Responsible travel: How do we make booking sustainable hotels easier?
— 22 experts shared their view
Evidence shows that spending time in nature helps reducing anxiety, improving mental health and well-being, let alone boosting physical health. Nature is good for us; can we be good to nature too? It's no wonder that one recent large-scale survey conducted by Booking.com (2020) identified 'Impact Awakening: The Rise of Responsible Travel' as one of the nine predictions on the future of travel. Half of the global travelers surveyed expressed the desire to travel more sustainably in the future with over two-thirds of respondents expecting more sustainable travel options from suppliers. Demand is (and expectations are) building up and post-pandemic will see a surge in travel with purpose. But do travelers easily have access to all information needed to make wise decisions on sustainable travel and hotels? Where are the gaps in the search and booking stages? And which company manages to fill those gaps well? What are some best practices in showcasing hotel sustainability online?
Booking.com (20 Oct 2020). Smarter, Kinder, Safer: Booking.com Reveals Nine Predictions For The Future of Travel. https://www.booking.com/articles/category/future-of-travel.html.
PhD, FIH, SFHEA, Director of Postgraduate Research Studies at Brighton Doctoral College
Let customers review how sustainable a hotel is by having up to 5 green stars (on top of the existing star rating). Booking.com and TripAdvisor and other such platforms could adopt such a feature not just for hotels but other hospitality businesses too (If they do feature other types). I believe that ALL hospitality businesses should strive to be sustainable with the true meaning of the word, not just green issues. However, I do accept the fact that most customers would be able to rate only some aspects of sustainability and are likely to focus on green issues. But that in itself is a good start. A real effort by 3rd parties would see that your green star rating affects your overall rating and if you do not have a 5star green rating you can not reach a 5-star general rating. In other words, an algorithm that takes into consideration the green stars rating and applies it to the general rating. An alternative to that solution would be a Green/Sustainable focused hotel search engine/platform but we have not yet seen any study that suggests that the consumer cares enough about green practices to truly alter their booking behavior. In conclusion, I argue that the power for change lies in the hands of 3rd parties and consumers. This approach in my view will minimize Green Washing and will affect decision making for the general consumer too.