GreenLeaders, TripAdvisor’s new sustainable hotel programme, aims to “gives consumers around the world a simple way to make greener travel choices, right at the point at which they are making that decision.” 8,000 hotels are already participating and earning green badges on the popular travel review site.
The TripAdvisor GreenLeaders programme allows hotels to self-report their work on sustainability. The information they provide is then validated by random or investigative audits, as well as by TripAdvisor’s network of reviewers who are asked to point out any discrepancies noticed during their stay.
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.
TripAdvisor worked with the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) as well as with organisations such as the Carbon Trust and EnergyStar in designing this program. “Transparency is at the heart of sustainability,” stated Jenny Rushmore, Director of Marketing for TripAdvisor.
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.