ASTA Sustainable Travel Presentation
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ASTA Sustainable Travel Presentation

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The marketing advantage of the sustainable travel niche is the growing desire of consumers to “do well” while vacationing and traveling. That desire to “do well” has gone mainstream with the......

The marketing advantage of the sustainable travel niche is the growing desire of consumers to “do well” while vacationing and traveling. That desire to “do well” has gone mainstream with the National Geographic estimating as many as 55-65 million U.S. tourists can be classified as geotourists, and geotourists spend 75% of the money spent on tourism. Understanding the basics of sustainable and socially-responsible travel can set you apart from other agencies and gain you more affluent clients.

The presentation addresses the ABCs of sustainable travel: 1)What defines a travel products as sustainable as well as socially-responsible, 2)how agents can confirm the sustainability of a travel product and 3) how to market consumers. Further, ASTA’s green program will be explained as well as the contents of the expanded ASTA Green Guide for Travel Agents.

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  • 1. Gain a Marketing Advantage Through Promoting Sustainable Travel ASTA Webinar - March 13, 2014 Melissa Teates ASTA Director of Research
  • 2. Why Sustainable? Why Now? Its a good time to make changes that will help you succeed: 1. Assess your internal operations and make environmentally friendly changes that can translate into operational savings. 2. Help your clients travel in a more sustainable manner and use less resources, support local communities and strengthen destinations for future travelers. 3. Sustainable travel has become less of a niche and more expected for many consumers. 4. It’s a way to differentiate yourself from competitors. 2
  • 3. What Are We Covering Today? 1) Definition of a sustainable travel product. 2) Confirming the sustainability of a travel product. 3) Marketing to consumers who want to travel sustainably. 4) Overview of ASTA’S Green Program and updated Green Guide 3
  • 4. Defining a Sustainable Product 4
  • 5. What is “Green Travel?” Green travel refers to “….any travel activity or facility operating in an environmentally friendly manner.” 5
  • 6. What Is “Sustainable Tourism?” “Sustainable tourism is a level of tourism activity that can be maintained over the long-term because it results in a net benefit for the socio-cultural, economic and natural environments of the area in which it takes place.” 6
  • 7. Sustainable Tourism Joins Together Green with Social Responsibility 7
  • 8. Why is sustainability in travel important? Aside from the degradation of environment, tourism can also contribute to the degradation of a local culture and the destination’s very “sense of place.” Sense of place is the most valuable asset a destination has, and the travel industry has a responsibility to the local people to help enhance, not degrade it. Sustainable Tourism is in the best interests of the industry as well; the destination is the product, and without a competitive product, there is no destination. This is true across all segments even cruise. Most Cruises market by their port of calls not just the activities on the ship. Travel agencies and suppliers have the opportunity to be part of the solution to sustaining destinations for future travelers. 8
  • 9. Confirming a Sustainable Product 9
  • 10. Challenges for Sustainable Travel • The assortment of labels has made sustainability difficult to identify and define. We often see it referred to as green tourism, ecotourism, responsible tourism, and a variety of other titles. • There is confusion in the marketplace and a lack of clarity as to what sustainable tourism entails. • Hundreds of organizations are doing the right thing, but in many different ways. It is hard to compare apples-to-apples This is why the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) has launched a global initiative focused on a universal set of principles and a certification program. ASTA has been working with GSTC since 2005 on setting criteria for sustainable tourism. 10
  • 11. The Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria • Created with the input of experts, groups and companies from around the planet. • Define sustainable tourism in a way that is actionable, measurable and credible. • A minimum standard of sustainability for tourism businesses and destinations across the globe.
  • 12. Four Main Themes Organize the GSTC Criteria • Effective sustainability planning • Maximizing social and economic benefits for the local community • Enhancing cultural heritage • Reducing negative impacts to the environment. 12
  • 13. GSTC Certification Framework GSTC sets standards Certification Bodies become GSTC-Recognized -- CB’s can be non-profit, gov’t agencies, for-profits -- Travel Companies get certified as “sustainable” -- hotels, tour operators, cruise lines, destinations, sellers of travel -- 13
  • 14. First Database of Travel Products Certified within the GSTC framework Is Live 14 The Rainforest Alliance has developed the first database of products aligned with GSTC criteria: All hotels, tour operators, and other businesses on the site are either verified by the Rainforest Alliance, certified by third-party programs recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), or recommended by reputable organizations.
