How to Keep Step with Changing Perceptions of Sustainability

Originally published by Travolution

Scott Falconer, Executive Vice President, Media Solutions, Hospitality, Amadeus, explains how hotels and destinations can use data to respond to growing demand for more environmentally friendly trips

This year has seen the travel industry rebound, with Amadeus’ business intelligence data revealing that worldwide hotel occupancy rates surged above pre-pandemic levels for the first time since 2019.

Similarly, Amadeus’ Agency360 data demonstrates that hotel room nights booked on global distribution systems (GDSs) for corporate travel have also increased during 2022 and are rapidly closing in on pre-pandemic rates.

This welcome resurgence of travel should not just be looked at in isolation.

For example, sustainability is rapidly gaining consumer focus, so as hoteliers and Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) look to the future, there is a clear need for the travel sector to understand related guest expectations.

To capture some of the most pressing trends in travel, Amadeus commissioned its 2022 Global Travel Agent Report with MarketCast, which garnered responses from over 1,000 travel agents in more than 60 countries about the current GDS landscape.

Harness data to inform sustainability strategy

The Amadeus study revealed that only 7% of travel agents claim that the travelers they serve are unconcerned by the sustainability efforts of the travel companies with whom they’re booking.

This is supported by an investigation into the priorities of the travelers themselves, with sustainability moving up from sixth place in 2019 to fifth place in 2022.

Unsurprisingly, price and health and safety remain the highest priorities, but this steady movement of sustainability up the ranks suggests that now is the optimal time for hotels and DMOs to keep on working on this.

Another study from IHG Hotels & Resorts in 2021 adds further informative nuances to this landscape in uncovering the demographic most likely to prioritize sustainability during travels; whereas one third of 2,000 surveyed adults wanted to be more environmentally and socially conscious while traveling, this number rose to 41% for 18-24 year olds, with three quarters of the Gen Z demographic emphasizing the importance of staying somewhere eco-friendly.

With this data in mind, hoteliers and DMOs can begin to scale up their sustainability strategy by solidifying their own plans to target carbon and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and by considering key target demographics when advertising on GDS platforms and on other direct channels.

Also, by understanding the correlation between demand and conversions, including lead time, DMOs are able to overcome seasonality. In this way, they can use air and accommodation data to promote the destination and target their campaigns during off-peak seasons.

Investigate innovative technologies

Data also provides hoteliers and DMOs with recommendations as to which technological innovations may be worth scaling up in the interest of achieving sustainable travel.

According to an Amadeus white paper on sustainable business travel, 78% of respondents said that technology would be effective in helping travel providers meet their sustainability goals. This survey also offers valuable insight into the types of technology that business travel leaders saw as key to enhancing their sustainability offerings:

  • 55% said that implementing carbon emission dashboards is a priority sustainability measure
  • 46% said that introducing technology tools that measure sustainability is a priority sustainability measure
  • 28% of business travel providers rated their current ability to measure the sustainability of their travel as not very effective, with 57% labeling it only somewhat effective

Travel organizations are already beginning to introduce technology that can aid corporations in identifying their carbon footprint and actions that can be taken to reduce it.

For example, Amadeus recently signed a deal with climate tech company CHOOOSE to implement an emissions calculations tool that can provide both corporate and consumer customers with accurate emissions figures for their travel, as well as ways in which they can mitigate their own carbon footprint.

By introducing technology that can help with a transition to sustainable travel, hoteliers, DMOs and other travel organizations can fill a gap within the business travel market by enabling them to measure and improve their sustainability efforts.

Read the full article on Travolution.

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