Booking.com’s annual Sustainable Travel Report, which gathered insights from over 30,000 travelers across 32 countries and territories, indicates that travelers are selecting “planet-first” options and looking to brands for sustainable choices and more purposeful travel. Findings reveal that 61% of US travelers have a desire to travel more sustainably over the next year, denoting a 15% increase over what surfaced through the company’s 2021 data.
In order to align with these wants and continue generating business, Booking.com has garnered a Travel Sustainable badge, recognizing the sustainability efforts of more than 95,000 properties around the world, which the company says provides travelers with a consistent and easy-to-understand way to identify a wider range of sustainable stays.
Thirty-eight percent of people surveyed confirm they have seen a sustainable place to stay on an online travel site over the past year while actively looking for information about the sustainability efforts of a property before they book, and 61% of travelers want to make more effort in the next year to travel more sustainably, showing the importance of travel companies making the switch to sustainable stays.
With more than 100,000 properties globally now being recognized for their sustainability efforts with a Travel Sustainable badge on Booking.com, the company has also further expanded the number of third-party certifications and labels that automatically qualify accommodations to receive it. In addition to those officially approved by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), Green Tourism and the EU Ecolabel, this now also includes Green Seal, Nordic Swan Ecolabel, Green Hospitality Ecolabel, Ibex Fairstay, Fair Trade Tourism, LEED and Edge.
Additionally, 28% of those surveyed say that travel companies proposing alternative destinations to prevent overcrowding would encourage them to make more sustainable travel choices. This means giving accommodation providers the incentive to progress their sustainability efforts, and giving travel platforms the opportunity to highlight more sustainable options in order to grow their consumer base.
However, an article from Latana states that cost is still the primary consideration for travelers when choosing their next trip. In another study by The Vacationer, 71% of survey respondents said they would be willing to pay more to lower their carbon footprint, but only 33% were willing to contribute between $50 to $250 to do so.
Companies like Booking.com are trying to overcome these obstacles. Ruby’s Inn, a small town resort, has deployed an innovative technology that is changing the face of its commercial operations: a tankless water heater fueled by propane with efficiency that creates enormous energy savings. On a larger scale, Google has also made changes in the last year, joining the Travalyst coalition — and has put in place a new team of engineers, designers and researchers focusing only on travel sustainability — to create tools that help make it easier for people to find sustainable options while traveling.
One of the biggest changes the travel industry is seeing, however, is the use of sustainable fuels in airlines. The aviation industry has been swept into the international movement to reduce CO2 emissions. By using renewable jet fuels derived from such things as algae, waste carbon, or corn-based ethanol, it can make its mark. One recent example: United Airlines Ventures (UAV) and Oxy Low Carbon Ventures (OLCV) announced a collaboration with Houston-based biotech firm Cemvita Factory to commercialize the production of sustainable aviation fuel.