  • 15. GSTC Destination Programs Another good source for sustainable travel experience is GSTC’s destination program. It has been operating for a year and eleven destinations have begun working towards becoming certified as a sustainable destination. 15
  • 16. GSTC Accreditation Program GSTC recognizes standards and certification programs that are credible, transparent, impartial, and comply with the GSTC Criteria for sustainable tourism. Many standards and certification programs are working to become GSTC accredited. Having standards and certification programs become accredited is the first step to understanding how the programs relate for comparison and will identify those programs with the highest standards. 16
  • 17. The ASTA Green Guide contains sustainable checklist for all the major travel segments allowing you to benchmark products against each other. Checklists in Green Guide Also Provide Guidance 17
  • 18. 18 Marketing to Consumers
  • 19. More of the world’s 7 billion people are traveling…. 19
  • 20. …and Consumer Demand Is Growing for Sustainability 92% [of consumers] would buy a product with a social and/or environmental benefit if given the opportunity, and more than two-thirds (67%) have done so in the past 12 months. Nine-in- 10 global citizens say they would boycott if they learned of a company’s irresponsible business practices, and more than half (55%) have done so in the past 12 months. (2013 Cone Communications/EchoGlobal CSR Study 2013) As many as 75 percent of travelers want a more responsible vacation, while 66 percent would like to be able to more easily identify a greener vacation. (Survival of the Fittest: Sustainable Tourism Means Business 2012) The UNWTO reports that more than a third of travelers who favor environmentally responsible travel are “willing to pay between 2 percent and 40 percent more for this experience.” (Tourism in the Green Economy – Background Report 2012) •20
  • 21. There Is a Marketing Advantage The marketing advantage of the sustainable travel niche is the growing desire of consumers to “do well” while vacationing and traveling. That desire to “do well” has gone mainstream with the National Geographic estimating as many as 55-65 million U.S. tourists can be classified as geotourists. Geotourists spend 75% of the money spent on tourism. Understanding the basics of sustainable and socially-responsible travel can set you apart from other agencies and gain you more affluent clients. 21
  • 22. LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) A subset of the geotourists are the LOHAS. • LOHAS consumers focus on environmental friendly and healthy living as well as personal development and social justice. • Approximately 19% percent of the adults in the U.S., or 41 million people, were considered LOHAS Consumers at the time of the 2010 survey. This is based on surveys of the U.S. adult population estimated at 215 million. • LOHAS consumers have a higher environmental IQ than normal consumers, so if you target this group you must make sure your agency clearly understands the terminology of sustainable travel and has done its research. If not, you can find your agency labeled as a “greenwasher”, and the swiftness of word of mouth publicity won’t soon let you forget it. (LOHAS Online. LOHAS Background. Retrieved on October 10, 2013 from 22
  • 23. Marketing Green Travel If you market yourself as an expert in Green Travel you must make sure consumers will consider you legitimate. • First, you must be educated in ways to travel sustainable and you must set your own environmental and socially-conscious goals. The Green Guide can provide you with a solid foundation. • Second, publicize your sustainable successes and goals on your website and in your office. Give consumers a chance to ask you questions. • Third, educate clients on the value of a sustainable vacation by informing them of the easy ways they can help protect the environment plus support local cultures and economies. 23 Consider becoming an ASTA Green Member to show your commitment.
