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Booking.com Releases Sixth Annual Sustainable Travel Report

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Glenn Hasek

Booking.com just released its sixth annual Sustainable Travel Report (see related article). It is based on one of the travel industry’s largest surveys and worth paying attention to. A total of 29,000 travelers from 30 countries were surveyed. (Click here to access a page where the Report can be downloaded.)

“Our research uncovers how the travel hiatus has opened travelers’ eyes to the impact, both positive and negative, that their trips can have on local ecosystems and communities around the world,” said Marianne Gybels, Director of Sustainability at Booking.com.

As the world of travel starts to open again, Booking.com’s 2021 Sustainable Travel Report reveals that American travelers are more committed than ever to do so in a mindful way, with just under half (46 percent) stating that the pandemic has influenced them to want to travel more sustainably in the future. Interestingly, the United States lands toward the bottom of the survey regarding this question. There are 20 countries above the United States where travelers want to travel more sustainably (India, 88 percent, China, 84 percent, for example).

Some Highlights from the Report

The following are some additional nuggets from the Report:

  • Sixty-three percent of travelers believe we have to act now to save the planet for future generations.
  • The biggest impact concerns of travelers include: excess waste (43 percent), and threats to local wildlife and natural habitats.
  • Eighty-one percent said they intend to stay in a sustainable accommodation at least once in the upcoming year. This compares to 62 percent in 2016.
  • Forty-four percent of travelers indicate they do not know how to find sustainable travel options. Although three out of four accommodation partners say that they have implemented sustainable practices at their property, under a third (31 percent) actively communicate about their efforts proactively to potential guests, with this mostly happening at the time of check-in (59 percent). (Why are many hiding their green story? Perhaps they do not have someone on staff with the communication skills to do that?) Thirty-three percent of travelers believe hotels don’t believe they do enough that is worth communicating to guests.
  • Seventy-eight percent of travelers want to reduce their energy consumption; 78 percent are keen to reduce water usage.
  • Thirty-six percent took their own reusable water bottle, rather than buying bottled water on vacation.

In its report, Booking.com announced it is rolling out a program for properties that will support them in taking the next steps to become more sustainable, no matter where they might be on that journey. As part of this program, it is sharing guidance, insights and best practices with partners via various educational opportunities, including sustainability handbooks and dedicated content on its Partner Hub.

On its site, Booking.com is currently displaying over 30 certifications officially approved by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), Green Tourism and the EU Ecolabel, as well as multiple hotel chain sustainability programs. It is sourcing this information directly from the certification bodies and displaying it on the property pages of partners who hold one of these established third-party certifications.

In addition, Booking.com is encouraging its accommodation partners to update their sustainability information, which includes 32 impactful practices across five key categories: waste, energy and greenhouse gases, water, supporting local communities and protecting nature. From this global roll-out, hundreds of thousands of properties have now shared their sustainability information with Booking.com, which can be viewed on the “Sustainability initiatives” banner on each of their property pages.

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