“Sustainability means life for future generations and integrity for the current one”

Emilio Heredia, Papaya Playa Project

Welcome to the Bouteco report — a global, industry overview of the insight, innovation and inspiration shaping a sector that matters very deeply, both to us personally, and to the future of hospitality as a whole. Together with fellow eco evangelist and writer Holly Tuppen, I set up a social enterprise to celebrate the people and places inspiring positive change through boutique travel. With Insignia, we have surveyed hundreds of travellers and published Sustainability in Hospitality to pay it forward, and to shine a light on the humans and hotels making our world a better place.

Trust, transparency and integrity are the hallmarks of a forward-thinking, Bouteco way of travelling and we aim to help hoteliers and consumers make better-informed choices. Sustainability can be a compost heap of complicated and nuanced information. Let’s #StopThinkDiscuss what matters, cut through the greenwash and make hospitality a force for good. Just as the word ‘luxury’, has been abused and overused, ‘sustainability’ is a term at risk of becoming meaningless. Say it out loud: ‘sus-tain-a-bil-i-ty’ — those lumbering polysyllables hardly conjure the warm and fuzzy feeling we want from a holiday.

Having coined the term ‘bouteco’ a few years ago to describe the rare breed of design hotels doing good, I wanted to 'sex up' the sector, making it more than a buzzword and make the vernacular and charisma around eco chat less lecturing and more engaging. Inertia, our wallets and our consciences all wrestle when it comes to purchasing decisions. Cynics maintain that consumers simply match their self-interests to available rates. As loss aversion and a FOMO culture see holidaymakers chasing the best deal, join us in reprogramming the world to understand what is genuinely good value. Marketers have long been assiduous in applying insight when it comes to influencing what we buy; we hope our survey's findings will spur all to proudly shout about sustainability stories and distinguish the stylish hotels with soul and substance. That heart-stirring feeling of booking a Bouteco-approved hotel may seem intangible but it's more enriching than many material benefits and physical comforts.

A sense of purpose and belonging — of spiritual reward, not just material wealth — are motivating customers more and more. With so many manipulative algorithms at play, we still believe in word of mouth as the biggest influence. The hotel landscape is not meritocratic — all hotels are not created equal — so we want to get the good guys noticed with our genuine, algorithm-free recommendations.

Juliet Kinsman

FOUNDER, Bouteco

Through Bouteco’s survey we were delighted to discover that ethical consumption is not the reserve of millennials; when it comes to travel, all age groups are turning towards more responsible and authentic experiences. While industry bodies wrangle with the economic and political implications of global sustainable policy, it’s more important than ever for each player in the travel industry to be motivated and empowered to do their bit. Many hotels, organisations and individuals are working relentlessly to make travel a force for good, but there is still much to be done. We hope that our report persuades the luxury hospitality sector that there’s never been a more prudent time to implement and promote sustainable and social initiatives. Not only for the sake of employee retention and community wellbeing, but to generate better press coverage, more direct bookings and enduring guest loyalty.

Holly Tuppen




This report has been created in affiliation with Insignia, a strategic brand consultancy offering integrated strategy, design and communications services for hospitality, real estate, travel and tourism brands.
Learn more about them at insigniaworldwide.com


“Sustainability in travel — whether it is high-end luxury or budget travel — comes down to three key pillars: Environmentally-friendly practices: the green footprint aspects of reduce, reuse, recycle. Support for the protection of cultural and natural heritage: living culture such as dance, music, art, as well as historic monuments, archeological sites, and so on, and protecting natural heritage, such as biodiversity conservation, restoring wilderness areas. Social and economic benefits to local people: improving local livelihoods, poverty alleviation, respect for host communities.”

Costas Christ, Global Sustainability Strategist, Virtuoso and Senior Advisor on Sustainable Tourism for National Geographic