"Many travelers don’t know how to go green or where to start."
Quote from Katie Anderson, executive director of insight, and Alli Bolger, insight director, at Colle McVoy in an article on PhocusWire this week on evolving destination marketing.
Each Friday, PhocusWire dissects and debates an industry trend or new development covered by PhocusWire that week.
While it’s been on the agenda for many travel brands for some time now, sustainability has grown into even sharper focus since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With travel ground to a halt and drastically fewer customers to serve, travel brands and destinations had a rare opportunity to rethink their operations and their impact moving forward.
And, really, what could be more noble than trying to save the planet?
For all their efforts – and yes, sustainability is indeed an active priority for many players in the ecosystem – there remains a disconnect about what sustainability truly means and how that translates to traveler behavior.
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As Booking.com’s 2020 Sustainable Travel Insights report states, 82% of travelers think sustainable travel is important and 72% believe that travel companies should offer customers more sustainable travel choices.
However, according to National Geographic, only 15% of adults are sufficiently familiar with what sustainable travel actually means.
Before consumers can adequately understand what it means to travel sustainably – and understand at a practical level what they’re being asked to pay for or modify in terms of behavior – travel brands first need to more closely examine the agenda they’re pushing and why.
Critically, they need to establish and promote their efforts now. If consumers are identifying sustainability as important, there is no better time to capitalize on that sentiment.
With travel roaring back, travel brands risk missing a key opportunity to follow through on their promises to both their businesses and customers. By not acting urgently, “business as usual” lurks awfully close behind.
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