Google Is Helping Travelers Choose Sustainable Hotels With This New Search Option

The search engine will place an "eco-certified badge" next to hotels it has verified are making efforts to reduce their carbon footprint.

Sustainable hotel
Photo: Kenishirotie/Getty Images

Travelers will now be able to see information on a hotel's sustainability efforts while searching for a stay on Google, the company shared this week.

Going forward, Google will place an "eco-certified badge" next to hotels it has verified are making efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. To qualify for the designation, hotels will have to be certified by independent organizations like Green Key or EarthCheck, according to Google.

Travelers who want to learn more about what specific measures a hotel is taking (think: waste reduction efforts or using sustainably sourced materials) can click on a hotel's "about" section.

Google said the new search feature was introduced because "we want to make it easier for you to find sustainable options while traveling — no matter what you're doing or where you're going."

The search engine company said it was working with independent hotels and chains to gather information on eco-friendly efforts and would allow hotels with eco-certifications or sustainability practices they want to highlight to add them to their business profile.

The effort to underscore sustainable practices in travel doesn't stop at hotels. Google also allows travelers to see a carbon emissions estimate when searching for a flight.

The company said it was working to improve this feature by partnering with Travalyst, an initiative launched by Prince Harry in 2019 on the heels of backlash that he and Meghan Markle faced over their use of private planes. By joining the company, Google said it will help "develop a standardized way to calculate carbon emissions for air travel."

Across both the travel and hospitality industries, companies have recently made efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. On Wednesday, Marriott International said it intends to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 (including by reducing single-use plastics in guest rooms). And last week, British Airways flew a completely carbon neutral flight from London to Glasgow.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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