by Laurie Baratti
originally published on Travel Pulse
Leading search engine company Google announced the integration of brand-new tools and features aimed at making it easy for consumers to identify sustainable travel options.
Eco-friendly waste management concept. (photo via iStock/Getty Images Plus/Petmal) – Travel Pulse
“To make that happen, we’ve created a new team of engineers, designers and researchers focused solely on travel sustainability,” Richard Holden, Google’s Vice President of Travel Products, wrote in the Google Blog. “Already, this team is working to highlight sustainable options within our travel tools that people use every day”.
Starting this week, users will see information about hotels’ and resorts’ sustainability efforts displayed when conducting their searches. An ‘eco-certified badge’ will now appear next to the listings of hospitality providers that are proven to meet the high sustainability standards of certain independent organizations, such as Green Key or EarthCheck.
For details about any given hotel’s sustainability efforts – shrinking their carbon footprint, reducing waste, increasing energy efficiency, conserving water, utilizing sustainably sourced materials, etc. – users can simply click on its ‘About’ tab.
Holden said that Google is working with hotel chains, such as Hilton and Accor, as well as independent hotels around the world to collect accurate information on their eco-friendly practices and make it readily accessible to the public. Owners who have eco-certifications or environmentally friendly programs they want travelers to know about can add the new eco-centric attributes to their Business Profile through their Google My Business account.
And, Google is focusing on more than just the hotel space, Travel + Leisure reported. It also plans to provide users searching for air travel with a carbon emissions estimate for each flight option. To do this, the company has just joined the global Travalyst coalition, of which founding partners Booking.com, Tripadvisor, Trip.com Group, Skyscanner and Visa are already a part.
The Travalyst initiative was created by The Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, in 2019 in response to public criticism over his and Meghan Markle’s use of private planes. In partnership with the coalition, Google will, “help develop a standardized way to calculate carbon emissions for air travel,” Holden said. “This free, open impact model will provide an industry framework to estimate emissions for a given flight and share that information with potential travelers”.
“All these updates are part of our commitment over the next decade to invest in technologies that help our partners and people around the world make sustainable choices”, Holden explained.