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Ask Me Anything: Sustainability with Thomas Loughlin, Sustainability Manager - Supply at Booking.com

Hello everyone!

I'm Thomas Loughlin, the Sustainability Manager - Supply at Booking.com. I've been working in the travel and hospitality industries for 19 years. Following the completion of my masters in tourism and business from Dublin Institute of Technology, I moved to the USA to work for one of the USA's first LEED accredited hotels. At Booking.com, I focus on product innovation/development, working to help both partners and customers on their sustainability journeys.

With Earth Day coming soon and sustainability remaining an increasingly hot topic in the guest experience, I'd like to invite you to share your questions, feedback and suggestions on this topic below and I will answer the most relevant ones as best as I can.

Please note: we are unable to answer any questions specific to your property or guests.

Guidelines:

  • All Booking.com partners on the Community are welcome to ask questions.
  • Questions must be on topic.
  • Questions that are off-topic, contain abusive language or are offensive in any nature will be removed.
  • Questions regarding individual claims, specific guests and reservation numbers will be removed.

I hope you will join the conversation and discover new ways to make your property more sustainable and attractive to travelers looking for sustainable stays.

Thank you and happy Earth Day!


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Yaritzy Cynthi… 1 year ago

I shared feedback in the sustainability practices section in early February. Maybe it fits here too:

I think it's really great that you give a lot of thought to sustainability practices.
However, in my opinion, a large part of the responsibility lies with the guest himself and not in the hands of the host. Unfortunately we don't have a very good recycling system here in most areas of Mexico. After all, the guest in our residence has the opportunity to put polyethylene and aluminum cans in separate recycling bins.
I would love to create a policy for our guests on how to recycle, avoid and reduce food waste. However, I am afraid that most might perceive it as a rather intrusive regulation. A large online platform, such as BookingCom, might have had a better opportunity to educate interested travelers about sustainability practices.
I also consider the influence of the host to reduce water consumption to be very small. We already noticed during our first reservations that the water consumption is many times higher than when we lived in the apartment ourselves. Apparently, some guests feel more comfortable turning on the faucet. I don't want to take away any guest the privilege of not being able to take a long shower while on vacation, but given the consumption by cubic meters, it would be appropriate if the guests could be billed for the water used above a certain limit. Which would be bookings turn to expand the platform with this possibility.
Of course, I hope that our guests will reuse the towels provided instead of throwing them away. How often the guests wash them in the washing machine is up to them.
So I hope I answered this question correctly with "yes".
The next category "Reduce energy" is also a big annoyance for us. I'm happy to believe that 81% of your members say they care about sustainability, but I would also assume that at least a half of them disregard these practices. We already have on our agenda to examine technical implementations that would allow us to prevent the use of air conditioning with windows or doors open all the time. Here, too, it would probably be easier to let the guests share in the costs of the actually used kilowatt hours.
I hope the category with the plastic disposable tableware is not to be taken as a suggestion. So I think it's a bit of a shame that guests might assume they don't have any crockery at their disposal when the questions about the plastic are answered in the negative.

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1 year ago
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Thomas Loughlin 1 year ago

Hi Yaritzy Cynthia Torres Lopez, thank you for your feedback and suggestions. We know from research that guests are looking to travel more sustainably and want to leave destinations better than they found them. Check out the research here. Creating an infographic or information material that explains your efforts in sustainability and the role the guest can play can really add value. Make sure that the material meets the guest where they are in terms of their knowledge of sustainability. Make it engaging, and speak to the added value that your sustainability measures add to their trip. 

 

I have heard examples of accommodation partners that include a fixed amount of water energy in their rate, and have a change per unit over the included amount. On check-in they bring the guest to the room and do a reading of the meters. What they reported is that in all the time they have done this no guest has ever gone over the included amount. It's important not to focus on the point of saving X liters of water or energy but why you are doing it, the emotional part.   

 

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1 year ago