Taking Sustainable Travel To New Levels
Booking.com has unveiled an array of new product features in celebration of the one year anniversary of its Travel Sustainable program, introduced in 2021 to provide travellers with transparent and credible information to make more mindful choices for their trips.
With the ongoing aim to recognize the efforts of properties to operate more sustainably and to provide travellers with consistent and easy-to-understand information, the company is introducing three distinct badge levels to the Travel Sustainable program.
Aligned to the principle that reputable, third-party certification remains the gold standard in the industry, the new levels to the Travel Sustainable program provide even better visibility and recognition for currently uncertified properties that are taking steps to operate more responsibly with regards to their environmental and local community impact.
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 being introduced to Booking.com’s Travel Sustainable program have been designed to more clearly demonstrate a broader spectrum of where different accommodations stand on their individual sustainability journeys, as well as the specific measures they are implementing. The enhanced structure will also more clearly highlight those accommodations 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.
Certified properties — Accommodations that have made huge commitments towards sustainability, including the additional effort and investment to achieve one of 40+ credible third-party certifications, receive the highest level of recognition as part of the Travel Sustainable program.
These accommodations are recognized with a certified badge, including the name of their certification. In addition to those certifications officially approved by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), Green Tourism and the EU Ecolabel, the list of third-party certifications automatically qualified for this highest level of the Travel Sustainable program now also includes Green Seal, Nordic Swan Ecolabel, Green Hospitality Ecolabel, Ibex Fairstay, Fair Trade Tourism, LEED and Edge.
With the introduction of these new levels, 400,000+ accommodations on Booking.com, including more than 3,000 in Canada, are now being recognized for their efforts to operate more sustainably.
The new Travel Sustainable badge levels have already been introduced and communicated to Booking.com’s accommodation partners globally and will start to appear on the Booking.com website and app over the coming weeks, with refreshed visuals to clearly distinguish the new levels of the program.
A new search filter for fully electric and hybrid rental cars is now live across the Booking.com app and website, making it easier to find more sustainable ground transport options for your next road trip, with hybrid vehicles and fully electric options available in 60 countries. As more rental car providers around the world expand their fleets with these more sustainable alternatives, inventory and availability is expected to increase over the coming year.
As part of Booking.com’s new partnership with climate tech company CHOOOSE, carbon emissions data for accommodation bookings in Europe will be displayed for the first time on the platform in an effort to both understand where and how to present this information so it is useful for customers in their decision-making process. The aim is also to explore how to best integrate offsetting options as part of the booking process in an understandable and seamless way. The new features will first go live for accommodation options in Europe, with the intent to expand globally.
Similarly, together with CHOOOSE and in line with the aviation framework developed together with the Travalyst Coalition, Booking.com will also start providing information about the carbon emissions associated with flight options on the platform. The total carbon emissions footprint for a selected flight will start to be shown on the flight details page over the coming weeks. The option to sort flight searches based on this carbon emissions data will be introduced in 2023.
Danielle D’Silva, Head of Sustainability at Booking.com, said that: “As we optimize and develop our Travel Sustainable program further, our ambition is to continue making it easier for everyone to make more sustainable choices for their next trip.”
D’Silva continued: “We’re examining every part of the trip on our platform and actively looking for ways to provide more information to travellers in a credible and trusted way. Whether it’s an apartment for a weekend getaway, an electric car for their upcoming road trip or carbon emissions data about a flight, our aim is to nudge our customers and partners towards these more responsible options and do our part to ensure a healthier future for our planet and industry.”