So, you recognize the bright future of ecotourism in the hotel industry, and you’ve acted accordingly:
- You’ve taken some steps to optimize your hotel for ecotourism
- You’ve taken advantage of all the many affordable ways to create a green hotel
- You’ve invested in the latest tech innovations to appeal to those coveted sustainable tourists
- You’ve even implemented some new hotel management software to tie it all together
Great—but how can you be sure those ecotourists will even know you exist?
We’ve compiled a list of five websites that can help you get noticed by ecotourists based on our research on the web of commonly used sites for sustainable tourists.
To make our list, a site must be primarily focused on ecotourists, offering hundreds of options to ecotourists, or more. It must also use a reliable method of determining whether a hotel is truly “green,” rather than relying on the individual hotel’s claims. They are listed in alphabetical order below.
Bookdifferent is a robust booking engine specifically designed for people who want to search for eco-friendly hotels.
With the demand for environmentally friendly travel increasing in recent years, Bookdifferent aims to help people separate the truly eco-friendly options from the hotels that talk a big game, but ultimately don’t meet the criteria to be considered environmentally and ecologically friendly hotels.
To get your hotel on Bookdifferent’s list, you need to have one or more of the following labels and certifications:
- Audobon International’s Green Lodging Program
- Biosphere Responsible Tourism Label
- Global Sustainable Tourism Council
- Green Globe
- Green Key Global
Bookdifferent also accepts some other regional certifications. For more information on that, visit Bookdifferent’s full list of eco-labels.
Once you’ve gotten one of these certifications, you can reach out to Bookdifferent directly through their contact form to request that your hotel be listed.
Eco Hotels of the World is a free online guide aimed at showcasing the most environmentally friendly hotels in the world. The site claims to be the most “comprehensive independent listing of eco-friendly hotels available today.”
The editors of the site personally select the hotels they include in the list, after ensuring they meet a particular set of standards.
The ratings are separated into five sections: energy, water, disposal, eco-active (taking environmentally friendly actions and educating their guests), and protection. Hotels are then rated between one and five stars for each category. The site doesn’t publicize what score you need to achieve, however. If you’d like to review what criteria they use, you can download the form they use to judge hotels here.
The site welcomes people to suggest hotels that should be included on the list, so if you think your hotel makes the grade, reach out to them here.
EnvironmentallyFriendlyHotels is another directory of eco-friendly hotels that features “thousands of green hotels around the world.”
It lists lodgings that are “committed to sustainable development,” and it includes everything from bed and breakfast lodgings to resorts. The directory also lists exactly what kind of environmentally friendly actions each hotel takes.
The site makes it easy to list your hotel by clicking the “Submit a Hotel” link on its home page.
That link takes you to a form with a checklist of what makes your hotel environmentally friendly in nine different categories: air quality, food, towels and sheets, education, solid waste, water, energy, supplemental, and extras.
Even the big dogs of the travel booking world are getting in on the ecotourism act. Expedia offers a “Green Hotels on Expedia” program that allows users to find green hotels that “balance environmental protection and social responsibility—without sacrificing your comfort.”
Expedia has partnered with Sustainable Travel International, a worldwide organization aimed at helping ecotourists find accommodations, to identify “green hotels that are pioneering green travel practices.”
Expedia doesn’t give explicit instructions for having your hotel listed as a Green Hotel, but it does offer a contact portal for hotel partners that you can use to inquire about being certified as a green hotel.
This probably should be the last site you reach out to, as it doesn’t offer any obvious way to search for eco-friendly hotels, and the green hotel links simply return you to the Expedia main page. However, it’s possible Expedia is building a database for a future expansion, so it may be worth getting on their radar as the site builds up its green hotels database.
The “Green” Hotels Association says that it is “committed to encouraging, promoting, and supporting ecological consciousness in the hospitality industry.”
To that end, the association compiles lots of water-saving, energy-saving, and solid waste-reducing ideas for hospitality managers that don’t have the time to figure it all out.
Members of the association receive the 161-page “Guidelines and Ideas” providing techniques for reducing a hotel’s impact on the environment.
The association even offers little things to hotel managers such as towel rack hangers and sheet-changing cards that asks guests to considering using linens more than once. There is a “green catalog” of products that can help make your hotel an ecotourist’s dream destination.
The association provides a list of member hotels where you can advertise your hotel’s green qualifications. You have to pay for a partner membership, which runs $1 per guest room plus $200 per year. As a member, you get a listing for your hotel that includes your logo or a photo with a link to your website, in addition to a bunch of other perks.
There is no indication on the site that member hotels must meet certain environmental criteria, but the listings for member hotels clearly list any relevant certifications they have.
How do you get the attention of ecotourists?
This is a solid—but by no means exhaustive—list of places to advertise your green and eco-friendly hotel. What websites do you use? Are there other ways you use to reach out to ecotourists that seem to resonate? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Or, learn more about marketing your hotel through Instagram or online.
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