Nick Ball offers insights into how your travel brand can promote sustainability in different ways to match your customers’ personal values.
As the sustainable travel sector continues to grow, more and more travellers are seeking out holiday experiences that align with their own values on sustainability. For some travellers, this could be as simple as reducing their use of plastics on holiday, while others choose to take a more holistic approach to all areas of their holidaying experiences – from what they take to where they stay – so ensuring you’re well-prepared to accommodate this will help future-proof your travel business both this year and beyond.
Relevant to restaurants, hoteliers and even private property owners, looking to source your food, furniture and other amenities locally will undoubtedly reduce the negative environmental effects that the transporting of such goods creates. By ensuring you look to work with local suppliers – whether this is in regards to food or furnishings – you’ll work to reduce the distance your items need to travel to get to you, eliminating transport costs and CO2 emissions in the process. As an added by-product, using local suppliers could also help to build a better rapport with those in the immediate area, bolstering your business’ reputation and brand awareness.
Be sure to let your guests know where such goods have come from and their relation to where they’re staying – making travellers feel more welcome and at one with their holiday environment. By locally sourcing items close to where you offer your services, you’ll be investing in the area and future-proofing both it and your business (indirectly) as a result – all while doing your bit to promote an eco-friendly ethos to visitors and residents alike.
REDUCE USE OF PLASTICS
Where possible, try to actively reduce your consumption of single-use plastic within your business. For example, if you’re a tour operator regularly taking groups of tourists for long scenic walks in the wilderness, be sure to prompt them to bring their own, reusable water bottle ahead of the trek. Conversely, for those who didn’t get the memo, start your trip off at a local shop that sells such items – encouraging your tour members to buy a reusable water bottle while giving back to the local community.
For hoteliers on the other hand, instead of leaving complimentary toiletries in your guests’ room which they’re likely to throw away once used up, provide visitors with reusable bottles which they can ask you to refill when in need of a top up. By buying toiletries in this wholesale nature, not only are you likely to save money, but you’ll be reducing your plastic waste and encouraging travellers to think about their own waste output, too.
CONSIDER SWAPPING TO SELF-CATERING
While providing fully catered services might make your accommodation stand out as the ultimate holiday getaway to prospective travellers, making the move to self-catered accommodation will encourage your guests to be more sustainably conscious during their trip away. So, whether you’re renting out a luxury Lanzarote villa or your guest house has a self-service kitchen area that your guests can make the most of out, by allowing your visitors to choose how they use water, local ingredients, heating and air conditioning you’ll be taking an active part in helping to reduce theirs (and your business’) environmental impacts.
In addition to this, for those of you offering a self-catered accommodation, that’s not to say that you can’t offer a transportation service to ensure your visitors are well looked after and content with your overall services. By working with other hotels and independent accommodation providers in the area, you’ll be able to offer group airport transfers that reduce carbon emissions compared to multiple taxi journeys while retaining customer satisfaction value too.
Still considered a niche market, sustainable travel is a rising trend worth investing time, money and effort into to attract a new generation of consumers that are likely to become the norm in coming years. So, wherever possible, it’s important to adapt your travel business to suit their needs and those of the wider planet – helping you to build your brand for longevity while doing your bit to reduce your business’ carbon footprint in the process.
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Over the past few weeks, the team at Reed Exhibitions Africa has had their ear to the ground, catching up with all the key players and listening to the travel industry’s needs, in this uncertain time. And, what they found was that the industry needs to connect with each other more than ever.
It is for this very reason, that Reed Exhibitions has revitalised Africa Travel Week (ATW). The rebrand promotes the beauty of the African continent and invites the “world to return home.” ATW comprises World Travel Market Africa (WTMA); International Luxury Travel Market Africa (ILTMA); EQUAL Africa; ibtm Africa; Travel Forward and the African Travel and Tourism Industry Awards.
Video: Africa Travel Week 2021
ATW will bring these premier B2B travel trade entities under one roof at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 7 – 9 April 2021. The event will be more important than ever for the industry to write business following a devastating halt due to COVID-19.
In parallel, ATW has been working very hard to bring you ATW Connect – a virtual hub bursting at the seams with interesting content, industry news and insights, and the opportunity to hear from experts on a variety of topics. “Events as we know them have been disrupted and we have been forced to embrace new solutions for our partners. Adversity often helps us to foster innovation and our current reality has prompted the rapid development of online platforms,” says Megan Oberholzer, Portfolio Director for ATW.
She goes on to say: “ATW Connect is full of information about how to survive – and grow – travel-related businesses at a time when at least 146 countries have imposed travel restrictions for the foreseeable future,” she says. “This means that 91% of the world’s population (7.1 billion people), currently live in countries where borders are shut, or only open for essential travel”.
Image: African Travel Week Connect.
ATW Connect will focus on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism; luxury travel; LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/Business Travel sector, as well as travel technology. A key aim of ATW is to provide ways for travel industry professionals to support each other and share vital information that will allow the industry to survive this tumultuous time – and be ready to grow the industry again when travel restrictions are lifted.
“We believe that ATW Connect will prove to be a vital digital resource for the industry, and will continue to serve as an important touchpoint that will complement ATW events, in future,” says Oberholzer.
The hub will feature four sections:
- Knowledge Centre contains must-read articles with updates and trends from key industry professionals and experts focusing on LGBTQ+ travel, luxury travel, business travel, responsible travel and travel technology.
- Industry Connect is a place to share positive news from travel professionals and will contain a library of videos from industry speakers and professionals, offering information and inspiration.
- Destination Focus keeps the travel dream alive by putting a spotlight on various destinations that form part of the ATW family.
- Armchair Travel showcases the beauty of Africa and ATW exhibitors’ incredible destinations and products.
ATW Connect, in collaboration with travel content and market agency, Big Ambitions, will host its first virtual series on Thursday, 7 April. Bring your brains and join the first in ATW Connect’s #INTHEKNOW virtual event series, which will tackle crucial problems the industry is facing, right now. Save your spot, here.
“What the current situation has highlighted is that nothing will ever truly replace the importance and benefits of face-to-face interaction – particularly in our industry. We hope that the portal will become a go-to resource for the industry to access critical information and share creative ways to remain relevant,” concludes Oberholzer.
To stay up-to-date and inspired visit www.atwconnect.com today!
For more information or any media related questions relating to WTM Africa, please contact RedLip PR: