• Sarah Habsburg

Hotel Sustainability: New Features on Google and Booking.com


Climate change is undoubtedly driving our future business decisions and investments. While the pandemic is our current biggest challenge, the underlying question of “What comes next?” is never far from our thoughts.


The conversation about sustainability in hospitality has recently been given a huge boost by the actions of Google and Booking.com


Read on to find out more.


According to Booking.com’s Sustainable Travel Report 2021, “73% of respondents said they would be more likely to choose an accommodation if they knew it was implementing sustainable practices”. ¹


Around half of respondents found it difficult to find sustainable hotels.


Both Booking and Google just made it a while lot easier.


Since November 2021, Booking is now allowing registered properties to showcase their sustainable practices.


In the extranet of your Booking.com profile, you can indicate what responsible actions you take at your property. The choices available at this time are centred around five categories:


  • Reduce waste

  • Reduce energy and greenhouse gases

  • Use less water

  • Support your local community

  • Protect nature


You will not be penalised if you can only say with confidence at this time that you endeavour to use less water. Anyone looking at your property page will see what you do do, and not what you don’t.


It is not yet a feature that browsing guests can filter to show only properties who have completed the section on sustainability, but that is just a matter of time.


To further illustrate the evolving consciousness about showcasing sustainability actions, in September 2021 Google launched their “eco-certified” feature worldwide.


After you have filled in the information and uploaded any relevant certification, your property will be shown with a leaf-shaped icon to the right of the name. This allows you to showcase your sustainability efforts alongside amenities and health and safety practices.


Customers can click on the “About” tab to find detail of your sustainability practices.


But Google have not stopped there.


A major step towards pushing the aviation industry to do more, and faster, on its road to decarbonisation, Google Flights search will now include emissions information on its airlines fares search engine. This means that a user will be able to see the carbon emissions per seat for every flight and will be guided towards lower carbon options. Though of course, the consumer will still have full control over which flight they choose.

And there’s more…!


In the United States, Google Maps is already offering drivers the lowest carbon route for their chosen journey. Factors such as traffic and road inclines are calculated to present this information to the Google Maps user. A Europe-wide rollout of the feature is planned for 2022.


According to Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief exec, this initiative could save 1M tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. That is the equivalent of taking 200,000 cars off the road.


That is no mean feat.


Also, the giant has made changes to shopping searches meaning that when users look for new cars, or energy-intensive devices, such as dishwashers or water heaters, they will be steered towards options such as hybrid and electric vehicles, and more eco-friendly machine alternatives.


Google themselves are walking the talk too, by announcing that their offices aim to be powered exclusively by low-carbon energy by 2030.


“Climate change is no longer a distant threat,” said Pichai. “It’s increasingly local and personal. Around the world, wildfires, flooding and other extreme weather continue to affect our health, our economies, and our future together on our planet. We need urgent and meaningful solutions to address this pressing challenge.”


While opting into these new features may well still be optional, it is definitely an inherent responsibility to share your sustainability actions with the world.


There is no denying the definite shift of consumer consciousness towards companies who are actively trying to reduce their footprints to help make the world a better place.


What better way to get started than to take advantage of both Booking and Google’s new offers.


Of course, to be able to showcase what you are doing, you need to get started. To get you inspired and help you on your journey, take a look at this blog to learn the four essential ingredients to creating a greener business.


Creating a Greener Business: The Four Essential Ingredients





¹ Booking.com Sustainable Travel Report 2021


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