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.

Marco Lemmers
Marco Lemmers
CEO and Founder of Conscious Hotels

Making booking sustainable hotels easier? In my belief, it will definitely happen as due to Corona the love for the planet and conscious living is on the rise. There is a critical mass growing so booking sustainable hotels will soon be a selection criteria on all major platforms. It is not very forward-looking of OTAs to have waited soo long.

When I asked Booking.com about the “green hotel button” in the past, they first explained not enough people are searching for sustainable hotels. In 2019 before their investigation they had a trial with a sustainable questionnaire, they were developing kind of their own “eco-label”.

There lies a big challenge. There is not one big single "eco-label" that will address the full scope of sustainability. Some focus on hotel operation others on the hotel building and installations. And what is sustainable in 2021? I believe we have moved on from compensating Co2 to a mere climate change view towards including a broader view by including our impact on biodiversity, land use, and toxic/persistent materials. We need to broaden the sustainability scope towards a simplified Life Cycle Assessment model. We are 100% bio and on a plastic diet, we never scored any points with that other than “Karma-Points” and a loyal following.

The more important question is in my view, do we want to wait for the OTA's to further develop this for us or will the whole hotel business including governments and consumer organizations take steps to make real sustainable options on booking platforms reliable and even preferred?

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