Booking.com introduces new badges and levels for green accommodation 

AMSTERDAM: Leading digital travel platform Booking.com has announced an array of new product features in celebration of the one year anniversary of its Travel Sustainable Programme.

AMSTERDAM: Leading digital travel platform Booking.com has announced an array of new product features in celebration of the one year anniversary of its Travel Sustainable Programme.

Introduced in 2021 to provide travellers with transparent and credible information to make more mindful choices for their trips, the aim has been to recognise the efforts of a wide range of accommodation to operate more sustainably.

Booking.com also hopes to provide travellers with consistent and easy-to-understand information so they can make more informed sustainable choices.

To celebrate the first year the company is now introducing three distinct badge levels to the Travel Sustainable programme.

Aligned to the principle that reputable, third-party certification remains the gold standard in the industry, the new levels to the Travel Sustainable programme provide better visibility and recognition for currently uncertified properties that are taking steps to operate more responsibly, with regards to their impact on the environment and their local community. 

The levels help illustrate a clearer pathway for accommodations to work towards eventual certification, especially those that might be at an earlier stage in their sustainability journey. The aim is to also help encourage and incentivize more accommodations to continue making progress towards that goal.

For travellers, the new badge levels have been designed to show where different accommodations are at on their individual sustainability journeys, as well as the specific measures they are implementing.

Hopefully it will make it easier for travellers to see those that have made outstanding commitments and investments on this front to achieve one of more than 40 recognized ecolabels and certifications.

The new badge levels for Travel Sustainable are as follows:

Level 1: This new entry-level designation for the Travel Sustainable badge indicates that a property has implemented some impactful sustainability practices. This Level 1 badge will soon show up with one leaf and includes a full display of all practices that have been implemented.

Level 2: Accommodations receiving the Level 2 version of the Travel Sustainable badge have made considerable investments and efforts to implement impactful sustainability practices. The Level 2 badge will soon show up with two leaves and includes a full display of all practices that have been implemented.Level 3: The Level 3 Travel Sustainable badge is reserved for those accommodations that have made large investments and efforts to implement impactful sustainability practices, but have not yet achieved an official third-party certification yet. The Level 3 badge will soon show up with three leaves and includes a full display of all practices that have been implemented.

Earlier this year we reported on Booking.com’s survey which said more than half of UK travellers want to stay in green hotels.

You can read more about the Travel Sustainable Programme here.

More than half of UK travellers want sustainable accommodation

Booking.com has released its 2022 Sustainability Report with insight from more than 30,000 travellers from 32 countries.

Booking.com has released its 2022 Sustainability Report with insight from more than 30,000 travellers from 32 countries.

The new research highlights that for many people the impact of their trip on the environment does feature highly on their considerations when booking.

57 per cent of travellers from the UK wanted to travel more sustainably in the next year, which is a 27 per cent increase on last year’s response.

 71 per cent of travellers said that sustainable travel is important to them, and almost half of all respondents (42 per cent) cited that recent news about climate change has influenced them to make more sustainable travel choices. 

To that end, a quarter of UK travellers say that the sustainability efforts of accommodations and transport providers play a strong role in their property and transport decisions respectively and 55 per cent of travellers say they would be more likely to choose a sustainable accommodation – whether they were looking specifically for one or not.

Awareness and visibility of more sustainable stays continues, with a quarter of travellers confirming they have seen a sustainable accommodation on an online travel site over the past year and 29 per cent indicating that they actively look for information on the sustainability efforts of a property before they book. 

Even more encouraging 33 per cent of travellers responded to say they have stayed in a sustainable accommodation over the past year. Of those who have experienced a more sustainable stay in the past 12 months, the reasons for selecting one vary:

  • 31 per cent said they chose it to help reduce their impact on the environment 
  • Over a fifth (21 per cent) wanted to have a more locally relevant experience 
  • 24 per cent believe sustainable properties treat the community better 

But while 62 per cent of travellers want to stay in a sustainable property at least once this year, those who didn’t manage it last year said it was because of lack of awareness. 27 per cent said they didn’t know sustainable accommodation existed (although last year was lower with 30 per cent not knowing about the greener options).

However although people seem more interested in staying at eco options, nearly two thirds (62 per cent) admit that they don’t actively look for the sustainability efforts of a property before they book, unless the information is easy to find.

With more than 100,000 properties globally now being recognised for their sustainability efforts with a Travel Sustainable badge on Booking.com, the company has also further expanded the number of third-party certifications and labels that automatically qualify accommodations to receive it.

In addition to those officially approved by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), Green Tourism and the EU Ecolabel, this now also includes Green Seal, Nordic Swan Ecolabel, Green Hospitality Ecolabel, Ibex Fairstay, Fair Trade Tourism, LEED and Edge.

Booking.com remained carbon neutral in its operations in 2021 and transitioned to 100 per cent renewable electricity towards the end of 2021, an important step as part of the company’s contribution to Booking Holdings’ recently released Climate Action Plan

The first of its kind for any global online travel company, its Climate Action Plan functions as a strategic framework for how Booking Holdings intends to make its operations, services and the travel industry more sustainable. 

In line with the definitions and measurements established by the Science Based Targets Initiative, the Climate Action Plan includes ambitious targets that aim to help the company achieve a 95 per cent reduction in scope 1 and 2 emissions by the end of 2030, 50 per cent reduction in scope 3 emissions by 2030, and net-zero emissions by 2040.

Glenn Fogel, CEO of Booking.com said: “With increased pressure on our natural resources and the undeniable impact our way of life is having on the environment, we are 100 per cent committed to leading the industry in charting a more mindful and responsible course for the future of travel. We have ambitious goals for what we want to achieve, but together with our partners across the industry and the passion of our innovative employees, we can continue to make it easier for everyone to experience the world in a more mindful and responsible way. We believe that travel is and should remain a powerful force for good, bringing enhanced cultural understanding, socio-economic opportunities for countless communities and the potential to help rejuvenate and protect our planet for the long term.”

Radisson RED has just opened a sustainable hotel in Oslo, Norway.

bookingholdings.com/sustainability.