Getting certified

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


Third-party certifications represent the highest standard in terms of recognizing an accommodation’s efforts to operate more sustainably. 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. When you’ve officially met these standards, your property will receive a certificate. 

On our platform, we showcase properties that have achieved independent third-party certification by adding a clear label and the option to filter by certified properties. That way they can easily be spotted by travelers looking to reduce their negative impact.

Four benefits of certification

1. It reassures guests that your claims are credible

65% of travelers surveyed by would feel better about staying in a particular accommodation if they knew it had a sustainability certification. A recognized third-party certification adds credibility to your sustainability initiatives. It reassures travelers that they’ll be staying somewhere that incorporates environmental and social best practices into their business. 

2. It can help you identify gaps in your 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 are more likely to have a more positive impact on the environment

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 help 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 teams a shared purpose and a goal to work toward together.

How to get certified

There are lots of different bodies offering certifications around the world. These range from broader, more general certification programs to more tailored ones that focus primarily on things like energy efficiency, building standards, or waste management.

Each certification body sets their own prices. Some offer certification for free, often when it’s provided by a governmental department. Other certification bodies offer a discount for smaller properties or for multiple properties in the same group. The certification process will vary depending on which body you want to work with.

Show travelers what you’re doing

We partner with Travalyst, which has agreed to a set of criteria that certification bodies must meet in order to be displayed on Travalyst’s partner platforms, including Travalyst is currently reviewing certification bodies against the criteria. However, we continue to work with the certifications listed above who have said they meet the criteria.

We also work with the data management company BeCause, which specializes 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. 

If you’re certified by one of the certification bodies listed above but your property page isn’t displaying a badge, follow these steps: 

  1. Sign up to using your work email. 
  2. After verifying your email, enter the basic profile information.
  3. You can then “Claim your companies” by searching and checking the box next to all your properties with a certification. Click “Claim.”
  4. Click “Collect” in the sidebar. Go to the “General Info” section and scroll down to the “Sales Channels” subsection, where you can add your property ID.
  5. The process will then be complete and guests should see your certification listed on within seven days.

Refer to this article for additional support with the process. 

If you can’t find your property’s name while creating a profile on, contact the organization you’re certified with and ask them to make sure your certification information has been sent to BeCause.

We’re working to add info from more certification bodies to our platform. If you hold a sustainability certification from another organization and would like to display it on your property page, ask the certification body to contact BeCause with the request. Note that not all certifications are accepted.

Recognizing your third-party certification

Properties that have achieved independent third-party certification will receive a clear label on our platform. In addition, travelers will have the option to filter by certified properties, helping you stand out on our platform even more. This is especially important when you consider that 59% of global travelers want to filter their stay options for those with a sustainability certification the next time they book. 

Badge benefits

  • Stand out to travelers looking for more sustainable stays
    Your property’s practices are visible on your property page
  • Receive recognition for your sustainability efforts
    Eligibility for the badge won’t cost you extra – it’s just a recognition of your ongoing efforts

Discover more educational resources

At, we’re committed to supporting you as you progress toward third-party certification. 

In addition to this handbook, we’re continuing to invest in education materials and tools, including online courses developed in partnership with UN Tourism. This series of free courses is designed to give accommodation providers in the hospitality industry guidance on key sustainability topics. 

Sign up for the courses

Discover our other sustainability guides:


Understanding your environmental performance

On the journey to sustainability, your baseline is 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


Reducing plastic consumption

Now it’s easier 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?


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