A Introduction to Selling Sustainable Travel
Written by: Melissa on April 20, 2021
Have you noticed more green-themed marketing campaigns and news articles recently? Earth Day is celebrated on April 22, and the entire month shines a spotlight on eco-friendly initiatives. The travel industry has a major impact on our planet’s resources, and environmental responsibility is something that should be encouraged all year long. What do travel advisors need to know about selling sustainable travel?
What is sustainable travel?
On the surface, ecotourism might seem like a narrow niche in the travel industry. But the principles of sustainable travel go beyond the obvious nature-based activities and stays at jungle lodges. It’s a concept that can—and should—be applied no matter the destination or form of travel.
At a minimum, sustainable travel means looking for ways to lessen the negative impact on the peoples and places we visit. At its best, sustainability means using travel to have a positive impact on our environment and the communities we interact with.
How can travel agents encourage sustainable travel?
Learn about the practices and policies of your preferred travel suppliers. What efforts are they making to protect the environment, conserve natural resources, and support their local communities? These are great questions to ask during a site inspection or webinar. You can then mention these initiatives when presenting travel options to your clients.
There are other ways to increase environmental awareness among your clients. Provide options for walking tours and explain how to use a destination’s bike share program or public transportation system. Include hybrid or electric vehicle choices in your rental car quotes. Mention opportunities to give back to the communities your clients will visit, ways to support local artisans and restaurants, and chances to participate in environmental cleanup and preservation efforts. Provide tips for sustainable travel, such as bringing reusable water bottles and straws or wearing biodegradable sunscreen.
How can travel agencies adopt eco-friendly business practices?
Sustainability doesn’t just apply during travel, but it also comes into play during the day-to-day operation of your travel agency. Can you reduce the quantity of physical brochures, marketing materials, and paper records kept in your office? Replace them with virtual or cloud-based versions, and be sure to recycle your unused paper items.
Before printing travel documents, ask your clients if they are comfortable using e-docs instead. Switch to energy-efficient lighting options and shut down electronics when not in use.
When it comes to sustainable travel, combining many small actions yields a large overall impact. Together we can help preserve the beauty and diversity of our planet’s amazing destinations!