TripAdvisor’s GreenLeaders Program Helps Travelers Choose Sustainable Hotels

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Hotels can reduce their environmental footprint as well as gain economic benefits when they pursue sustainable initiatives. In addition to enjoying a greater competitive advantage, guest loyalty, enhanced brand value and recognition, hotels stand to achieve direct financial savings when their costs of energy, water and waste disposal come down due to sustainability strategies.

TripAdvisor has introduced an innovative program called GreenLeaders to encourage hotels around the world to adopt sustainable business practices. The program provides travelers worldwide with a simple way to make greener travel choices, right at the point when they are making such decision. TripAdvisor issues green badges to hotels adopting sustainable practices in order to highlight their efforts. Over 8,000 hotels are already participating and earning green badges on the popular travel review website.

To receive a green badge, a hotel must show demonstrable commitment, which at the very minimum includes linen and bath towel reuse. Hotels around the world are adopting a wide variety of green policies and practices today. These may include direct guest experiences, such as an organic menu in the restaurant, or background efforts such as efficient lighting and grey water recycling.

The GreenLeaders program allows hotels to do self-reporting on their efforts in the area of sustainability. Verification of their claims is done through random or investigative audits, apart from reviews provided by TripAdvisor’s vast network of reviewers who are asked to point out any discrepancies they may have noticed during their stay.

TripAdvisor worked with the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) as well as with organizations such as the Carbon Trust and EnergyStar in designing this program. Jenny Rushmore, director of marketing for TripAdvisor, said that transparency is at the heart of sustainability. Paul Snyder, VP of corporate responsibility at the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), said that consumer aspirations are changing as travelers become increasingly aware of their impact. IHG provides information on sustainability through its Green Engage program, which involves third-party auditing of its 4,700 hotels.

According to Harold Goodwin, founder of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism, GreenLeaders program is a “game changer.” The day TripAdvisor launched GreenLeaders in Europe, the interest was so huge that the website crashed. TripAdvisor also commands substantial peer influence on consumer choice because the site links to Facebook, enabling users to share their reviews over social media.

Source: The Guardian

Image Credit: Flickr via -hedgey-