Developed in partnership with the Carbon Trust, the UK Green Building Council, the United Nations Environment Programme and the International Tourism Partnership, the GreenLeaders programme was launched in the US a year ago to recognise hotels and B&Bs with strong environmental credentials.
“With so many travellers placing an importance on the eco-friendly practices of the places they visit, accommodation owners stand to gain a real competitive edge by promoting their environmentally friendly practices,” said Jenny Rushmore, director of responsible travel at TripAdvisor.
“Our TripAdvisor GreenLeaders programme will enable businesses managing their environmental footprint to highlight their commitment to millions of travellers around the world, at no expense to their business.”
After success in the US – where TripAdvisor GreenLeaders has become the biggest green hotel scheme of its kind – the programme is now being rolled out in European countries, including the UK & Ireland.
Properties can apply to the programme online for no cost, and their application will be assessed against a range of environmental criteria including linen and towel re-use, recycling, composting, solar panels, electric car charging stations and green roofing.
Those that achieve GreenLeaders status will be tiered by Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum awards, with a corresponding badge displayed prominently on their TripAdvisor listing.
They will also show up when travellers search for hotels using TripAdvisor’s new ‘green’ hotels search function, and travellers will be able to read the exact details of each property’s environmental practices.
If properties carry out the correct green practices but do not achieve the minimum score necessary to earn a GreenLeaders award, they will instead be eligible for GreenPartner status.
Recognition and reward
Jenny Rushmore, the director of responsible tourism at TripAdvisor, told BigHospitality that TripAdvisor’s programme stands out from other green schemes because of its sheer scale.
“What we heard from many hotels is that they had environmental programmes in place but they didn’t get much recognition for it and they didn’t necessarily have the time or money to promote what they are doing,” she explained.
“We have the ability to communicate to 260 million people every month about what your hotel is doing.
“So many of the US properties we are working with are happy to have the opportunity to stand out on TripAdvisor and tell travellers about what they are doing.”
A number of hotel chains have already agreed to participate in the programme in the UK, including Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide, Red Carnation Hotels and Macdonald Hotels.
Gordon Fraser, group finance director at Macdonald Hotels & Resorts, said: “The TripAdvisor GreenLeaders programme presents a further opportunity to highlight to our customers that Macdonald Hotels & Resorts takes its responsibilities for implementing industry leading environmentally sound sustainability practices extremely seriously.”
The GreenLeaders programme will be strictly policed, with each application reviewed by the TripAdvisor team, and sent to a third-party auditor if further evidence of green practice is needed.
“Because we are TripAdvisor we also have millions of users leaving reviews for us every day and they are able to report if their experience at the hotel doesn’t match up with what they claim the hotel is doing from an environmental perspective,” said Rushmore.
TripAdvisor will punish any hotels and B&Bs found to have lied in their applications by placing a red penalty badge on their listing.
To apply to the programme, go to http://green.tripadvisor.co.uk/