Now, more than ever, responsible, sustainable travel is vital in bringing cultures back together and supporting those communities that depend on tourism.
Research shows that travellers want to take meaningful trips with a positive impact – they just don't always know how. That's why at Booking.com, we aim to make sustainable travel easier for everyone.
As a leader in travel, we believe it is our responsibility, and that of our industry, to help make sure this planet, its people, wildlife and habitats are able to thrive now and long into the future. So we're working with our partners to provide a wider array of sustainable experiences, to give customers more sustainable choices when they travel. We're also looking at how we can reduce the overall footprint of our company and offices around the world, while exploring new ways to make ourselves more efficient and become carbon neutral in our operations.
The world is changing and so is our industry. But what hasn't changed is our commitment to preserving a world worth experiencing. We believe now is the time to embrace change and use this moment to make it possible for people everywhere to travel more sustainably, when it is safe to do so. We are committed to reducing our energy consumption, and will be offsetting our operational carbon emissions in 2020 and beyond. We have also implemented waste-streaming and plastics-reduction measures in offices across the globe. We are working with partners to collect information about sustainability at their properties and educate them on how to improve their own efficiency when it comes to energy and waste. And we will continue to challenge ourselves and our industry to become more sustainable.
Developing our product
According to research conducted by Booking.com in 2020 (~ 22 global markets and ~1000 participants per market) 82% of travellers tell us they find sustainability an important topic, but only 50% tell us there's enough choice when it comes to places to stay and 38% are not even sure where to look for sustainable accommodation. This is a problem – one we can fix through our partners and our product. That's why in 2020 we also began collecting information about the sustainability activities of our partners, and so far hundreds of thousands of properties have shared this information with us. This data, alongside a detailed framework, has helped us begin experimenting with our product to make it easier for more of our customers to choose sustainable places to stay.
At Booking.com, we believe in the conservation of native and natural biodiversity, habitats and wildlife, as well as the prevention of animal exploitation. In 2019, we became an official partner of World Animal Protection – a leading international NGO moving the world to protect animals for more than 50 years. We then set about developing welfare guidelines aimed not only at attraction partners but accommodations as well. To do this successfully, we conducted a thorough business impact assessment and developed a business integrity process that would enable us to work with any partners identified as potentially breaching our guidelines. Alongside these guidelines, we have implemented changes that stop the promotion of activities, such as swimming with dolphins and riding elephants, on our products.
In 2019, with a common goal of developing industry-wide solutions to make sustainable travel easier for everyone and protect the destinations we love to explore, we joined Travalyst as a founding partner, alongside the Duke of Sussex and other leading global brands. We are an official partner of World Animal Protection, making us part of an alliance of global travel leaders committed to ending cruelty in wildlife entertainment. In 2020, we worked with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) to help educate our partners on reducing single-use plastics while maintaining safety during the pandemic. We also continue to work closely with the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance.
Natural disasters can have a truly devastating impact on communities and destinations. We began our emergency response fund to help support the relief organisations that deliver vital aid to the people and places hit by these catastrophes. To raise funds quickly and efficiently, we set up an internal fundraising campaign, so employees can donate immediately, with the company matching all their contributions. Since 2015, Booking.com and its employees have donated more than €400,000 to organisations delivering immediate relief to those in need across the globe.