  • 24. Marketing Actions You Can Take • Create a “sustainability” or “responsible travel” section on the agency’s website. Provide information about sustainable travel philosophy and a glossary of terms that the general public may not be familiar with on your website. • Utilize social media to spread the word. Share your own stories related to sustainable travel and link to those of others. The more often content is generated on your website or blog regarding sustainable travel, the higher your website will rate on “sustainable travel” searches. Sustainable Travel International provided “Social Media Tips for Small Sustainable Travel Businesses” on their website. • Complete HubSpot’s “Inbound Marketing Certification,” which helps marketers to more effectively use Search Engine Optimization, blogs, social media, and other forms of content marketing to reach desired target markets. • Utilize ASTA’s consumer website,, by editing your agency’s profile to reflect a sustainable travel specialization. Provide detailed information regarding your sustainable travel philosophy, as this information is required by sustainable consumers. Simply adding that your agency is a Green Member is not enough – consumers must know you are committed. 24
  • 25. Tips for Marketing Materials When developing marketing materials try to minimize written pieces and use electronic means of marketing including email, social marketing like Facebook and Twitter, blogs, banner ads, etc. • If you need printed materials, minimize the footprint by following these steps: • Work with designers & printers early in the process to achieve the most environmentally friendly design. • Marketing pieces that use less paper when printed or are laid out tightly on the paper stock can save resources. • Minimize ink coverage by eliminating full bleeds or large solid ink areas if possible. Using less ink often means saving press time, paper and money. • Insist on FSC certified paper that has at least 30 percent post-consumer content and is chlorine-free. Office Depot provides a Guide to Buying Green to help in environmentally friendly purchasing decisions. • Use a printer that has electronic processes for receiving artwork, sending proofs, etc. • Make sure your printer uses waterless printing and soy or vegetable oil inks. 25
  • 26. Number One Marketing Guideline Avoid “Greenwashing” – FTC’s “Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims” • These guidelines should be reviewed before launching a green travel marketing campaign to ensure that the campaign is not deceptive to consumers. • The guidelines provide examples of how language should be used in environmental marketing claims. Ensure your campaign is not deceptive to consumers – Clear and prominent qualifications – Be specific – Provide clear comparative claims – Don’t overstate product attributes 26
  • 27. 27 ASTA’s Goals and Green Program
  • 28. ASTA’s Own Efforts to Be Sustainable ASTA is a charter member of GSTC and was a member of the precursor taskforce at the UN Foundation. ASTA currently serves on GSTC’s Market Access Committee. We are supporters of key programs that are aligned with our goals: 28
  • 29. ASTA’s Sustainability Goals • Recognize fight against global warming is of critical importance to future of tourism • Provide information on how to implement sustainable business practices to our members • Assist our members in providing sustainable tourism options to consumers • Conduct our own operations in a sustainable and socially-conscious manner. 29
  • 30. ASTA’s Green Program • An education and self-assessment program for travel agents. • The core of the program is the Green Guide, which provides an overview of green travel as well as a large section on sustainable operations. – There are sections on each travel segment (air, hotel, cruise, tour) with details what constitutes sustainable travel for that travel type. • Members who complete the self-assessment sign-off on our Green Code of Ethics, and complete the application become Green Members. 30
  • 31. ASTA’s Expanded Green Guide The Green Guide had concentrated primarily on the environmental impacts of travel. The new material outlines expectations for sustainable management, socioeconomic impacts, and cultural impacts in sustainable tourism. This aligns the program with the GSTC criteria for sustainable travel 31 GSTC Criteria are divided into four categories: •Sustainable management •Socioeconomic impacts •Cultural impacts •Environmental impacts
  • 32. Requirements for Green Members • Requirements for Green Members • Read the Guide • Complete self assessment for internal operations • Develop sustainability goals • Sign-off on “Green Code of Ethics” • Complete the application • Eligibility • Domestic and international travel agencies • Members 32
  • 33. Requirements for Suppliers • Requirements – Read the guide – Complete self assessment check list for internal operations – Sign-off on “Green Code of Ethics” – Submit CSR document • Eligibility – Domestic and international suppliers – Members 33
  • 34. Additional Information on the Green Program You can find more information at 34
  • 35. Finding ASTA data 35
  • 36. ASTA Website 36
  • 37. YouTube 37
  • 38. Slideshare 38
  • 39. Dateline ASTA Weekly 39
  • 40. For Follow-up Questions: Melissa Teates 703-739-6983 You can also contact me on LinkedIn. 40