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    5 June 2024

    How to Obtain Your Hotel Sustainability Certification: A Guide for Hoteliers

    world environment day 2024

    Today, more and more travellers are consciously choosing their hotels and accommodation based on their green and social commitments.  

    As explained in our Travel Trends Guide for 2024, sustainable travel is a major area of focus for our industry, and for Hotelbeds, impacting directly on our daily operations and how we generate tourism.  

    The process of becoming an eco-friendly hotel is easier than you might think at first glance. Check out our guide to hotel sustainability and our 6 tips to avoid using single-use plastics in hotels.  

    In addition, it's important to let potential guests know that you support these initiatives, and a certification is one of the best ways to do so.  

    Throughout this article, we’ll provide you with relevant information about getting certified with two of the major certifications for hotels. We’ll also explain how to leverage Hotelbeds’ benefits by becoming a sustainable partner. Keep reading! 


    How Hotelbeds helps with ESG strategy  

    Hotelbeds, as part of the HBX Group, takes its Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) responsibilities seriously. We’re committed to ensuring our planet's sustainability. As a result, we have established 10 core commitments related to the Sustainable Development Goals, including:  

    • We continue to promote sustainable and conscious travel to minimise environmental impact and improve the community with our technological capabilities.   
    • We highlight to our partners and stakeholders the benefits of introducing sustainable practices into their business models and complying with regulations, legal requirements and qualifying for certifications that make a difference.    
    • We work to enhance visibility and promote sustainable products, services, and destinations through the creation of sustainability performance levels. 

    What’s the Sustainable Hotels Programme?

    As part of our ESG efforts, we highlight the Sustainable Hotels Programme, formerly known as the Green Hotel Programme. What is the purpose of this initiative?  

    In recent studies, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) observed that 74% of travellers want hotels to provide more sustainable choices. 65% of respondents said that they would feel better about paying for accommodation with a sustainable certification or label.    

    Since hoteliers are key players in the tourism industry – one of the sectors with the most impact on the environment, society and economy – it’s essential to consider implementing a sustainable perspective in the properties.    

    Therefore, the Sustainable Hotels Programme was created to encourage properties regardless of their size to become a force for good, and help them to communicate their sustainable practices.    

    Hotels participating in the programme benefit from more visibility in our system. If you’re a member of the programme, you'll appear in the booking engine under the filter 'Sustainable Hotels'

    We'll also include your property in sustainability-focused marketing actions, promoting it across channels such as email communications, banners, and landing pages on and  

    Also, we run campaigns aimed at increasing awareness of the use of single-use plastic, and other eco-friendly and social initiatives. Last year's campaign with Accor increased the number of properties free of single-use plastic from 500 to 5,000. Stay tuned in the coming months as we'll be launching a new series of campaigns.   
    As a group, HBX Group has observed a growing interest and bookings from hotels that adopt sustainable practices. Currently, we have 40,000+ properties certified as sustainable in our portfolio. And there’s been a 30% increase in bookings for sustainable hotels with social impact over the past 12 months. Additionally, our Sustainable Hotels landing page has been the most viewed this year so far, proving again the growing interest in this category of properties and the changing traveller's intent.

    One effective way to communicate your sustainable initiatives to the world and access our Sustainable Hotels Programme is to become certified with eco certifications. At Hotelbeds, we suggest two in particular. Read on to learn about some of the best certifications in the industry and how to obtain them.

    Your Guide to Hotel Certification  

    WTTC Hotel Sustainability Basics

    The first certificate we encourage you to get is Hotel Sustainability Basics by the WTTC. This is the global authority on travel and tourism's economic and social contribution, working with governments and international institutions.   
    In four simple steps, you can get this certification regardless of the size of your property.  

    • Fill in the registration form to receive the toolkit with all the information about joining the programme. Visit to do so. 
    • You’ll receive confirmation from WTTC, explaining the verification partners available in your region. After choosing one, WTTC will tell you how to verify the certification criteria you must follow.  
    • Next step will be to implement the 12 basics of sustainability defined by WTTC over the next three years. These basics include Measure & Reduce Energy Use, Measure & Reduce Water List, No SUP water bottles, Bulk amenity dispensers or Community Benefit, among others.    
    • Once the criteria have been completed, you’ll need to send evidence to your verification partner. Once verified, you'll get a badge showing that your property complies with the Basic Hotel Sustainability standard.  


    GSTC Industry Criteria

    The second certification we recommend you get is provided by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). This organisation establishes and manages global standards for sustainable travel and tourism, known as the GSTC Criteria. They are arranged on four pillars: (A) Sustainable management; (B) Socioeconomic impacts; (C) Cultural impacts; and (D) Environmental impacts.  

    These criteria are used by businesses of all sizes to become more sustainable and as a basis for certification. To measure compliance with GSTC Criteria, some performance indicators are available. All of these criteria can be found here
    Businesses certified by a GSTC-Accredited Certification Body, meeting all the GSTC Criteria, have a high level of assurance and credibility. Being certified by an Accredited Certification Body means that your property complies with the highest social and environmental standards on the market.  

    This is how GSTC certification works:  

    • Choose a Certification Body (organisations that have been accredited based on the quality of their certification process) from this list. Some of these GSTC Accredited Certification Bodies include Bureau Veritas, Control Union and RoyalCert.   
    • After working with a Certification Body towards achieving full GSTC requirements compliance, your operation will receive its Certification from an Accredited Certification Body.

    Introducing Our New Sustainability Hub  

    Aside from these certifications, we also strive to provide you with the tools to become more sustainable and implement initiatives that will benefit you.  

    As part of our ESG strategy, we’re glad to announce the launch of the Sustainability Hub, an online site aiming to collaborate with stakeholders to improve sustainability, generate networking and share ESG projects and actions. We’ll support small and medium hotels and clients on their sustainability journey.  

    In this hub, you’ll find relevant content on sustainability and hotels, as well as sustainability mentoring programmes to help you obtain these certifications (WTTC & GSTC). Some of the areas we’ll cover include:  

    • Mentoring on how to start with Basic from WTTC and expand with GSTC standards at different levels.   
    • Support with activities to share best practices, webinars, mentoring programmes, etc.  
    • Launch specific campaigns on topics like plastic-free, waste, energy, universal accessibility, among others.  
    • ESG advice for customers and suppliers.  


    We hope that this article will encourage you to go further in your efforts to make your property more environmentally friendly. Be sure to stay tuned for all the sustainable initiatives that we’ll be launching in the coming months.  

    Haven’t joined Hotelbeds yet? Start benefiting from a wide range of products and services at your disposal, as well as from 66,000+ travel distributors ready to book your rooms. Register your property today!

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