Accommodation: Helping Consumers Make More Sustainable Choices

November 15th, 2021

Travalyst is pleased to share the first set of attributes being implemented to help travellers make more informed and sustainable choices.

Travalyst’s mission is to make it easier for travellers and travel providers to make sustainable choices. Research has shown how confusion and lack of trust can often be the biggest barriers to travellers making more sustainable choices: Travalyst’s solution is building uniformity across the world’s largest travel platforms, and the industry at large.

In the long term we are working together towards a unified, industry-wide sustainability framework to drive forward a new, more responsible model for travel. Building upon the work of existing standards, and in consultation with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), the frameworks will be transparent and easy to understand for both operators and consumers, and scale not only across Travalyst partners but across the broadest possible range of travel platforms and providers. This will be done by providing accurate data at scale, building models that can be adapted by the industry-at-large, promoting a shared understanding of what good looks like, championing best actors in the field, and ultimately securing a shared commitment to changing the way the world travels, for good.

Travalyst and our Partners have started by applying this approach to the accommodation sector; and specifically providing both consumers and suppliers with a first version of what sustainable practices look like in this vertical. Both Booking.com and Google have recently made it possible for properties to submit their sustainability practices and certifications, and are displaying that information to consumers transparently through their platforms; these efforts together are increasing both transparency and accountability in the industry. Just look for these badges:

Google

Booking.com

Key to our long-term vision is making our frameworks, methodology and product open-source. With this in mind we are pleased to share the Version 1 list of attributes that have been determined and validated through a comprehensive working group process involving Coalition partners and industry stakeholders, including the Travalyst Independent Advisory Group. See below for the full list of attributes in Version 1. 

The Travalyst working group continues to incrementally develop and add to this initial list of attributes, striving to present an increasingly clear and accurate representation of sustainability in the accommodation industry. Travalyst Coalition partners are already working to help consumers better understand what this sustainability information means; this Version 1 attribute list being the foundation for Booking.com’s ‘Travel Sustainable’ badge. The badge is now displayed for properties who have implemented a combination of sustainable practices that meet the requisite impact threshold. 

The methodology

How does the Travalyst Coalition measure this impact?

Once a property has submitted its sustainability information (in this example via Booking.com’s extranet) – i.e. which of the below practices they have implemented – a methodology is applied to generate a single ‘score’ that can be compared across products/properties. 

This methodology gives a certain weighting to each category [Energy, Waste, Water Biodiversity & Ecosystems, and Destination & Community], as well as to each individual attribute (practice) within that category. For example, X attribute might be weighted more heavily because it has a bigger impact on the overall sustainability of a property and its operations. The threshold required for a property to be recognised with the Travel Sustainable badge can be reached in various ways; for example having implemented the majority of the attributes may be enough, or having implemented many of the most heavily weighted (highest impact) ones. 

There is also regional variation to how attributes and practices are weighted in the model. This is to take into account that certain practices are more locally relevant in terms of their relative impact; for example in some locations, water scarcity is a much greater issue. In these locations, practices related to water preservation have a higher sustainability impact and thus are weighted more heavily in the scoring methodology for that location.

Within Travalyst, the next step is to continue aligning the efforts of our Partners to ensure that the same information is available to everyone, no matter where they are booking their travel. By continuing to develop and improve this methodology together, Travalyst partners aim to produce a unified scoring system that can be shared with consumers and the industry – across multiple platforms – in a way that helps them to make better comparisons and decisions when planning a trip.

The attributes

CategoryAttribute
EnergyLED lighting makes up for at least 80% of the property’s guest and public room lighting
EnergyAll hotel windows are double glazed
EnergyVegetarian menu options are offered
EnergyVegan menu options are offered
EnergyGuest rooms have energy saving switches (e.g. keycard-controlled electricity)
EnergyProperties electricity is 100% renewable
EnergyProperty has a food waste policy that includes education, food waste prevention, reduction, recycling, and disposal
EnergyAt least 80% of food is sources from property’s local region (e.g. within 50km from property location)
EnergyProperty offers electric car charging stations
WasteSingle-use plastic amenities are replaced by a bulk dispenser
WasteSingle-use plastic water bottles are not offered
WasteThe property has installed water refill stations and encourages guests to use these instead of single-use plastic water bottles
WasteSingle-use plastic soda bottles are not offered
WasteThe property has reusable tableware (replacing single-use)
WasteThe property has reusable cups (replacing single-use)
WasteSingle-use plastic straws are not offered
WasteSingle-use plastic stirrers are not offered
WasteProperty has a recycling plan in place (e.g. in guest rooms, common areas, kitchen) for at least four waste types (glass, paper, plastic, organic)
WaterProperty only uses water-efficient toilets (e.g. low-flow toilets, dual flush toilets)
WaterProperty only uses water-efficient showers (e.g. smart showers, low flow shower heads)
WaterA towel re-use programme is available to guests
WaterGuests can opt out for room cleaning (e.g. bed linen laundry is reduced)
Biodiversity & EcosystemsWild (non-domesticated) animals are not displayed/interacted with while captive on the property or harvested, consumed, or sold
Biodiversity & EcosystemsThe property compensates for at least 10% of total annual carbon emissions by purchasing certified carbon offsets
Biodiversity & Ecosystems80% of the food products offered by the property is organic
Biodiversity & EcosystemsGreen spaces such as gardens/rooftop gardens on the property
Biodiversity & EcosystemsProperty offers bicycle rental
Biodiversity & EcosystemsProperty offers bicycle parking
Destination & CommunityLocal artists are offered a platform to display their talents
Destination & CommunityGuests are offered tours and activities organised by local guides and businesses
Destination & CommunityProperty invests 10% of it’s revenue back into the community or in local sustainability projects
Destination & CommunityProperty provides guests with information regarding local ecosystems, heritage and culture, as well as visitor etiquette