Ambitious. Fragmented. Optimistic. Chaotic. Hopeful. Necessary. The travel and hotel industry has a lot to answer for and needs to address the issue of sustainability – and bring it to the forefront. In this case, I wanted to look at how the industry communicates its efforts to the general public through the lens of distribution.
Distribution was complicated enough before the big sustainability discussions and the need to share sustainability attributes came into play. The lack of a coherent industry-wide approach and the seemingly dramatic shift in sustainability awareness among consumers have led the industry into interesting but unpredictable territory.
Travel companies have taken different paths on their sustainability journey, achieving different levels of impact and visibility. However, this different landscape and approach to sustainability became a challenge for bookers when trying to compare products and services. Thus began the race to create certifications and certify hotels.
ABTA’s Travelife was developed in partnership with tour operators such as TUI, Thomas Cook, Virgin Holidays and many others to provide an affordable, step-by-step system to help accommodation providers achieve international sustainability standards so that holidaymakers have more responsible travel options.
Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) collated a range of certifications under their sustainability certification umbrella. And the sustainable hospitality alliance did something similar.
Booking.com developed its own sustainability badge and HRS launched their Green Stay audit initiative.
Travalyst launched in 2019 with the aim of making it easier for travellers to find sustainability information on the platforms they already use – platforms like Booking.com, Expedia Group and Google. This seems to have led to some convergence, although there is still a long way to go.
Equally challenging were the discussions on how to present and update sustainability-related content consistently across all major channels. So far, it has been a big schlepp!
One of the companies leading the way in dynamically measuring and sharing sustainability initiatives is Chooose, an all-in-one platform with tools to integrate climate action into every customer experience – through automated emissions calculations, dynamic sustainability ratings, a verified carbon reduction and offset marketplace, and climate programme reporting.
13.01.23 An update on Chooose which was called out recently. According to The Business Times, “NORWAY-BASED climate tech company Chooose has announced a US$15 million funding round co-led by GenZero and Soundwaves.”
In many ways, the sustainability discussions have forced most industry stakeholders to work together – and I expect this will also contribute to the broader improvements in content distribution that the industry really needs.