Younger travelers boost importance of sustainability, new research shows

New research from the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance finds a growing market opportunity for sustainable travel, with more world travelers saying they are influenced by green factors.

The report showed that while price remained the leading factor in travelers’ decisions about where to stay, sustainability is growing in importance — a trend that is likely to accelerate as younger travelers grow more dominant in the market.

“If you’re going to be prosperous in the future, you need to take into account these changes in consumer demand and consumer behavior,” said Tim Davis, founder and managing director of Pace Dimensions, a research and management consultancy firm that specializes in travel and hospitality. “And that’s why we think that if you don’t take advantage of it now, you’re going to be left behind.”

The research, done in cooperation with global insight agency BVA BDRC and Pace Dimensions, included interviews with 500 travelers in nine global markets, plus interviews with a thousand travelers in the United States. The information was augmented with interviews with travel professionals in a range of sectors.

“Sustainability is something that now percolates across the management boards and needs to become, and is growingly becoming, a core feature in the mindset and thinking and consciousness of everybody in hotel companies,” Davis said during a webinar to share the research findings.

A focus of the interviews with travelers was how much sustainability factors into their decision-making about accommodations. A research report in December from Phocuswright found that while travelers often have good intentions, sustainability considerations rarely impact their trip decisions.

The new research found that price remains the number one driver for decisions on where to stay, and the 27% of respondents who singled it out was nearly double the next-highest factor, cancellation policies, which came in at 14%.

While sustainability factors trailed those two, taken together — sustainability certification 12%; resource management, 11%; sustainable resources, 11%; and social factors 11% — they accounted for nearly half of the total responses, eclipsing both guest review score (9%) and loyalty programs (5%).

The sustainability numbers are likely only to go higher, for the traveler interviews revealed greater interest in the generations that have followed baby boomers, topped by Generation Y, which covers births between the early 1980s and late 1990s.

“It’s really important because what it’s saying is that attitudes will shift simply organically in the next five to 10 years amongst the core guests for hotels,” said Cris Tarrant, the founder and chairman of BVA BDRC. “They’ll simply shift organically to become more attuned, more concerned about environmental matters.”

Taking that shift into consideration, Davis said it would be a mistake to ignore the growing importance of sustainability in travel.

“This is no longer on the fringe of decision-making for branding and marketing people,” Davis said. “This needs to be core and central to the consciousness of brand leaders and marketing and commercial people in order to make smart decisions about how to make your hotels perform better.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *