If you’d like to build on your sustainability commitment, becoming certified is an ideal way to do it. Certification is a reflection of your dedication – and a credible badge of excellence your guests can trust.
The process involves working with a certification body, who will collaborate with you to make sure you meet their established standards for sustainable tourism. When you’ve officially met these standards, your property will receive a certificate along with a digital version for you to share online.
We’ve also introduced our very own Travel Sustainable badge, available for eligible partners on our platform. The badge is free and developed in collaboration with industry experts, and it recognises properties as being at one of three different levels or a dedicated level for those with eligible third-party certification. It’s designed to help you communicate that you're taking steps towards sustainability on your property page.
We’re currently working with our third-party certification partners on how best to recognise and display certifications on Booking.com, so that certified partners can be easily spotted by guests looking for a more sustainable stay.
Four benefits of certification
1. It reassures guests that your claims are credible
57% of travellers surveyed by Booking.com would feel better about staying in a particular accommodation if they knew it had a sustainable certification. An official certification adds credibility to your sustainability initiatives. It reassures travellers that they’ll be staying somewhere that cares about environmental best practices and isn’t just ‘greenwashing’ (making false claims).
2. It can help you identify gaps in your sustainability plans
The requirements of certification can help you prioritise key improvement areas or address things you hadn’t thought about yet. By achieving certified status, you can be sure that you’re on the right track.
3. Certified properties have a positive impact
A 2017 study from TUI, conducted in collaboration with the UN Environment Programme, evaluated the environmental and social benefits of sustainability certifications across 330 hotels. They found that, compared to the non-certified properties, eco-certified properties achieved:
- 10% lower CO2 emissions per guest night
- 24% lower waste volume per guest night
- 15% less total water use per guest night
- Higher guest satisfaction scores overall
4. It can help make your team feel more engaged
When it comes to achieving and maintaining certification, everybody at your property will need to work together to implement the required standards. This gives your team a shared purpose and the chance to meaningfully contribute to the sustainability of the business.
How to become certified
There are lots of different bodies offering certifications around the world. These range from broader, more general certification programmes to more tailored ones that focus primarily on things like energy efficiency, building standards or waste management.
Each certification body sets their prices individually. Some offer certification for free, often when the certification is provided by a governmental department. Other certification bodies offer a discount for smaller properties, or for multiple properties in the same group. The process of becoming certified will vary depending on which body you want to work with.
Show travellers what you’re doing
To make it easier for travellers to identify properties that are going the extra mile for sustainability, we display sustainability certifications on our platform from the following certification bodies:
The certifications listed above fulfill certain criteria set by Travalyst. We work with a third party provider, BeCause, that specialises in collecting, coordinating and communicating sustainability data. This allows us to automate the process and display your third party certification on our platform faster than ever before.
If you’re certified by one of the certification bodies listed above but you can’t see your certification on your property page, please follow these steps:
- Sign up to www.because.eco by using your work email to create your user profile
- You will be asked to connect to your company and will need to search for your property’s name to claim it as your company
- Click on ‘Connect’. Go to the ‘General Information’ section and there will be a ‘Sales Channels’ subsection, where you will see ‘Booking.com’. You will need to edit that section and add your Booking.com property ID
- The process will then be complete and you should see your certification listed on Booking.com within seven days
If you can’t find your property’s name while creating a profile on www.because.eco, you’ll need to contact the organisation you’re certified with to ask them to ensure your certification information has been passed on to BeCause.
We’re working to add information from more certification bodies to our platform. If you hold a sustainability certification from another organisation and would like to display it on your property page, you can ask the certification body to contact BeCause with the request. Please note that not all certifications are accepted.
The Travel Sustainable badge
Our Travel Sustainable badge is designed to help you communicate your efforts to potential guests looking to travel more sustainably. It’s available for all properties, no matter their type, size or location.
With the badge on your property page and available on search filters, you’ll stand out even more to travellers searching for more sustainable stays. This is especially important when you consider that 78% of travellers intend to stay in a sustainable property at least once in the coming year.
Eligibility for the badge focuses on a range of sustainable practices that you can adopt at your property and confirm in the extranet. The qualifying criteria are developed in collaboration with independent industry bodies, such as international sustainable travel organisation Travalyst. It takes regional thresholds and local market conditions into account when calculating your overall impact. The overall impact is the main criteria for receiving a badge – alongside any other certification you may have.
- Stand out to travellers looking for more sustainable stays
Your property’s sustainability practices are visible on your property page
- Receive recognition for your sustainability efforts
Eligibility for the badge won’t cost you extra – it’s simply a recognition of your ongoing efforts
Want to learn more about how your property could receive the Travel Sustainable badge? We’ve put together a selection of case studies to show how different types of properties around the world became eligible for the badge.
Read the case studies
The Travel Sustainable Levels
We’ve recently introduced Travel Sustainable Levels in an evolution of the programme, designed to better recognise and support your efforts and investments on your property’s sustainability journey, whatever stage you may be at.
While all eligible partners currently receive the same badge, we recognise each eligible partner’s sustainability efforts at one of three different levels, or at a dedicated level for those with eligible third-party certification. These levels are:
- Level 1 – the property has implemented some impactful sustainability practices
- Level 2 – the property has made considerable investments and efforts to implement impactful sustainability practices
- Level 3 – the property has made large investments and efforts to implement impactful sustainability practices
- Certified – the property has made a strong commitment towards sustainability by subscribing to one or more third-party certifications and creating a significant impact on the reduction of their environmental impact
If you’ve previously earned the Travel Sustainable badge, we’ll automatically allocate you a level. You’ll be able to find the level we’ve recognised your property with – based on the impact – in the extranet, which gives you greater clarity on where you’re at on your sustainability journey.
- Gain a better understanding of your progress
Your Travel Sustainable Level helps you see where you are on your property’s sustainability journey
- Be recognised for your efforts, whatever stage you’re at
Even Level 1 partners are now recognised as a Travel Sustainable property – travellers will see the badge on your property page, and from 2023 they’ll see your level too
Want to learn more about the Travel Sustainable Levels? We've answered the most frequently asked questions.
Displaying your chain’s sustainability programme
Our Chains team collects and displays hotel information from eligible chain sustainability programmes. For a chain’s programme to be eligible, it must be compulsory for all properties shown under the chain code in our systems. All of the properties also need to use the same brand name.
Travalyst’s independent advisory group reviews all programmes to decide which ones are eligible. If a chain sustainability programme is eligible, it will then be displayed on our platform.
Discover our other sustainability guides:
Setting the environmental baseline
In the journey towards sustainability, your baseline is like your compass. It’s only once you’ve measured your performance – for example in carbon emissions or water consumption – that you can start to set goals and plan how to reach them.
Reducing plastic consumption
It’s now easier now than ever to run your property without plastic – and it’s never more important. Plastic takes years to break down, harms wildlife and damages the environment. This guide will show you how to protect both by reducing your plastic consumption.
Reducing water consumption
Fresh water is becoming increasingly scarce. That’s why we need to start cutting water consumption today – and it’s going to take more than just asking guests to reuse towels. But the environmental and financial upsides are worth the investment.