Going green is on the rise and it looks like it’s here to stay! 87% to be exact. Don’t miss it, 87% of global travellers say they want to travel sustainably according to Sustainable Travel Report. “Sustainable travel” is a subjective term that has different connotations for different people and for almost half of travellers (46%), “sustainable travel” means staying in eco-friendly or green accommodations, Sustainable Travel Report notes.
This year in 2018 more than 68% of travellers intend to stay in eco-accommodation, up from 65% in 2017 and 62% in 2016. But most importantly one statistic published by Sustainable Travel Report that really should not be overlooked is that 31% of travellers this year have not considered eco-friendly stays because they were unaware of their existence. That’s right, if you as a hotel have a sustainable program, initiate eco-friendly actions, or support going green you are missing out on 31% of that potential market by not correctly marketing your sustainable values!
To understand what you can do to help gain that 31% of an un-tapped market we also need to consider the benefits of increasing your marketing strategy to an eco-friendly clientele.
To start, we all know how important loyalty is within the hotel industry. So, when I share with you that 64% of consumers say that their loyalty to a brand depends on shared values with the business, according to a study by Harvard Business Review; it becomes very clear that if you have sustainable policies and values as an integral part of your brand; you need to be using this to gain new loyal customers who will return and refer your hotel to their friends.
Promoting your sustainability will also help push your hotel brand as a market leader. The hotel sector is projected to sustain 5-6% growth throughout 2018 which means it is imperative that your hotel brand can market to the increasing demand of environmentally friendly alternatives, to help gain a competitive advantage.
So now we’ve established the current potential market and why you should involve your sustainability and environmental brand values within your marketing strategy, we need to cover the “how”.
The key question then becomes: Where can you maximise on your ROI? Well, let’s start with social media. With 1.40 billion people on average logging onto Facebook DAILY, and 29.7% of these being millennials (the most common user demographic on Facebook), it would be advantageous to advertise via Facebook and social media. But what are millennials main concerns? Millennials are well informed and value sustainable consumption. 66% say they are willing to pay more for services by companies that are committed to creating a positive environmental impact. Whereas 44% of baby-boomers and 42% of Generation-X identify themselves as environmentally conscious. This is important and a big potential market, but would suggest that for the Baby-Boomers and Generation-X’ers, it would be preferable to implement a different strategy to guarantee a better ROI for these markets.
How should you market your sustainability on social media? With such a well-informed population of Millennials, it is important that your content is engaging and of good quality. Producing videos to show your sustainable actions will help your post engagement. Advertising your affiliations with sustainable companies and services is a way to allow your potential guests to feel part of your contribution to the environment. Celebrate positive environmental actions taken by others by sharing influencers and companies content that highlight this subject. If a hotel brand focuses on these areas within your active social media page you will have a much better visibility promoting sustainability to your potential target audience.
What about the others? It is important to be accredited with environmental associations (local and national). There are also many awards for environmental actions taken in the hospitality industry, these are great opportunities to show visibility on your more traditional marketing platforms, such as print media and/or TV. 48% of X’ers listen to the radio, 62% still read newspapers and 85% percent watch traditional television. Also, with 72% of Generation X’ers using the internet to research products or companies, and 81% having made purchases online, blogging becomes another fantastic platform for the X’ers. Help reinforce your hotel’s environmentally friendly core values by blogging about them! Blogging is a perfect platform to produce regular articles on the importance of a sustainable and environmentally friendly lifestyles, including when travelling and making vacation plans.
Let’s not forget this large potential market of sustainable travel and, it is important to remember that each generation has a different outlook in this area. So, remember to research your key target audience and take advantage of the different platforms to show a greater visibility towards your sustainable core values.