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.
Director of Standards and Accreditation at Hotel Resilient
COVID-19 has opened people's eyes to the importance of the tourism sector to not only national economies but to the hundreds of millions of jobs in the industry, including SMEs and vulnerable populations that have been hardest hit. While this proves that disruptions to the tourism industry can have devastating and far-reaching impacts, it reminds us of the potential benefits of effecting positive change in the industry. Now that tourism is in the spotlight, the audience remains (for the time being) to discuss key issues of tourism moving forward, such as natural hazards, climate risks, over-tourism, environmental impacts, equitable employment, forced labour, food waste and corporate social responsibility.
According to a booking.com survey of 20,000 travelers, 70% of travelers now book only after confirming which health and hygiene policies are in place. That same survey found that travelers are interested in more meaningful and sustainable travel experiences. Finally, the majority of travelers are paying attention to what hotels are doing beyond the amenities they provide. This opportunity shouldn't be wasted by limiting the discussion to COVID protection measures. Hotels and destinations can use that same communication space to promote measures beyond COVID – to highlight the variety of measures that make the hotel safe, sustainable and inclusive.
A key step towards increasing transparency and confidence in a hotel's safety, sustainability and social impacts is certification. At Hotel Resilient, our standards and certification address safety, in terms of the pandemic, multi-hazard and climate risk. While there are numerous organizations offering sustainable certification, a major gap for the industry is the ability of hotels to quantitatively measure social impact and achieve certification for their efforts. Now is the time for hotels to implement initiatives beyond COVID, to achieve the certifications that are right for them, which will not only protect their hotel, environment and local community for the long term, but will take advantage of the current increased support among travelers for responsible tourism.