbon to be offset on your behalf. 

For those staying in eco hotels, Green Tier members will earn 150 bonus Qantas Points per night on all eligible eco-accredited hotels booked through the Qantas hotel link here

Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth said: “This program makes it easier for frequent flyers to make more sustainable choices, at home and when they travel, and rewards them when they do. We know that points influence behaviour, we’ve seen that when we’ve provided points for walking and sleeping through the Wellbeing App as well as to reward those who got vaccinated. We also know that small changes by many, can have a big impact.”

Reading the small print, Qantas Frequent Flyer members must stay at a selected eco hotel for one night only to achieve bonus points. You can find the list of hotels, which are included in the Green Tier programme here.

Qantas says all of the hotels on the list have been selected using “a range of global eco-accreditation standards and are leaders in the sustainability space. All properties go above and beyond fulfilling the required criteria to minimise their environmental and social impact.”

To make the cut, each hotel on the list has to have been taking part in the following sustainable practices.

  • Clean energy: implementing renewable energy sources and energy efficient systems to power hotels.
  • Community: working alongside local communities to offer education, employment and more.
  • Conservation: introducing initiatives to preserve and protect the surrounding natural environment and wildlife.
  • Fair food: ethical sourcing of local, clean and healthy food that honours all members involved in its production and preparation.
  • Water management: effective resourcing and distribution of water resources used in the property to maximise usage and limit overuse.
  • Waste management: reducing presence of single-use items across the property and implementing effective recycling programs.
  • Green/Innovative design: designing and constructing property using natural resources and limiting the overall impact of infrastructure development on the surrounding environment.

The website explains how the hotels on the list were chosen and how they adhere to green standards. This is what Qantas says:

Hotel sustainability performance was assessed based on public information and reports disclosed by listed properties detailing environmental, social and governance issues. Strategies aligned with the Global Reporting Initiative, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures or other industry recognised Sustainability reporting standards or initiatives. 

Consideration was also given to Hotels with recognised performance in sustainability through third party certifications or awards including B Corp, Climate Active, Green Star rating or eligible international certification standards.

Wirth added: “Like many Australians, our frequent flyers are concerned about climate change, as are we. As a business, we are working towards net zero emissions by 2050 and later this month, we will be releasing more details on our interim 2030 emissions target and the steps we are taking to get there.”

easyJet recently launched an eco hotel booking page on its website, to help its customers with their sustainable accommodation choices.

Image from one of the Qantas eco-hotels Daintree Wilderness Lodge.