Audit preparation

Please select your property or group size below so you can view the correct resources, self-assessments and checklists for your property type.

Individual properties with a maximum occupancy of 1 to 30 guests per night

Individual properties with a maximum occupancy of 31 to 160 guests per night OR Hotel groups with a combined maximum occupancy of 31 to 160 guests per night

Individual properties with a maximum occupancy of 161+ guests per night OR hotel groups with a combined maximum occupancy of 161+ guests per night

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The 6 step certification plan

Whether this is your first audit or you are an experienced Travelife Member, we recommend you follow our 6 Step Certification Plan so that you are as prepared as possible for your audit and have the best chance of achieving Travelife Gold Certification.

I:  Appoint a Travelife Leader

Your entire certification process will run more smoothly if one person takes responsibility for it.  It is also a Travelife requirement that your business identifies an individual to take this on, and that they have enough time to complete their work.  In many hotels the General Manager or their assistant takes on this role, but it can be any person who has a broad understanding of your operations, has good relationships with department heads and is trusted by senior management to take on the responsibility.

II:  Involve other staff

We recommend that you form a team of relevant staff to help you through the process.  You will be spending time looking at things like laws, regulations and business documentation and we find that it is mostly the general manager (or their assistant), human resources and maintenance managers involved at this stage, although you may need to consult with other department heads.  You will also be reviewing your current systems and processes for energy, water, waste, chemicals and procurement.   We find that this primarily involves maintenance, food & beverage and housekeeping.    This team should be briefed on what is happening and should identify what areas of the Travelife Standard they will need to help with.

III:  Collect information and arrange access

You will need access to a variety of documents from permits and licenses through to maintenance records.  If the staff member leading your Travelife work is not a member of the senior management team, then you will need to ensure they have permission to access all of this information including things like payroll records.  You will also need access to all areas of your property so that you can assess how well you are already complying with the Standard.

IV:  Identify what you need to improve

Use the correct Travelife Checklist and Self-assessment document for your property size.  You can find links to these on this page.  You should make your way through these to identify what changes or improvements you need to make before your audit.  We recommend you turn this into a pre-audit improvement plan that lists everything you need to do and assigns tasks to specific staff, giving them deadlines to complete each task.

I:  Make an improvement plan

This should include a list of the Travelife criteria that you do not yet comply with and what actions you will take.  There are many tools in the Member Zone to help you with this process so make sure you have checked the criterion you need to work on in the Sustainability Toolkit.  How you write your action plan it up to you and we have provided an example below of one way you could do it.

II:  Implement your plan and monitor your progress

Here are some things we recommend to help you implement and monitor your improvement plan:-

Schedule time to work on your plan:  The Travelife Leader should set aside regular time to work on improvements.  Much of this work will rely on other people or departments, so plan meetings with the right staff ahead of time so they can set aside time to work on this too.

Keep senior management informed:  If you are not part of the senior management team then make sure you keep relevant senior managers informed.  They might need to authorise purchases, sign off policies or ask other staff to carry out tasks, so it is important that they are supporting this work.

Regular meetings: Add Travelife to the agenda of department head meetings so you can discuss the progress each department is making and plan upcoming work.

Seek general staff support:  See if you can add the topic to a general staff briefing (or to department briefings) so that all staff at your property understand what is happening and how to support your company's sustainability work.

Click here for more information about scheduling audits, and our online audit request form.

Download the audit day checklist to help you ensure you have all of the final arrangements in place before your audit English | Español

It is important to remember that Travelife use independent auditors who are free to decide the best way to audit your property.  That means Travelife cannot tell you what they will ask to see, who they will ask to talk to or where they might want to go.  We know that many Members fail on some of our requirements because of simple things like not being able to find documents or not being able to find keys to things like storage rooms that an auditor asks to inspect.  It is worth spending some time being prepared and here are our tips to help you: -

Answer emails promptly and accurately:  Your auditor will be in touch with you directly to reconfirm dates, times, directions and so on.   They may also have other more general questions about your property that will help prepare for a more smooth-running audit day.  Please respond to their e-mails promptly and accurately.

Know where to find documents:  Go through the Travelife Checklist and make sure you know where to find all of the documentation you might need to show.  The auditor is required to keep any information they learn about your staff and your operations confidential (except for disclosing information to Travelife for the purpose of writing your audit report).   Travelife are also required to keep information confidential and to store this safely as part of our Membership Agreement with you.  Therefore, the auditor we will not accept confidentiality as a reason for not showing auditors the documents they ask for.

Make sure you can access any area of your property:  You may not refuse access and they will not accept things like not being able to find keys or an appropriate staff member as a valid reason for denying access to them.  We recommend you spend time thinking about this before the audit.  For example, will they be able to access the roof to inspect solar panels or air-conditioning units?  Can they get into service ducts, boiler rooms, pool filter rooms and storage rooms?  Can they access a variety of guest rooms?

Staff interviews:   Your auditor may ask to interview staff without anybody else from your company present.  They are allowed to choose these staff at random and you are expected to make them available as soon as possible and provide a private area for the interview to take place.  You will immediately lose any Certification you hold and your Travelife Membership if we find out that any kind of threats or retaliation were made against staff in an effort to get them to provide false answers in these interview.

Have staff with the right knowledge available:  Your auditor may have specific technical and procedural questions about your operations that they will want to ask directly to people working in the relevant departments.  This could include housekeepers, kitchen staff, engineers, waiting staff, groundskeepers and so on.  We recommend that you make sure that staff representing all of your departments who know exactly what procedures they follow are available on the day.  Auditors will not accept staff absence as a reason for not providing evidence for a certain requirement.

Whether you are a new Member or renewing your Certification, once you achieve Travelife Gold you will receive an email from our Member Support Team.  We will tell you about the benefits and resources you are able to use to promote your sustainability certification.  These include: -

Travelife Gold Certificate:  This will be attached to the e-mail so you can print it in colour immediately.  Please remember that it is a Travelife requirement that this certificate is displayed in a public area of your property.

Travelife Gold Logo:  This will be attached to the e-mail along with the Travelife Brand Guidelines that explain how you can use it.

Travelife Collection:  You will be sent instructions about how to upload and manage your listing on the Travelife Collection. This is a website where travellers and travel agents can search for Travelife Certified properties.  You can use your listing to communicate your sustainability achievements to existing and potential guests.

Travelife Gold Plaque:   Due to the environmental cost of producing, shipping and disposing of Travelife Gold Plaques, we are discouraging their use.  Members who receive Gold Certification from 1st April 2019 may order them from us at an additional cost as part of the Gold Pack (see below).

The Gold Pack: This is available on request for Members who receive their Gold Certification from 1st April 2019.  It includes a specially printed and gold embossed certificate, a window/door decal sticker and a plaque.  The cost is €55 including shipping and in order to offset some of the environmental impacts of producing and shipping the pack, we will donate €5 for every pack purchased to WasteAid, a UK charity dedicated to waste issues in developing countries that lack good waste infrastructure.  ChainConnect Members and those that have had a Certification for 6 consecutive years (without it ever lapsing during that period) can request a Gold Pack free of charge from info@travelife.orgClick here for more information about the Gold Pack and for the online order form.