The importance of a sustainability management platform
In this article we will examine the benefits of a third-party sustainability certification and explore the features you should be looking for when choosing the most suitable one for your luxury villa operations. Lastly, we will give you a brief explanation of the QALIA framework and our certification management platform.
The value of sustainability certification
Interest in sustainability and responsible tourism continues to grow with countless industry insights showing that travellers are actively seeking out eco-conscious places to stay. However, their greatest barrier is that they have difficulty identifying those properties and often are sceptical about the sustainability claims made.
Having a sustainability certification which is actively promoted helps potential guests recognise the type of property which matches their values and preferences. It is important to choose a certifier that has a third-party auditor to demonstrate their objective adherence to industry standards and act as a testimonial to the high level and legitimacy of their services.
Another important factor to consider is greenwashing, when businesses claim to be environmentally responsible without having the evidence to back that up. Having a third-party sustainability certification serves as a safeguard against greenwashing and verifies your dedication to responsible tourism.
One of the other key benefits of being certified is that it makes a company more appealing to prospective investors who consider Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) risk factors during their decision-making process.
Therefore, becoming certified by a reliable organisation is a smart business decision that enhances customer trust, builds brand awareness, and puts you in a good position when seeking investment.
A sustainability certification is appealing to all your stakeholders including guests, property operations team, investors and media.
How to choose the right certifier
Choosing a reliable certifier is a crucial decision in an industry characterised by so many. For example, in the hotel industry, there are around 200 different certifications. Consequently, it is vital to choose a certifier who specifically understands your industry, meaning that the criteria you will be considering need to be relevant to your business.
You should also regard the certifying organisation you choose as a partner with a supporting team who will help you choose and implement sustainable actions which resonate with and reflect your brand identity, and make sustainability one of your brand pillars.
Ultimately, the key is to choose a certifier who offers the following:
- a thorough understanding of your industry
- a user-friendly platform with strong monitoring tools
- third-party auditors
- support to ensure a more seamless path to certification success
In summary, the certifier you choose should be a strategic ally who helps you easily handle the possible challenges of compliance.
The technology of a sustainability certification programme
When selecting a certification agency, the choice of technology they use plays a pivotal role in your decision-making process. A certification management platform is a key component, and its usability, interactivity, and information support are crucial considerations for luxury property operators. A user-friendly platform empowers you to efficiently learn, record, and report your sustainability data, simplifying the certification journey.
The right certification platform offers a holistic view of your sustainability progress, serving as a compass on your journey towards future sustainability milestones. Its adaptability to your unique needs, destination specifics, and team structure ensures a seamless implementation and certification process, reducing or preventing any unnecessary challenges along the way.
We identify five key points to consider when using such a certification management platform:
- Streamlined Data Management
- Enhanced Progress Tracking
- Tailored Sustainability Roadmap
- Simplified Reporting
- Invaluable Industry Insights
In essence, a well-designed certification platform is your ally in the pursuit of sustainability goals, guiding you towards a more responsible and eco-conscious future while aligning with your property’s distinct requirements.
Why choose the QALIA certification programme?
The QALIA framework has been set up specifically for luxury vacation rentals such as private villas, chalets, mansions, private islands and castles. The foundation of our framework is aligned with the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and considers the best practices in luxury hospitality from the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). Importantly, our sustainability certification has been created drawing on our team’s experience of luxury private accommodations and the principles of conscious luxury.
QALIA offers an all-in-one toolbox to manage and implement your sustainable practices through our certification
The four pillars of conscious luxury
Conscious luxury is a concept which dovetails seamlessly with luxury hospitality. It is based on offering guests the optimum experience whilst having a positive impact on the environment and local community. In this way, a property owner or operator will be part of protecting the host destination and investing in its future appeal to guests.
Consequently, the framework of our sustainability certification is built upon the Four Pillars of conscious luxury about villa rentals:
- Environmental Stewardship
- Community & Cultural Heritage
- Ethical Business Practices
- Guest Well-Being & Experiences
These pillars encompass 100 criteria from which our members can select to match their current and ongoing responsible practices. These criteria also act as a guide for future goal-setting spread over our three levels of recognition to help your brand progress over time.
The QALIA certification management platform
In order to provide our members with the simplest and most effective platform to manage their responsible tourism plan, we have partnered with AnCodea. They have built the QALIA certification management platform to meet the specific requirements of our members. In addition, the platform is designed to encourage members to improve their performance scores consistently and at their own pace, over the three levels of recognition: Essentials, Advanced and Excellence.
Another important feature of the QALIA sustainability certification is access to our bespoke support service with its comprehensive Knowledge Base and downloadable templates. This gives members support and guidance on each of the criteria within the Four Pillars of Conscious Luxury.
Regardless of your level of experience, our platform provides a well-organised and user-friendly toolkit to support your sustainability programme, giving or allowing you to:
- Access the QALIA full framework of criteria within the Four Pillars of Conscious Luxury
- Benefit from our comprehensive Knowledge Base for each criterion with explanation, real-life examples and relevant regulations in the EU and US when possible
- Upload and store your compliance evidence to validate your conformity with the certification levels
- Set up an action plan with task management and function assignment for long-term planning
- Interact with our support team for best practices
- Overview your progress in real-time during the whole process
- Review our external auditor’s report
- Generate an in-depth final report upon certification (export possible)
In summary, there are three main benefits to the QALIA certification process: saving time, real-time control, and reporting. You will save time thanks to the simplicity and speed of information gathering, retain control of the process and centralization of your compliance documents for the audit, and report on your progress and final achievements.
Want to know more?
If you want to know more about QALIA certification and our Management Platform, schedule a call or contact us via email