Explore Not Exploit with One Planet Rating
As the startups review the preparatory material for next weekend’s Booster Lab in Barcelona, we introduce the next startup who champions sustainable travel, enabling travellers to hold the travel industry accountable for their footprint and inform future travellers on the most sustainable options. One Planet Rating is the first review platform for the sustainable tourism industry. Travellers rate hotels, restaurants, sights, activities, and even cities on factors related to sustainability. This can be as obvious as noting recycling practices to as complex as commenting on wages or labour standards. By giving a voice to consumers’ sustainability desires, One Planet Rating encourages businesses to strive for optimal sustainable practices, rather than settling for the bare minimum.
Richard and Johan filled us in on One Planet Rating’s background and their motivations for starting their business. This is what they said:
What triggered you to start One Planet Rating?
As frequent leisure and business travellers with strong environmental and social consciences, we were frustrated by the lack of easy-to-access and peer-based information about hotels, restaurants and activities focused on impact. We found the existing expert-based “green labels” un-transparent, and the eco-hotel/green restaurant niches too small and too narrow (in terms of offering and budget) to meet our needs. We had seen the exponential growth of Organic and Fair Trade across categories in food. We believed the time was ripe to make “green travel” a mass market phenomenon, using direct market feedback built around customer reviews.
What is One Planet Rating and what impact does it have on the travel industry?
A “Tripadvisor for Sustainability”, One Planet Rating is the world's first dedicated review platform for sustainable travel and tourism. With One Planet Rating, travellers can rate Hotels, Restaurants, Cities, Sights and Activities based on environmental, social and cultural impact factors. We empower travellers to search, rate and plan travel based on impact, anywhere in the world. Easy and fast to use, One Planet Rating is designed to cater to both novices and experts. You can rate easily visible factors such as the prevalence of organic food, litter free beaches or energy saving advice in hotel rooms, to more in depth issues like fair wages and local heritage protection. Every time you use it, you learn about other issues to rate for future visits. Aiming to create a Race to The Top, One Planet Rating enables a positive feedback loop or “flywheel effect”, where positive business practices and market feedback reinforce each other. It acts as a complement to certifications and a reality check from visitors. Reviews push service providers to constantly compete and improve, rather than settle for the minimum requirement, “check box” mentality of the certification model. We go far beyond the “eco warrior” and “eco hotel” niches, giving everyone the possibility to find and rate any hotel, restaurant, tourist activity or city from day one, and push them on their usual choices to do better on sustainability. We believe we can create positive impact on a much wider scale by getting “mainstream” actors with little or no effort on sustainability to accelerate their efforts, rather than trying to marginally improve existing sustainability leaders.
What recent milestones are you most proud of?
On the product side, we have developed our Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and reached over 3500 ratings in a closed beta test phase, all without any external funding. We launched officially in Stockholm on November 15th with an already fully subscribed launch event.
On partnerships, we have secured a commitment from Frost Digital, an outfit with global A-list clients, to develop our mobile apps as an investment in kind. This guarantees the quality of our app development process and brings in valuable expertise in the marketing of apps.
Last but not least, the team. We have grown our highly motivated team to 18 people (11 nationalities) with a hugely diverse base of experience and education, covering all the key skillsets for the current and immediately next development phase. This team is motivated primarily intrinsically, by the mission of One Planet Rating and the potentially huge global impact.
What prompted you to apply for the Booking Booster Lab in Barcelona?
Being selected for the Booster Lab meant a lot for the entire team, validation from experts, a chance to engage with like-minded entrepreneurs, access to mentors with invaluable advice and just a really awesome win that will help us go forward. In the bootstrapping stage we have the chance to supplant passion with financial resources which can help us accelerate further. Testing our assumptions, our ideas for business models, the rating system, our content strategy, getting a reality check on our goals and targets would all we welcome and much appreciated. We also strongly believe we have a great product on our hands based on user and partner feedback and want to show others want we have and what we can do. As founders, we are immensely proud of this team that has worked without pay and on pure passion and commitment to take us this far and securing validation like this means a lot to all.
One Planet Rating and the other 10 startups are joining us 1 week from today in Barcelona! We can’t wait to meet them and be a part of their personal and collective growth. Yesterday we introduced you to Nexto, the startup gamifying cultural destinations. Take a look back on the blog if you missed it!