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Meet Travelife business development manager, Susana Baquero
Based at our London office, Susana takes care of potential and current Travelife customers in Spanish and Portuguese-speaking destinations.
Describe your role at Travelife.
I am responsible for managing the needs of my key accounts, which could be individual hotels, small boutique hotel chains or large groups. In addition to taking care of future and existing accommodation customers, I interact with current or future partners who want to improve their sustainability credentials. These organisations include tour operators, destinations, hotel associations, online travel agents and travel management companies who require assistance with identifying and certifying accommodation providers in their supply chain.
I act as the first point of contact for potential partners and run initial consultation sessions to explain the Travelife Certification process and address any specific questions relating to a hotel or chain. This helps individual hotels and hotel groups understand how we work and where we can support them.
An important part of my job is keeping up to date with developments in sustainable tourism and our partner’s activities by attending trade shows and webinars, where I also explore new collaboration opportunities.
How did you end up working at Travelife?
After obtaining a degree in business management in tourism, I worked with a number of tour operators and travel management companies in Madrid. I subsequently relocated to London where I have lived for the past 10 years, gaining valuable international tour operator and hotel experience in a range of operational roles. Over time, I became increasingly aware of the importance of sustainability in our industry and joined Travelife.
What is the best part of your job?
Raising awareness about sustainability within the travel and tourism industry, something that ultimately helps businesses make positive changes and improve. It is rewarding to see that our support helps Travelife accommodation providers achieve much better environmental and social impacts.
What is the most inspiring thing you have seen an accommodation provider do?
One particular hotel chain I worked with had no prior sustainability certification experience, but they made the necessary changes and were able to achieve certification in a relatively short period of time, something I found really rewarding. I also find it very encouraging that an increasing number of hotel chains are utilising certification at a group level via our ChainConnect programme. I often hear from these groups that this is the most efficient way to certify all the hotels in their portfolio and drive sustainability in their organisation.
What advice would you give to a hotel just starting on their sustainability journey?
Just take the first step! By starting small and gaining some quick wins, you will build your understanding and gain momentum. Once you are making progress and moving forwards, you are likely to realise that you are better prepared to improve your sustainability than you thought.
Many other hotels were once at the starting line, as you are now. They used our wide range of useful tools, guides, templates and case studies on the Travelife website to benchmark their progress and successfully achieve certification.
What one piece of advice would you give to a hotel that is already working with Travelife?
Communicate your goals and achievements widely. By doing so, you are raising awareness of sustainability with your customers, suppliers, staff and the industry. When other stakeholders become aware of the benefits of sustainability, they are more likely to take action themselves. You will inspire others to change through your own actions.
Susana's top tip for sustainable living
At home, we buy food that is locally sourced whenever possible to reduce our carbon footprint. We also reduce food waste by getting creative and inventing a completely new meal whenever there are any leftovers. Finally, we make every effort to be conscious consumers and avoid single-use plastics.
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