Our Rating system was based on the four Ecoclub Ecotourism Criteria, the GSTC Industry Criteria, the European Union Ecolabel Criteria for Tourist Accommodation and, last but not least, the collective wisdom of our Members! The ECOCLUB® Rating™ process kept evolving but from day 1 our aim was to (a) avoid all conflicts of interest and (b) minimise our rating system's environmental footprint. The whole process was paperless, it was completed online and ratings were determined in a transparent and direct democratic manner: a public vote by Ecoclub Members. The Ecoclub Team did not receive a remuneration for the Rating and was not at all involved in determining it.
The process was as follows:
STEP 1: Invitation/Expression of Interest
ECOCLUB® Rating™ was offered for free and by invitation, to eligible, quality, eco-friendly hotels, lodges and similar accommodations.
STEP 2: Rating Questionnaire Completion
Eligible applicants were then asked to complete a Rating Questionnaire to the best of their ability and explain in detail, providing pictorial and video evidence, how they meet our criteria.
STEP 3: Rating Page Preparation
On receipt of the answers, we used the Rating Questionnaire replies to prepare the Rating Page. We reserved the right to edit text and images for clarity & space but we will never altered or enhanced/improved replies. It was the responsibility of the applicant to collect and present all the necessary information and evidence.
STEP 4: Member Voting
The ECOCLUB® Rating™ was then determined by a public Member Vote. We asked Ecoclub Members who had been Members for at least 1 Year to review the Rating Page within 60 days and to offer a Rating by email. We asked each Member to vote using the following method: each criterion section in the Rating Questionnaire is of equal weight. The maximum rating score that could be awarded in each section is 4, and the minimum 0; when a criterion was fully met, 4 points should be awarded, 3 points when it was almost met, 2 points when it was partly met, 1 point when it was not met but an effort was being made, and no points at all if it was not met and no apparent effort was being made. The average of all ratings received was then calculated and became the ECOCLUB® Rating™ for this property. The maximum rating was 4 out of 4. The Ecoclub Team did not vote. Ecoclub Members who had a conflict of interest (such as a professional or other relationship with the applicants) were advised not to vote. When the 60 day Rating period had passed and if at least 30 Members had rated and if the average rating was at least 2 out of 4 the facility would be recognised as an Ecoclub Rated Ecolodge. If fewer than 30 Members had voted, then the voting period would be extended until at least 30 Members had rated. A personalised Logo would then be produced and it had to be prominently displayed on the business's own website and linked to the business's Ecoclub® Rating™ Page for verification purposes.
Terms & Conditions:
1. We reserved the right not to accept an ECOCLUB® Rating™ Application for any reason, including if we felt a business or accommodation facility was not compatible with the Ecoclub Philosophy, and/or to withdraw a rating if credible evidence which contradicts claims in the rating application emerges, and/or to suspend the Rating Process if there was a significant change in the business details or surrounding area circumstances (e.g. war, civil unrest or violence), or if the business ceases to operate or is sold to new owners. (The new owners are welcome to start a new rating application).
2. Applicants operating, promoting or closely associated with captive wild animal displays and nature-consumptive leisure activities such as 'recreational' hunting were not eligible.
3. If an accommodation facility was currently up for sale it was not eligible for a rating. If it was put up for sale during the rating process, the rating process will be cancelled.
4. Applicants did not have the right to veto or to request that their ECOCLUB® Rating™ Page be hidden if they found it unfavourable. All Rating Pages were (are) permanently displayed. When there was a new ECOCLUB® Rating™ for a property, the old Rating Page would also be displayed for comparison purposes.
5. We reserved the right to suspend or withdraw an ECOCLUB® Rating™ and/or a corresponding listing in Ecoclub Rated Ecolodges Directory if (a) credible evidence which contradicted claims in the rating application emerged, (b) if there was a significant change in the facility details or surrounding area circumstances (e.g. war, civil unrest or violence) (c) if the personalised Rating Logo was not displayed on the business's own website and linked to the corresponding Rating page (d) if the business ceased to operate or (e) it was under new ownership. Applicants could request a new rating one year after the previous Rating completion date.
6. ECOCLUB S.A. does not guarantee any benefit or accept any liability related to the ECOCLUB® Rating™ process or to a favourable or unfavourable ECOCLUB® Rating™.