Spain: Barcelona-based Sustonica, described as the first dedicated sustainability programme for short-term rentals around the world, has announced that it has joined forces with Booking.com to mark a “paradigm shift” in a sustainable short-term rental industry.
As a result of the alliance, property owners and managers will now have a clear and verifiable pathway to distinguish their properties based on credible sustainable practices. For many travellers, such an endorsement may be the deciding factor in their booking decisions, providing properties with a tangible edge in a crowded marketplace.
According to Booking.com’s Sustainable Travel Report 2023:
- 51 per cent believe there are not enough sustainable travel options
- 65 per cent would feel better about staying in a particular accommodation if they knew it had a sustainable certification or label
- 59 per cent want to filter their options for those with a sustainable certification next time they book
The Sustonica sustainability badge is designed to showcase worldwide short-term rentals that have implemented sustainable practices, such as energy efficiency, waste reduction, water conservation, promoting the destination and minimising the negative impact on the community. Proofs are sent digitally in the form of invoices and geo-localised photos, and are externally validated by professional auditors according to ISO19011:2018.
Participating properties are required to achieve a minimum of 20 per cent of the criteria and, according to the ISO methodology ‘PDCA cycle’ [a continuous loop of planning, doing, checking and acting], to increase their score every year by at least two per cent.
Meanwhile, Booking.com’s Travel Sustainable Programme has three tiers of commitment to sustainable practices. According to a recent research piece by Transparent Intelligence, 53 per cent of holders are at Level 1, 37 per cent are at Level 2, and just 10 per cent of participants are at Level 3.
Sustonica vetted short-term rentals appear in the ‘Travel Sustainable’ filter with a Level 3+, the highest level achievable and reserved to those properties that have been externally verified. Live examples can be viewed here and here.
The certification programme itself is open to all vacation rental properties, including apartments, houses and villas worldwide.
Vanessa de Souza Lage, co-founder and CEO of Sustonica, said: “We’re proud to be the only dedicated sustainability programme for short-term rentals accepted by Booking.com and we hope to see other leading online travel agencies follow suit soon.
“Sustonica stands out as the solution for any OTA to add a sustainability filter in their search, because we conduct professional audits of short-term rentals worldwide and at scale. Using one label removes confusion and adds credibility to the industry’s effort in becoming more sustainable,” she added.
Thomas Loughlin, sustainability manager – supply at Booking.com will join a session at the inaugural STRz Summit in London on Wednesday 18 October, discussing ‘Sustainable hospitality: Unlimited desire vs limited resources?’. For more information and to book your tickets, follow this link.