Whether or not TripAdvisor’s new hotel sustainability program, GreenLeaders will be an effective way to monitor and appraise sustainability within the hotel industry, continues to be debated. However the peer-to-peer review system has already created enough of an impact to be in line for a potential World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) gong, the Tourism for Tomorrow award.
According to TripAdvisor, the GreenLeaders program looks to give “consumers around the world a simple way to make greener travel choices, right at the point at which they are making that decision”.
Over 8,000 hotels are participating in the eco rating scheme.
Critics of the ratings site say that the checklist that allows auditors and hotel guests to compare their experiences against a self-reported sustainability analysis given by each property management team, falls short on educating reviewers about sustainability.
Concerns have been raised over whether TripAdvisor reviewers will overlook the number of sustainable initiatives many hotels incorporate into their routine, such as waste efforts and energy generation, in favour of implementations such as water saving devices, which are more visible.
Paul Snyder, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) vice president of corporate responsibility said in The Guardian that travellers are looking for more information on how their stay translates into carbon emissions.
“It used to just be that people would ask, are you green,” said Snyder. “Now some people want to know the hotel’s carbon footprint per one night stay, others per square metre.”
One positive, no matter how you view the GreenLeaders program, is that travellers are becoming more demanding in their eco choices, and hotels are responding.
The winners of the Tourism for Tomorrow awards will be announced on April 15 this year 2015 in Madrid during WTTC’s Global Summit.