Leading digital travel platform Booking.com has partnered with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) of the United Nations to launch a new series of free online courses designed to support accommodations on their journey to operate more sustainably.
Geared towards accommodation providers globally, but accessible to the general public as well, a pilot version of the first course, which is focused on community engagement, is now available on partner-courses.booking.com/sustainability. After this initial optimization period, all four courses will be rolled out and available via the Tourism Online Academy (TOA), managed by UNWTO and IE University.
Providing practical knowledge around sustainability for accommodations, each course will focus on a different topic: local community engagement, energy usage & greenhouse gases, food management, and water management. The modules share actionable recommendations that accommodation providers can immediately start integrating into their practices, ranging from how to calculate a property’s energy consumption and reduce its emissions to best practices for community engagement.
The series is led by respected subject-matter experts and academics, providing strong technical expertise, deep industry knowledge and a data-driven approach. Booking.com accommodation partners are also included in the modules as a way of sharing practical success stories from their own individual sustainability journeys. Experts and course voices include stakeholders from ERM (a global sustainability consultancy), Xavier Font from the University of Surrey, and accommodation partners from across the globe.
“We are excited to expand our longstanding relationship with UNWTO and deliver this new educational series which responds to the desire of accommodation providers for resources on how to implement more sustainable practices,” said Danielle D’Silva, Head of Sustainability at Booking.com. “Supporting partners, and the wider industry, to integrate more sustainability practices into their operations is a core component of our mission to make it easier for everyone to experience the world. By increasing the supply of more sustainable accommodation options, we are also enabling travelers to make more mindful travel choices. This ultimately benefits the places we visit, the people who live there and the planet.”
The development of these courses reaffirms Booking.com’s long-term commitment to enabling ongoing education for its accommodation partners and the advancement of the broader travel industry towards a more sustainable future. In fact, in the third European Accommodation Barometer, published by Booking.com and Statista, European hoteliers indicated better access to knowledge (27%) and additional training (25%) as key elements that would facilitate the adoption of a more sustainable operating model.
“Education and skills development are the foundations for building a more sustainable tourism sector,” said UNWTO Executive Director Natalia Bayona. “UNWTO looks forward to working with Booking.com to enable accommodations everywhere to benefit from the wide range of resources available through the UNWTO Tourism Online Academy.”
In 2021, Booking.com launched its Travel Sustainable program to support its accommodation partners in taking the next steps to become more sustainable. Since then, more than 1.4 million properties have shared sustainability related data with Booking.com. The four online courses announced today form part of a larger initiative to raise awareness for accommodations on why adopting more sustainable practices is beneficial for their business, guests, environment, and local community.