Eco Hotels - What is an Eco Label and does it matter?

The concept of sustainable tourism or sustainable travel has been gathering momentum fast and has become an increasingly popular concept within tourism industry. Since tourism is one of the fastest-growing industries worldwide, the demand for sustainable travel solutions is high. Everywhere in the world, eco hotels are springing up at a fast pace, but how do you know which ones are really sustainable and which ones just say they are green?

The new year has begun and we all know it is just a matter of time before the holiday blues kick in again. How about making 2018 the year to travel in an eco-friendlier way? We’re here to explain how to do that, and in particular how to navigate through (sometimes confusing) world of eco certifications and how to find the right eco hotels!

We, as responsible travelers, value green accommodations and sustainable experiences on our travels to new undiscovered places and these special gems. These days, there are more and more accommodations that work on their sustainability to provide a better future for the next generation.

Maldives BD

Green Travel and “Greenwashing”: What is Greenwashing?

Let’s start with the explaining what greenwashing exactly means?

According to the Greenwashing Index, a company that flags misleading ads and green claims, can be accused of greenwashing when it “spends more time and money claiming to be “green” through advertising and marketing than actually implementing business practices that minimize environmental impact.  In this case when a hotel calls itself eco but in fact has no environmentally friendly measures in place it is an example of greenwashing.

When reading this, how can you define which hotels aren’t greenwashing? One of our favorite ways to avoid greenwashing is to choose to stay at a hotel which has invested in minimizing their footprint and has worked hard to achieve an eco-label!

You can find more information about Greenwashing here

Chumbe Island BD

The jungle of eco-friendly hotels and ecolabels

Right now, there are over 200 ecolabels in the tourism industry.  Why so many? Some ecolabels run only in one dedicated country, some are covering the whole world. Some only work with a self-assessment based on a just a few criteria and with some you have to comply with rigorous standards and external auditing.  But all hotels that apply for a certification by one of these labels must comply with the criteria set by these ecolabels.  Most of them cover at least the environmental aspects like energy use and waste management.

But what are eco labels exactly and how do you know the hotel really works towards a more sustainable future?

An eco-label is a recognizable logo and certification that offers guidance to consumers to make eco-friendly choices. These labels are provided by organizations that identify products or services that have met an environmentally preferable standard. It is not always obvious what an eco-label means and there are a lot of different standards with varying levels of quality control around the world.

Sound confusing? It can be! The good news is that at, we have made a selection for you, so you know for sure that any hotels you see on our site with ecolabels have been verified for their eco-friendly claims.

We have teamed up 22 ecolabels to help us verify which hotels are working on their sustainability on different levels.   BookDifferent works with these labels under strict criteria, so that we can verify every hotel with an ecolabel. Every ecolabel that we teamed up with complies with these strict criteria? The rules that BookDifferent sets for the ecolabels are that they need to be transparent and work with onside third-party assessments. We have created a benchmark which compares ecolabels on the performance on the four pillars of sustainability: environmental sustainability, Economic health, Social equity and Cultural Vitality.  In a next blog posts we will tell you more about this.

Only then can BookDifferent can guarantee that you sleep in an eco-certified accommodation! For more information about our ecolabels visit

De Zeekoe Guest Farm BD

Let’s start booking

So, now you know how good eco hotels can be. To give you some more grip on what hotels can do when certified with an eco-label we will give you some examples. If you are staying in a hotel that is certified with The Malta Tourism Authority you are given the option to re-use your towels and bed linen. This ecolabel likes to promote the participation from not only the staff, but also the guest. These hotels are actively supporting initiative for local infrastructure and social community development including, among others, education, training, health and sanitation.

They help not only themselves, but also communities and the environment around them, and can play an important role in reducing the (negative) environmental impact of the hospitality industry. Now it is in our hands to start booking green and start helping the environment! You can you make the year 2018 awesome by booking a green hotel. The choice is yours!

For every green stay book your hotel at

The Rhodes’ Melenos Lindos Exclusive Suites became the first hotel in the world to be awarded the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) certificate. Owner Michalis Melenos, spent 13 years creating the hotel to look like a “small village” within Lindos. He used a local architect to design the hotel and worked with artists to create the hotel’s traditional mosaics and artwork “ At the Melenos Lindos Exclusive Suites they staff members grow in their private garden and orchard, where staff members grow fruits and vegetables that are used in the hotel restaurant. It also has a linen re-use initiative to reduce water consumption and a recycled waste program. “Melenos Lindos has been an incredibly positive influence on our community,” said Dimitra Adoniou, a Lindos community representative. “Not only does it blend into the existing infrastructure, but it also employs our community members and purchases from Lindian suppliers.” continue reading

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