Interview with Hostelworld Group on the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative
Question (Q): Why is committing to tackle plastic pollution important to you?
Answer (A): Our customers are passionate about the environment – our recent survey shows that most travelers (63%) believe companies should be doing more to help customers travel sustainably. We are committed to building a better world for our customers, employees and hostel partners and this is a great step towards achieving this.
Q: What are the benefits of including your commitment to sustainability and more specifically circular economy of plastics when communicating with potential visitors?
A: Our recent survey shows that 92% of hostel guests would happily pay more to stay in accommodation that cares for the environment. Encouraging our hostel partners to be more sustainable and reduce their plastic consumption caters to our customers' requirements.
Q: Where did you start from and what are your next steps to implement a circular economy of plastics?
A: Many of our hostel partners are already taking steps to be more sustainable. As a leading OTA for the hostel industry, our role as a facilitator is to help share information, resources and advice with our hostels partners to enable as many hostels as possible to make steps to reducing their plastic consumption.
Q: Do you have an interesting example/project that you want to share with us?
A: Working together with our hostel partners that have already become signatories and other eco-hostels, we are developing a go-to handbook to help any hostel easily identify ways to reduce their plastic consumption.
Q: What challenges have you been confronted to in your implementation/promotion of circular economy of plastics and how did you manage to overcome them?
A: A major challenge for us is that hostels and the travel industry have been badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, which has also impacted their ability to focus on becoming more sustainable. However, as the travel industry begins to recover, we hope to see more of our hostel partners prioritising sustainability.
Q: Where do you stand so far with the implementation of your GTPI commitments (shortly)?
A: Currently we've encouraged 13 of our hostel partners to become official signatories of the GTPI, with a further 27 hostels in the final stages. Now that travel restrictions begin to ease and hostels are reopening their doors, we'll restart these conversations to encourage as many more hostels to sign up as possible.
Q: How do you engage with your partners to encourage them to commit to GTPI, but also to showcase their GTPI commitments?
A: We've hosted multiple webinars and sent regular emails to showcase the GTPI. We are also developing a go-to handbook to share with hostel partners to offer new strategies on how they can eliminate unnecessary plastics in their operations. The past 18 months has been very difficult for hostels, our guide aims to help hostels make even the smallest steps with minimal cost to begin making a difference.
Q: What innovative practices are you planning to implement in the future that could be inspiring to other online booking platforms?
A: We are currently working on implementing a new badge to identify eco-hostels and GTPI signatories, which will highlight to our customers the efforts being made to build a better world. As part of this year's HOSCAR (Hostelworld Customer Annual Ratings) awards, we introduced a new category to recognise the work of our hostel partners in Sustainability. The hostels shortlisted displayed innovative and tremendous actions in eliminating plastics from their operations and limiting their impact on the environment.
Hostelworld Group are signatories of the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, and this interview has been conducted as part of the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative newsletter, in partnership with Sustainable First. Click here to read more about their commitments, and here to read and sign-up to the newsletter.