Why you want your rentals to appear in the Booking.com ‘Travel Sustainable’ filter

March 2024 update: if you want to be featured on Booking.com as a sustainable property, you must be certified by a third-party

Since writing this article, Booking.com has made changes to its sustainability programme. The “Travel Sustainable” name, leaf logo and levels will be removed from all listings on 25 March 2024.

Only properties with one or more third-party certifications (formerly Level 3+), will continue to be showcased. These properties who have been certified by an organisation like Sustonica will have a special label.  Travellers will be able to use a sustainability filter to find them. This new policy will significantly reduce the number of sustainable properties served up to travellers. Thus, this provides a compelling reason for property owners and managers to seek third-party certification.



You may have heard about Booking.com’s ‘Travel Sustainable’ programme and noticed the filter high up in the search options. More travellers are looking for sustainable places than ever before, which is why this filter is being given such prominence. Accordingly, Booking.com is totally committed to sustainable travel and was the first OTA to identify this trend and act upon it.

So, we are delighted to inform you of our new feature that allows you to synchronise your Sustonica badge with Booking.com. By using this feature, your property will be highlighted as a Travel Sustainable Level 3+ on Booking.com, positioning it at the forefront for environmentally conscious travellers



1. What do travellers think about sustainability?

Before we look specifically at how the Booking.com Travel Sustainable programme works, it is important to understand why this major OTA has such a focus on eco-conscious travellers. Every year they survey travellers and the Sustainable Travel Report 2023 questioned 33,000 travellers from 35 countries.

Here are some of the stand-out findings from these global respondents:

  • 53% say that recent news about climate change has influenced them to make more sustainable travel choices
  • The number of travellers who believe that sustainable travel is too expensive is reducing. A huge 43% willing to pay more for conscious choices
  • 74% want travel companies to offer more sustainable choices
  • 44% do not know where to find more sustainable choices
  • Travellers are taking sustainable actions at home, such as shopping with reusable bags, recycling and reducing single-use plastic
  • They have continued this responsible behaviour when on vacation by turning off the air-conditioning and lights as well as using their own water bottle

Over the years, every Booking.com Sustainable Travel Report has shown the growing interest in responsible travel amongst consumers. Now is the time to take advantage of this demand by greening up your properties. Do not get left behind.




2. What is the responsible traveller looking for?

Responsible travellers are increasingly expecting the places they stay to have eco-friendly practices in place. So, if you are not making it easy for your guests to recycle or reducing single-use plastic, they will not be impressed.

In addition to environmental initiatives and amenities, travellers are also concerned about the social side of sustainability. As such, they are looking for authentic experiences steeped in the local culture. Importantly, they want to have a positive impact on the community of the destination they are visiting.  They also want help to travel more environmentally by hosts highlighting alternatives to flying and alternatives to using the car whilst they are staying.

These desires of the eco-conscious traveller fit perfectly with the Sustonica criteria, which cover energy conservation, promoting the destination and community, waste reduction and water conservation.



3. Do travellers trust sustainability claims?

There is a lot of talk about greenwashing these days, and Booking.com asked travellers how they make conscious decisions. Interestingly, nearly a third of respondents are always on the lookout for brands that promote sustainability. When it comes to travel specifically, 65% would feel better about staying in a particular accommodation if they knew it had a sustainable certification or label. Furthermore, 59% want to filter their options for those with a sustainable certification next time they book.

Consequently, this proves why having a third-party validation by Sustonica makes total sense. Particularly as it is the only sustainability badge for vacation rentals recognised by Booking.com.


4. How does the Booking.com ‘Travel Sustainable’ programme work?

The ‘Travel Sustainable’ programme makes it easier for travellers to identify and book eco-friendly accommodation. Furthermore, it shows the OTA’s commitment to sustainability and rewards those properties who are part of this transformation. Booking.com has adopted the criteria laid down by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council in the same way that Sustonica has.

The requirements cover 5 key areas:

  • reduce waste
  • reduce energy and greenhouse gases
  • protect nature
  • use less water
  • support the local community

The programme is available to properties via the Extranet, and you will find a useful Travel Sustainable Handbook to help guide you on the 5 areas above. The programme has 4 levels of sustainability excellence, highlighted by 3 leaves on the booking platform. Having a certification like Sustonica’s will automatically put you in highest at level 3+. The algorithm gives prominence to these properties.



5. Get more visibility on Booking.com by having your rentals validated by Sustonica

The fact that Sustonica is now one of the recognised Partners in the Booking.com Travel Sustainable programme is another compelling reason to apply for our badge. Sustonica validated properties will appear in the Booking.com ‘Travel Sustainable’ filter with a level 3+, the highest level achievable and reserved only for those properties that have been externally verified.


“We are extremely proud to be the first dedicated sustainability badge for short-term rentals accepted by Booking.com. This collaboration will drive positive change in the industry and enable travellers to make sustainable choices effortlessly. Together with Booking.com, we are making sustainability a fundamental part of the holiday rental experience.”

Vanessa de Souza Lage, CEO of Sustonica


Being validated by Sustonica is a very simple process. You just take the test to see if you are ready (you need to achieve at least 20%). Then you can go ahead with the validation as an Owner or Property Manager.

Once you have achieved your Sustonica badge, your credentials will automatically be shared to your Booking.com listing via our because.eco API partner. In 2023, this integration is included within our annual fee for each single rental.

We are looking forward to supporting vacation rental owners and property managers all over the world to lead the industry to a sustainable tourism future.

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