All about Travelife Certification

Here are some of the things you might notice when staying at a Travelife Certified property. Click here to view the Travelife Checklist, the full list of requirements that hotels are audited against every two years. Scroll to the bottom of this page to see our answers to some frequently asked questions.

Systems will be in place to reduce consumption of energy and water.  Sometimes these are not obvious to guests because they involve things like sensors, timers and flow restrictors, but you might see signs or notices reminding you to save water or energy.

There will be a system to reduce the unnecessary laundering of things like towels and sheets.  For example, you may be asked to hang up your towel if you are happy to reuse it again, or to volunteer to only have your room serviced every third or fourth day.

If recycling is available in the destination you are visiting, you should see information about how to separate your waste.  However, don’t be too quick to judge if you do not see this as sometimes it happens behind the scenes.  For example, housekeeping might separate waste from rooms as they collect it each day.  Ask the property if you want information about how they treat waste.

All staff should be paid at least the minimum wage, there should be no labour exploitation or discrimination.

All staff are given regular training about how to identify and report suspected instances of child exploitation and abuse.  If you see something suspicious and you are not sure about reporting it directly to the local authorities, you should tell a member of staff at the hotel.

The property should be collecting feedback from guests and using it to assess if they can improve the guest experience.

The property will be supporting their local community through things like buying local goods and services, organising clean-up events, helping with a charity initiative, volunteering and perhaps even asking guests to support this work too.  

Guests should be able to easily find information about things to see and do outside the property such as shopping, eating out, nightlife, attractions, etc.  Guests should also be given any necessary information about how to respect the local way of life and any natural areas near the property.

If public transport is available and safe in the destination you are visiting, the property should make it easy for you to find out how to use it as an alternative to private taxis or cars.

There should be aspects of local culture and heritage respectfully incorporated into the guest experience.  For example, some local dishes on the menu, local artwork and so on.  However, any indigenous peoples must have been consulted about how their culture is represented and all cultural intellectual property rights must be respected.

The property should not be selling, displaying or offering anything made from endangered species or anything harvested from the wild unless they have an appropriate permit or license to do so.  The same applies for any items of cultural or historical significance such as antiquities.

We discourage any activities or attractions involving animals, but if there are any at the property then they should meet ABTA’s animal welfare requirements that you can read here.

You should be able to easily find information about the property’s sustainability work and, if they have been Travelife Certified for more than 1 year, information about their sustainability performance.  For example, they might publish a policy or report on their website or put it in their guest app.

Frequently asked questions

In the world of sustainability, certification means that an organisation, building or operation has been independently verified that they comply against a set of requirements or performance indicators.  This compliance is verified by a certification body.  Travelife is a certification body for accommodation but there are other types of certification bodies such as Rainforest Alliance who certify products like coffee or MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) who certify seafood.

We have a very comprehensive set of 163 requirements that all hotels, anywhere in the world, must comply with 100%.  The only exceptions are that we have slightly less requirements for small properties and there are some things that hotels do not have to do on their first audit.  If you click here you can download our full list of requirements in English, Spanish, Greek or Turkish. This is the same list that hotels use to prepare for their Travelife audit but there is a lot to read through!  Here is a summary of the different areas accommodation providers must address:

  • Minimise their environmental impacts and protect biodiversity
  • Treat their staff fairly
  • Respect and protect human rights
  • Safeguard children
  • Protect the welfare of animals
  • Be responsible members of their community
  • Proactively work to improve their community

Travelife have a global team of independently contracted auditors who conduct a full audit of each property. They must find evidence that the hotel complied with every requirement on the Travelife Checklist and they do this by reviewing documents, interviewing staff and physically inspecting things like laundry rooms, pool filter rooms, rooftops, pipes, kitchens, guest rooms and so on. 

When their audit is completed, the auditor submits a report to the Travelife Certifications, Compliance and Quality Control team in London.  The report has comments against every question stating what evidence they found and what was missing (non-compliant).  It is quality checked by Travelife to make sure it has been completed correctly and to ensure that Travelife certification specialists agree with the auditor’s conclusions.  Sometimes we ask for more explanations from the auditor or further evidence from the property, who has 6 months to make any required improvements that were identified during the audit.

Once Travelife is satisfied that the property is compliant with 100% of the questions on the checklist, they are  Travelife Certified.

Travelife Certification is valid for 2 years from the date of the last audit.  The audit must be repeated every 2 years to maintain certification.

When properties join Travelife they agree to a set of terms and conditions and one of those conditions is that they maintain compliance with the Travelife certification requirements at all times.  If we find that has not happened then we reach out to the property and ask them to correct the issue. They are given a deadline and if this is not met their certification is withdrawn.

Unfortunately it is impossible for us to constantly check for compliance so if you see something at a Travelife Certified property that you think is in breach of our requirements, please let us know.  You can use this feedback form that is always available on the front page of this website.  However, if you believe that someone is in danger or that the law is being broken, please report this issue to the local authorities in the first instance.

We are proud to work with everything from tiny guesthouses to mega-resorts!  Whilst the bulk of accommodation we work with falls into the hotel and resort category, we are always interested in expanding the type of properties that we work with and do our best to never turn away any type of property, anywhere in the world, that wants to be more sustainable.

Although we require 100% compliance to the Travelife Checklist, our auditors are able to mark certain requirements as ‘non-applicable’ based on local conditions and/or allowances are made about the type of evidence we require.  For example, if recycling is not available in a destination we will still ask a property to monitor their different waste streams so they can see if they are reducing the volume of waste they put into landfill, and we will make sure they are not dumping this waste in a way that harms people or biodiversity.

The hotels themselves cover the costs and you can click here to see our prices and inclusions.  One thing that sets us apart is our low fees and the fact that there are no hidden costs such as auditor fees and auditor travel.  We also don’t sell additional products to hotels such as consulting.  

Travelife properties have access to an online ‘Member Zone’ where they can find a wide range of tools and resources to help them learn more about accommodation sustainability and to comply with specific requirements.  These include e-learning modules, step-by-step guides, templates, examples and self-assessments.  Everything is available in English and Spanish, with most resources also in Greek and Turkish.  We also have a customer support team who can answer any specific questions they have.

More information for accommodation providers

Please visit our main website at www.travelifestaybetter.com that is especially for individual properties and groups interested in becoming Travelife Certified.  There you will find detailed information about Travelife certification, our pricing, inclusions, our trial membership product and much more.

More information for travel companies

You might be interested in a Travel Trade Support subscription, a low-cost online product (free for ABTA Members)  designed for travel companies wanting regular access to a downloadable spreadsheet containing our latest list of certified properties. 

We have a more comprehensive package for those who wish to proactively work with us to increase the volume of certified accommodation in their portfolio. Click here to find our more at our main website.

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