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Accommodation Framework

We’re working with some of the world’s leading travel brands to make it easier for consumers to choose more sustainable places to stay. Together, we are striving to:

  • Create transparent reporting systems to help accommodation providers share their sustainability credentials with consumers
  • Allow travellers to recognise and understand sustainability information on the platforms they already know and trust
  • Scale our work across the broadest range of travel platforms and providers

The challenge

Research has shown that a variety of factors related to accommodation – from food miles and waste, to energy consumption and local employment – can significantly increase both the carbon footprint and community impact of a holiday.

However, a lack of access to reliable, consistent information has been cited as a barrier to travellers making more sustainable choices. With a variety of competing certification schemes available, travellers often don’t know what to look for or which labels to trust.

Travalyst’s role

Our goal is to help travellers make better choices, and this starts with being able to consistently find the sustainability information they need on the platforms they already use – platforms like our partners, Expedia Group, and Google.

By building upon existing standards, and in consultation with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), our coalition is working to collect data from accommodation providers based on an agreed list of attributes; covering operational and policy information across five sustainability categories. Using an aligned methodology, that data is then displayed as consistent sustainability information that consumers can begin to recognise and understand.

This makes it as simple as possible for consumers to find sustainable places to stay.

Working together

Our Accommodation Working Group has aligned behind a growing list of sustainability attributes, which are shared below. Members of the group are enabling properties on their platforms to submit information on those practices, and so currently on, Expedia, and Google, consumers can find this information on the booking page for accommodations who have submitted their data.

The first version of this list was the foundation for’s Travel Sustainable badge, which is displayed for properties that have implemented a sufficient number or combination of the attributes.

The list is being continually updated and refined to present an increasingly accurate picture of sustainability in the accommodation industry.

The role of our Independent Advisory Group

We work with a group of academics and sector experts, who provide neutral guidance and oversight of the models to ensure that our work is robust, credible and maintains focus on the goal of bringing this information to consumers, at scale.

What consumers see

When consumers search for accommodation, they can be led by the following across, Expedia, and Google:



Third party certifications

Across our partner platforms, additional information on third party certifications a property has been awarded might be displayed. Given the vast number of certification schemes and bodies in the industry, our working group has aligned behind criteria that those certification processes would need to meet in order to be displayed:

  1. Third-party audit1 that includes on-site and/or online assessment (including review of documentation like energy bills, certification from food supply company etc.) of sustainable practices reported by the property.
  2. Publicly available standards upon which the certification is based. For example, by having a freely-available survey online that allows new properties to participate in the process of acquiring certification for their sustainability efforts, or a standard available for download or on a website.
  3. Focuses on evaluating the sustainability impact of the social and/or economic, and/or environmental factors, among others, as encompassed within but not restricted to the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

1 Glossary (GSTC Glossary of Accreditation Terms):
Third-party: carried out by an individual or body that is independent of the entity being certified or accredited.
Audit: A systematic and comprehensive process of investigation through checking documents, conducting interviews, observation and other means.

In the long term

This list is not exhaustive, and while this is an important first step, there is much more we need to do. In the long term, our coalition will:  

  • Work together – and with our advisors – to add further criteria across all categories
  • Increase the amount of data collected from properties
  • Increase the number of properties that submit their data
  • Create full consistency of underlying data presented across platforms
  • Develop and improve methods for verification of data to ensure accuracy and trustworthiness
  • Share sustainability resources to encourage accommodations to become more sustainable – already provide their partners with a handbook
  • Educate consumers on what to look out for when booking accommodation

Please get in touch for more information, or to adopt our accommodation framework.

Accommodation attributes

Below is the current list of attributes, reached in agreement with our Independent Advisory Group, and which our Accommodation Working Group are aligned on:

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 & Ecosystems
Property 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