EXCLUSIVE. On Booking, 57,000 “green” labels for eco-responsible hotels

Much like the Boy Scouts who collect badges to prove their skill, the travel world likes to display their reward garlands behind the counter. And at Booking.com, the Dutch tourist reservation giant, hoteliers will be able, as of Monday, November 15, to display a new “sustainable badge”. A sort of guarantee of responsible travel, while the COP26 which has just ended stressed, once again, the perils of climate change. “We can not depend only on governments. We must also act and this initiative is a way for our customers and our partners to make a difference”, explains exclusively to L’Express, Glenn Fogel, the American CEO of Booking.

This former lawyer, passionate about science, now controls one of the most powerful algorithms on the planet. And for him, whether at the level of the pandemic or the fight for the climate, businesses and consumers must be part of the equation. “To award these badges, we sift through 32 criteria: what are hotels doing in terms of water, waste, energy management …? This badge will help everyone become aware of it”, Glenn Fogel continues from his New York office.

57,000 hotels out of the 28 million advertisements on the site

In Amsterdam, at Booking’s head office, we hope that this new label will quickly become “a universal index” since its leaders have aimed for a global launch. According to our information, 57,000 establishments on the planet (out of the 28 million accommodations listed) will display the badge in this first version. Secondly, it could even turn into a real note like the location, cleanliness or reception indicators that already exist on the site. “When we launched Booking, it was to help consumers fight over prices with the big international chains. What we are doing there is also helping small hoteliers who do things right by offering them more visibility, ”explains the CEO, who also sees sustainable development as a new marketing argument.

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Only, like other criteria, the green dimension can also be very suggestive according to customers. And may even raise some questions about greenwashing. Here again, Booking relies on its community to clean up. Unlike other comparators, such as Google or TripAdvisor, only customers who have booked through the platform can post their comments. “We will quickly see in the data if the badge is only a selling point, but I sincerely believe that this will change the habits of travelers”, anticipates Glenn Fogel. According to an Ifop poll published last April, 40% of French people said they were ready to pay more to travel in a responsible and environmentally friendly manner. Obviously, this is only declarative. When it comes to taking out their credit card … consumers often have sea urchins in their pockets.

Sebastien Pommier


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The last French nuclear reactor was launched in 2004.Cécile Maisonneuve is Senior Fellow at Institut Montaigne and advisor to the energy-climate center of IFRI

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Economist and essayist, Nicolas Bouzou is the founder and director of the Asterès consulting firm.Nicolas bouzou

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EXCLUSIVE. On Booking, 57,000 “green” labels for eco-responsible hotels