Study: Sustainability at booking platforms

The Centre for Sustainable Tourism (ZENAT) and the Institute of Digital Technologies for Communication (ITDxC) were commissioned by Bread for the World to investigate the extent to which digital booking platforms operating in Germany fulfil their corporate due diligence obligations and embed sustainability in their business practices. For this purpose, a total of 15 companies were examined with regard to their economic, social and ecological sustainability standards. The results show that most booking platforms pursue the topic of sustainability rather selectively and in some cases not at all. Where sustainability does play a role, however, a fairly comprehensive understanding of sustainability is often applied, covering topics such as climate protection, human rights and employee concerns.

However, there is often a discrepancy between the companies’ public commitment to more sustainability and the measures taken to live up to this commitment. For example, the study shows that 14 of the 15 OTAs surveyed have explicitly committed to equal opportunities and diversity and strive for gender parity in their management positions. However, training and support programmes for disadvantaged or vulnerable groups are much less present in the companies than one might assume based on their CSR commitments.