Eco badges help travel and tourism companies to boost transparency, offer responsible alternatives to travellers, and demonstrate positive environmental performance.
Companies with more transparent environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategies, which can demonstrate positive work to address environmental issues, could win the loyalty of travellers that may be undecided on which service to use for a specific aspect of their trip. Eco badges will help win the loyalty of responsible travellers in the short-term, and improve brand positioning in the long-term. As a result, an increasing number of travel and tourism companies are attempting to prove their sustainability efforts through the acquisition or creation of eco badges and accreditation.
Travellers now require higher levels of transparency
Many travellers now require higher levels of transparency from companies, and are wary of greenwashing attempts involving claims around sustainability with little substance behind them. The adoption of badges that denote high performance concerning environmental benchmarks makes companies’ claims seem more trustworthy, which will increase demand for their products and services. 57% of global respondents are ‘often’ or ‘always’ influenced by products or services that are trustworthy*. Additionally, almost three quarters of respondents agreed that the introduction of sustainability labels on products should be mandatory, reinforcing the growing importance of eco-labels in the travel and tourism industry**.
Booking.com is an eco-badge pioneer
In 2021, Booking.com announced the launch of its Travel Sustainable badge, a global sustainability measure. The OTA collaborated with industry experts, through its key role within the Travalyst Coalition, to identify a set of meaningful practices for a property to consider in five key areas: waste, energy and greenhouse gases, water, supporting local communities, and protecting nature. Its framework is broken down into specific sustainability practices that properties can implement, including everything from eliminating single-use plastic toiletries, to running on 100% renewable energy sources.
By creating its own framework and methodology for its sustainability measure, Booking.com cements itself as a pioneer for eco badge creation in travel and tourism. It demonstrates the time and resources the company has invested in this initiative to provide travellers with sustainable alternatives. The company is not just doing the bare minimum to appear to be acting sustainably; it is operating proactively to ensure it is not lagging behind the competition in terms of environmental performance.
Whether through the creation of independent eco badges or by adopting labels awarded by external accreditation providers, travel and tourism companies need to be working towards gaining these badges of quality that enhance transparency, increase revenue, and promote sustainability.
*Q1 2021 Consumer Survey (21,768 respondents)
** GlobalData poll (ended August 17, 2021, with 204 respondents)