The organisation, which operates on a paid-for membership model, providing support for hotels to be certified with a Travelife gold award, currently has 1,300 members and between 800 and 900 certified hotels around the world.
Travelife senior relationships executive Emma Lewis told BigHospitality that although the company currently targets properties in preferred destinations for UK travellers and doesn’t count any UK hotels, it is planning to expand its reach within the country.
“At the moment we haven’t got any UK ones, most of our hotels are based around key destinations for UK tourists, but we are looking at focusing more on the UK.
“It’s not a market that we have really focused on yet. We’re open to hotels from all around the world, but the people we have been working with have been primarily linked to our operators selling trips to UK tourists,” she said.
Travelife does works with bed and breakfasts and self-catering properties in the UK, and is currently developing criteria specific to this type of accommodation, which should be launched in the next few months.
Despite its goal to increase its number of certified hotels, the organisation recently toughened its programme, getting rid of bronze and silver awards and raising the number of criteria to around 100.
“The reason behind that is that sustainability has moved on and lots of things that would have been considered best practice a few years ago have now become quite commonplace, for example asking guests to re-use their towels.
“We felt that for hotels to justify getting a certification mark that placed them above their competitors in the marketplace, they needed to go the extra-mile and do substantial amounts of work on sustainability,” Lewis explained.
However, the said that the toughening of standards would not obstruct the company’s target because of the support provided to member hotels.
“We used to have a six-month limit, meaning hotels had to have their first audit within six months of joining. Now that we’ve got more criteria we’ve decided to trial an open-ended programme. It ran last year with four hotels that had never achieved a sustainable certification and all of them achieved it within 12 months – and that’s hotels that started from scratch,” Lewis pointed out.
Benefits for members
On top of the support provided by Travelife to help hotels improve sustainability, joining the programme can lead to reduced overheads and improved public image.
“The key benefit in becoming a member is that it’s a system that’s designed specifically for hotels – a targeted step-by-step approach that takes them right through from initial analysis of their business, setting targets, managing and communicating what they are doing. It’s a systematic, professional, targeted products.
“Most of our hotels have said that their biggest benefit has been engaging with staff and suppliers, which has improved communication between managers across different areas of the business, helped them work together more effectively and exchanging fresh ideas to improve their business offering,” she said.