Getting certified

Written in collaboration with Dr. Anna Spenceley, Chair of IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist (TAPAS) Group, Board Member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC)

Updated 7 months ago
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If you want to take your sustainability commitment to the next level, getting certified is the ideal way to so. Certification is a reflection of your dedication and a credible badge of excellence that guests can trust. 

The process involves working with a certification organization that will collaborate with you to make sure you meet their standards for sustainable tourism. Once you officially meet these standards, your property will receive a certificate along with a digital version for you to share online.

We’re currently working with the GSTC on how to best recognize and display certifications on Booking.com, so certified partners can easily be spotted by guests looking for sustainable stays.

Four benefits of certification

1. It reassures guests that your claims are credible –  62% of guests surveyed by Booking.com said they would feel better staying at a property if they knew it had an eco-label. An official certification adds credibility to your sustainability initiatives. It reassures travelers 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 prioritize key improvement areas or address things you hadn’t thought about yet. By getting certified, you can be sure that you’re on the right track.   

3. Certified properties get more positive results – A 2017 study from TUI, conducted in collaboration with the UN Environment Program, evaluated the environmental and social benefits of sustainability certifications across 330 hotels. They found that—compared to the non-certified properties—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 make your team feel more engaged – When it comes to achieving and maintaining an eco-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 can I get certified?

There are lots of different organizations that offer certifications around the world. We’d recommend selecting one that’s officially recognized or accredited by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), an international organization that establishes and manages standards for sustainable tourism. For their recognition and accreditation programs, they verify that certification bodies’ standards comprehensively include:

Sustainable management
Socio-economic impact
Cultural impact
Environmental impact (including consumption of resources, reducing pollution, and conserving biodiversity and landscapes)
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 accredited sustainability certifications on our platform from the following certification bodies:

We receive certification information directly from these organisations twice a year. If you’re certified by one of them, we’ll display that information in the sustainability section on your property page. If you can’t see your certification, please contact the certification body directly. We’re working to add information from more certification bodies to our platform. If you hold an accredited sustainability certification from another organisation and you’d like to display it on your property page, you can ask the certification body to send us a request using this form.

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.

If there are levels to the chain programme (such as bronze, silver and gold), all properties within the chain must achieve at least the minimum level. Travalyst’s independent advisory group reviews all programmes to decide which ones are eligible.

If you’d like your chain’s sustainability programme to be displayed on our platform, you’ll need to reach out to your corporate social responsibility (CSR) team so that they can contact us directly.

Discover our other sustainability guides:

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Setting the environmental baseline

On the journey toward sustainability, your baseline is like your compass. It’s only once you measure your performance—for example, by carbon emissions or water consumption—that you can set goals and plan how to reach them.

Show me how

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Reducing plastic consumption

It’s now easier now than ever to run your property without plastic – and it’s never been 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.

How can I start?

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water

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.

Tell me more

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