More businesses are now accepting the challenge to create a more fair, inclusive, sustainable and sustainable world in these times of transformation. Skift Research reported in its Sustainability In Travel 2021 Report that environmental, social, corporate governance (ESG), criteria have made steady inroads in the hospitality industry. They now make up a large part of many hotels performance metrics as well as investor criteria and business travel procurement.
While ESG criteria was a key consideration for investors, companies, and other stakeholders prior to the pandemics, Covid-19 has restructured priorities largely based on new consumer expectations, encouraging more companies to be more inclusive in their social, environmental, and diversity and inclusion efforts.
The momentum in this space has been driven by Hotelbeds, a wholesaler of Bedbank. They also offer a platform for inspired ESG/ sustainability initiatives. We are a global company with operations in more than 140 countries. As such, we fully recognize our responsibility to do all we can to protect the planet and the destinations we operate in, stated Aina Aguilo (Hotelbeds head of events & CSR).
All in for a Greener Future
Hotelbeds supplies products (rooms or transfers) to other businesses instead of directly to the customer. They aim to minimize any negative environmental impact through a combination direct action, partnerships, industry trade alliances, and direct action.
Aguilo said that we have ambitious targets regarding our environmental management. This is done by having strong, responsible, ethical policies and giving our employees the chance to give back to their communities through our volunteering program.
Hotelbeds was founded in 2018 and encourages all employees worldwide to get involved in volunteering opportunities. Aguilo stated that our employees feel a deep sense pride in giving back to the communities they live and work in. The commitment of our Online Volunteering Program saw over 500 employees worldwide participate, representing more than 2,000 hours of volunteer time. This year, Christmas volunteering initiatives were implemented in 10 offices around the world, with most of them being developed and led by our teams.
It’s a win/win situation. These activities not only make a difference but also help employees develop their personal skills which makes the company more efficient. Aguilo stated that Hotelbeds has a reputation for being a socially responsible business and that employees feel they are doing the right things. The positive attitude of our employees around ESG initiatives is a key driver for increasing internal commitment to the company and driving interest from potential new talent.
Green Hotels Programme
Hotelbeds’ Green Hotels Programme, an initiative to promote and identify properties that are certified as sustainable accommodation, is a key part of the company’s ongoing efforts to bring sustainability into the industry.
Aguilo stated that the Programme follows the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s standards and has more than 20,000 hotels currently accredited to it.
The criteria for Programmes are organized around four main themes: sustainable sustainability planning, maximising local economic and social benefits, enhancing cultural heritage, and reducing adverse environmental impacts.
It was created and launched quickly as a response to the Covid-19 crises when we realized that hotels and clients needed a way for them to shout about their green credentials in light changing traveler behavior.
Hotelbeds has received great feedback from its hotel chain partners, like Accor, as well from clients who are increasingly getting into touch with the group in order to find out more about the hotels and to work closely with them.
Both companies consider sustainability a key pillar. To better meet customer expectations, Accor joined the Hotelbeds Green Hotel program.
Market research clearly shows that sustainability is now a key criterion in customers’ choices, decisions, and desires when booking a night in a hotel,” said Accors Chief Sustainability Officer Brune Poirson. “Working alongside Hotelbeds allows us to monitor and respond to changing customer habits and to contribute to more sustainable behaviors. To meet growing consumer demand for hybrid and electric cars, we have been increasing awareness of our hotels by highlighting their electric charging ports. Hotelbeds has done this to promote clean and sustainable mobility.
Hotelbeds is an adjunct to Green Hotels Programme. It drives sustainable action through alliances that it has with key industry trade associations.
We signed up for Amazon’s Climate Pledge in February 2021, becoming the first B2B travel company to do so, said Hotelbeds Aguilo. It was a significant commitment for us because it showed the importance we place on climate change within our operations. Also, we figured that there was no hiding place once we joined forces with such an international leader.
It plans to add to this activity by increasing its carbon emission reporting (from 70% to 80 percent of the workforce), and to continue expanding the scope until it reaches carbon neutrality in the future, which is expected to happen by 2030.
Hotelbeds also has a Green Office Program. It sets emission targets, identifies the challenges and creates solutions.
Aguilo explained that although these may seem like small, simple steps, imagine if all companies around the world followed a similar approach. We would be moving faster to become net zero carbon by 2040.
Fostering Diversity & Inclusion
Hotelbeds has embraced sustainability and green travel in recent years. But ESG is much more than that.
We are committed to protecting human rights, the promotion and inclusion of diversity and inclusion, being responsible partners and employers, and fighting worker exploitation. Aguilo said that this is essential for any company with a global presence.
Hotelbeds is currently creating an Inclusion Strategy. It listens to its employees, empowers them to identify barriers to inclusion, and then puts in place measures to ensure inclusion and diversity throughout the organization.
Looking ahead to 2022 and Beyond
Green Destinations will be a key focus area for Hotelbeds in 2019. This includes partnering with accredited destinations (Valencia in Spain and New Zealand for example) that are striving to become green choices for modern travelers.
Tourist professionals and travelers will want to know the locations of these eco-destinations. Aguilo said that we should be ready to promote these destinations and include them in the product offering. We want to foster collaboration among our clients, suppliers, and volunteers so that we can amplify our impact by working together with them on the ground and contributing together.
Another area that is emerging is employee well-being. This is something the company considers crucial for not only fostering great performance but also as part of its responsibility to contribute to a healthier, more balanced society, especially after the pandemics.
These are areas that Hotelbeds is increasingly interested in and relevant to. This is something Nicolas Huss, our CEO, is particularly passionate about. . These areas of focus will be brought to life in 2022.
This content was created in collaboration with HotelbedsSkifts-branded content studio, SkiftX.