By Aditi Mohapatra
Submitted by Expedia Group
At Expedia Group, we believe travel is a force for good. At the same time, we also recognize the environmental toll that today’s travel industry often has on the planet. Climate action is essential to preserving the many destinations our travelers are looking to experience. Sustainability is more than an accelerating trend for travel — it’s fundamental for the future of our industry.
Responsible travel is a key business imperative for Expedia Group. Among other motivations, our travelers are clearly demanding more sustainable options. In fact, terms related to sustainability and eco-friendliness were mentioned in traveler feedback twice as often last year as in previous years 1.
To meet our travelers’ demand and as part of our long-term sustainability efforts, last April, Expedia Group signed the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Travel and Tourism as one signal of our commitment. And in September, we launched our Open World™ social impact and sustainability strategy with the specific mission of advancing a travel ecosystem that is open, accessible, and responsible for all.
We are excited to share an update on our progress over the last year and outline our vision for what’s ahead.
BUILDING A PROSPEROUS PLANET
Our Open World framework places environmental sustainability alongside two other pillars of social impact — inclusive access and economic mobility — with all three driving toward a responsible future for tourism and for the people, places, and communities that make up global travel.
The Prosperous Planet pillar of our strategy is grounded in two commitments:
Expedia Group is committed to mobilizing its vast network of travelers, partners, and peers to empower more responsible choices.
SETTING A VISION
Over the past year, we’ve collected data and had critical conversations with many stakeholders as we create our first Climate Action Plan, set to be released later this year. Outlining our overall climate vision and strategy, the Climate Action Plan articulates six core elements that will guide our action over the coming years:
GREENER OPTIONS FOR A GREENER TRAVEL INDUSTRY
Collaboration is critical to our progress as an industry, and we must work together to innovate and accelerate meaningful change. Expedia Group is committed to empowering both travelers and partners to make more responsible and sustainable travel choices by providing needed insights, tools, and resources.
Travel is inherently place-based. That’s why our Open World strategy puts destination communities alongside travelers at its center – outstanding travel experiences require vibrant and resilient destinations. We are therefore proud to be partnering with the Travel Foundation to launch a first-of-its-kind capacity-building program for destination marketing and management organizations (DMOs), enabling them to lead the way on climate action in tourism and catalyze meaningful change at a local level. DMOs bridge the gap between the global and the local within the travel industry, and Expedia Group sees them as a key node for accelerating sustainable travel.
The program will offer practical training to DMO staff, creating “climate champions” that can apply a sustainability lens to strategic planning and decision-making. It will also support DMOs in creating their own climate action plans and offer peer-to-peer learning opportunities for destinations to share knowledge and insights with one another.
The program’s pilot cohort will launch over the summer. We're excited to name Destination Vancouver as the first DMO to sign on as a participant and look forward to scaling this work in the years to come.
With operations in 70+ countries and across 200+ travel sites, we interact with millions of travelers. We want to provide credible and clear information, including on sustainability, whether they be carbon estimates or indications of other eco-friendly attributes and practices of travel providers.
Trends in travel evolve, and we know that travelers are seeking experiences that are more than just about relaxation or exploration. We increasingly hear that travelers expect options in line with their values, with more information about the environmental and community impacts of their choices.
A report by our Expedia Group Media Solutions team highlighted that 90% of consumers look for sustainable options when traveling, though 70% feel overwhelmed navigating available options and on starting the process of becoming a more sustainable traveler 2.
Expedia Group is working to build trusted sustainability information for travelers into our products that align with industry best practices, including methodologies developed collaboratively between our peers within the Travalyst Coalition.
Product features being tested include displaying estimates of flight emissions, the sustainability practices of hotels, and electric and hybrid vehicle filters for car rentals. Some of these features have never before been available on our sites, and we are excited to continue innovating, evolving, and enhancing the sustainability information we provide to travelers.
Expedia Group is charting a course for a more sustainable travel industry. Our Open World social impact and sustainability strategy outlines our commitment, and our forthcoming Climate Action Plan will deepen our vision and roadmap for success. We will continue to collaborate with our peers, partners, travelers, and destinations across the industry to ensure responsible travel on a truly prosperous planet for generations to come.
Find more details on our plans and progress here.
1 Expedia Group, traveler reviews data, January 2021-January 2022
2 Expedia Group Media Solutions, Sustainable Travel Study, 2022
Expedia Group, Inc. companies power travel for everyone, everywhere through our global platform. Driven by the core belief that travel is a force for good, we help people experience the world in new ways and build lasting connections. We provide industry-leading technology solutions to fuel partner growth and success, while facilitating memorable experiences for travelers. The Expedia Group family of brands includes: Expedia®, Hotels.com®, Expedia® Partner Solutions, Vrbo®, Egencia®, trivago®, Orbitz®, Travelocity®, Hotwire®, Wotif®, ebookers®, CheapTickets®, Expedia Group™ Media Solutions, Expedia Local Expert®, CarRentals.com™, and Expedia Cruises™.
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