The recent debate about the development of a greener hotel industry between TripAdvisor, the leading travel review website, and Nordic Choice Hotels’ and Rainforest Foundation Norway’s collaborative sustainability campaign, DearTripAdvisor, has unfolded via the news outlet, IceNews.
The sustainability campaign, DearTripAdvisor, was first publicised via IceNews on 30th October 2014, and has since then, ignited a debate between Nordic Choice Hotels and TripAdvisor.
According to DearTripAdvisor, the campaign is encouraging TripAdvisor to include a sustainability rating, giving guests the opportunity to rate a hotel based on its environmental efforts, such as using only organic products, the measures taken to cut CO2 emissions, the reduction of chemicals and water usage, and minimising food waste.
DearTripAdvisor believes that if a sustainability rating choice was implemented, then all hotel operators across the world would have to change the way they develop and run hotels in order to reach the top spot, thus having a significant impact on the planet.
Following this, Jenny Rushmore, Marketing Manager at TripAdvisor, brought to IceNews’ attention the sustainably initiative, GreenLeaders, which has been running since 2013. Rushmore explains regarding the GreenLeaders program:
TripAdvisor GreenLeaders is the largest environmental rating program of its kind in the world. The program highlights hotels and B&Bs with green initiatives to TripAdvisor’s 315 million monthly users. It helps hotels spread the word about their sustainability programs for free and we have had a very positive reaction from the industry. In addition, GreenLeaders helps travelers make greener travel decisions, by clearly labeling GreenLeader properties and providing a “green filter” that travelers can use to select just GreenLeader properties. When a traveler comes to write their TripAdvisor review, we ask them questions about the green initiatives of the hotel, which are then displayed on the hotel’s review page and their candid feedback helps advise other travelers on the site.
Nordic Choice Hotels and Norwegian Rainforest Foundation believe that TripAdvisor should change its approach and allow the millions of users to rate hotels for their sustainability efforts. Here is what Simen Vinge, Director of Marketing for Comfort Hotel and spokesperson for the DearTripAdvisor initiative had to say:
Claiming GreenLeaders works as an alternative to the DearTripAdvisor proposal is incorrect. A mere 0.8% of hotels on TripAdvisor have chosen to be rated on sustainability. Adding the seventh indicator would make 100% of hotels directly accountable to customers, and force them to rethink their environmental responsibility.
TripAdvisor’s legitimacy lies in a rating system based on uncensored public opinion. The fact that applying hotels are subject to expert review, rather than customer evaluation, contradicts the democratic philosophy on which TripAdvisor is built.
Olafur Kr. Olafsson