In Trends

It’s no secret that there’s been much to-do about the ways in which businesses have left a larger-than-life footprint on the environment, especially in the travel and tourism industry. Consumers have noticed, and according to recent research*, they are making their buying decisions accordingly:

  • 90% of Americans state that companies should be mindful not only of their profitability, but also of their impact on the environment and society.
  • More than 50% say they would be more likely to select an airline/rental car/hotel that uses more environmentally friendly products and processes.
  • 54% assert they would be more likely to patronize hotels or resorts that they knew practice environmental responsibility.

With statistics like these, it would be a mistake to ignore the need for sustainable practices in your business. Check out some of the ways in which thinking green can boost your bottom line.

  1. Distinguish yourself. Step out from the competition by showing travelers how your environmental concern is a step above the rest. By offering sustainability initiatives not offered by others in your competitive set, you can position your brand as a leader in this area.
  2. Target ethical consumers. 35 million Americans are Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) consumers.* They tend to gravitate toward activities, products and services that are environmentally and socially conscious. By aligning your offerings with the values of these consumers, you can open up your target reach.
  3. Consider carbon offsets. The consumption of natural resources and the generation of waste all cause carbon dioxide emissions and, ultimately, global warming. By offering carbon offsets (solutions for maximizing energy efficiency and reducing emissions), you can make your business a greener option for discerning consumers.
  4. Tap into travel philanthropy. This movement comprises conscientious travelers and travel companies that donate time, money and patronage to protect the natural environments they visit. It also includes voluntourists, or travelers who visit a destination to take part in local volunteer projects. Think about partnering with some of these organizations to open up avenues for untapped market growth.
  5. Get certified. A great way to market your brand is to advertise your accomplishments—especially with regard to sustainability efforts. Take the steps necessary to secure environmental certifications from respected organizations, so you can boast your credentials to the public.

”*Trends in Sustainable Travel and Tourism,” GreenMoney Journal, Winter 2011/2012

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