Truth Behind Travel

Costs and impact of sustainable travel choices today

October 07, 2022 Dolores Semeraro Season 3 Episode 56
Truth Behind Travel
Costs and impact of sustainable travel choices today
Show Notes Transcript

Host Dolores Semeraro discusses what are the costs and impact of sustainable travel choices today for both travellers and tourism industry operators today.

Welcome to Episode 56 of Truth Behind Travel Podcast! On this episode:
- Sustainability Overwhelm
- Powering up Sustainability choices of our desired customers
- Who spends more on Sustainable Holidays
- How Personality-based strategies are the key to a successful marriage between sustainable travellers and the tourism industry today. 

Last but not least, today I am gifting you – listeners of the podcast – a very special opportunity to join me at the Tourism Innovation Summit in Sevilla, Spain this coming November where I will be opening the hospitality forum with a keynote dedicated to sustainability and hospitality today.

TIS 2022 - Sevilla, Spain 2-4 November 2022
Dolores Semeraro Keynote Speaker


Season 3 Episode 56

Rate and Review Truth Behind Travel Podcast on Apple Podcast

About Dolores Semeraro

Hello! I am a Hospitality and Tourism Communication Expert and Speaker with 15 years of industry experience. For the past 20 months, I have helped tourism organizations and travel professionals restore travel confidence and restart their tourism businesses.

I focus on tourism marketing strategies, hospitality digital marketing and communication, and tourism innovation in every keynote, training, or coaching session I deliver across the industry.

You can learn more about me by listening to my travel recovery podcast called ‘Truth Behind Travel’ where I interview tourism industry leaders and travel experts on the core topic of the Future of Travel

Thank you for joining me today on Truth Behind Travel Podcast, did you enjoy today’s episode? Every conversation brings tips, values, and strategies to help you start your travel recovery journey.

If you enjoyed today’s episode, please

Dolores Semeraro is an internationally recognized tourism keynote speaker and trainer who has inspired thousands of people in the tourism industry to build a stronger, more sustainable, and more resilient future of travel.

In her keynotes, Dolores shares with her audience how to develop sustainable marketing thinking through her action-oriented thought process, which observes the interconnectivity of the stages in the travel product life cycle.

By applying this process, operators in the tourism, travel, and hospitality sectors can visibly enhance the longevity of their marketing strategies, effectively rendering them more sustainable in the long term for the well-being of all stakeholders involved.

Dolores is a passionate advocate for responsible travel, sustainability, and innovation. With her signature Mediterranean warmth and straightforwardness, she encourages audiences to challenge their "Business As Usual" status and strive for the improvement of the tourism industry and the well-being of all stakeholders.

Through her decades-long experience in the industry, she has motivated hoteliers and tourism professionals to take action, enhance their communication, and create a purposeful and innovative tourism ecosystem.

She also advocates for slow travel, exemplified by her extensive travels with her husband and beloved dog in their campervan. When not chronicling ...

Welcome to Episode 56 of Truth Behind Travel Podcast, today I am having a 1-1 conversation with you on Sustainability Overwhelm, Powering up Sustainability choices of our desired customers, Who spends more on Sustainable Holidays and How Personality-based strategies are the key to a successful marriage between sustainable travellers and the tourism industry today.  Last but not least, at the end of the episode today, I am gifting you – listeners of the podcast – a very special opportunity to join me at the Tourism Innovation Summit in Sevilla, Spain this coming November where I will be opening the hospitality forum with a keynote dedicated to sustainability and hospitality today. 


Enjoy the episode! 


In the previous episode dedicated to sustainability champions, strategies and best practices in Europe featuring Iulia Niculica from the European Travel Commission, we mentioned that a staggering 7 out of 10 travellers feels overwhelmed when considering how to embrace being a sustainable traveller. 


All going back to a very simple question: Where to start? 


On this podcast, I have developed a distinct B2B voice, a place where tourism industry operators could come back to pick up new strategies, inspirations, knowledge. So the intention today on this episode is not to write down 10 simple ways to start being a sustainable traveller. 

Because, truth to be told, it is simply not possible if we, as tourism industry operators, authorities and policy makers don’t do our part?


For example, very simple one, how can a ‘sustainable traveller’ carry a refillable water bottle around and successfully do so – therefore not buying bottled water – if the destination – whether rural or urban – doesn’t provide drinkable water fountain for the purpose?


Or another one


How can a ‘sustainable traveller’ reduce it’s carbon footprint on the planet if the options of the means of transport available at his destination of choice aren’t even remotely related to anything eco or green or renewable?


Last – but not least – How can a ‘sustainable traveller’ support [ local ]  with shopping money that circulates within the community at his destination of choice if local crafts are very often not locally produced and perhaps even imported by SE countries? 


A conversation that takes me to point of reflection on this never ending game of blame. Who’s responsibility is to implement those practices, to give travellers a choice to do the right thing, or perhaps, in the case of bottled water – no choice is the best choice. Meaning, if there are not plastic water bottles to buy, then a traveller would have no choice but to start carrying its own bottle. 


It’s all about training and education- which is not something people pick up from a brochure or a leaflet, but quickly learn by doing – when it’s take it or leave it. Do we even have to get to this point to turn the page? 


Let’s look into transportation – and specifically – the one everybody is pointing fingers at: 


The aviation industry. 


Easyjet – The airline company recently went out with a big loud press release headline saying that it was stopping offsetting carbon emissions. And everybody went whaaat?


It then went explaining that they were simply implementing a strategy that would enable them to reach net zero by 2050 by investing in cleaner aircraft, optimising flight descents to save fuel and introducing hydrogen-powered planes.


But EasyJet is not the only one going out with the headlines to FLY NET ZERO by 2050. In the last AGM of the IATA members in Boston one of the parameters for airlines to comply was to use SAF (sustainable aviation fuel) which costs 2 to 4 times as much as the normal jet fuel. 


Air India, Airasia India, and Vistara sign MOU for using SAF as well as 

Ryanair signs MOU for eight years of SAF supply starting in 2023 and the Lufthansa Group as well. 


Lufthansa, has implemented the so-called ‘green fares’ on the flights from Scandinavian countries  (Sweden, Denmark and Norway) on all group airlines. 

It is true that the very encouraging results that came out of the first range of data, highly depended on the fact that Scandivanian travellers are more keen to take specific actions when it comes to partaking green initatives. But notetheless, we can expect to see more of these ‘green fares’ materializing on other flights either of Lufthansa or other airlines. 


Now, what’s a green fare? A Green Fare is as an additional fare option in the online booking screen directly after the flight selection that uses a split of 80% into carbon offset projects and 20% in SAF. 


Remember early on when I said It’s about giving a choice to be a sustainable traveller? When booking these flights, the option of adding the green fare is right in the middle of the screen, is not in some sidelines or at the end of the ticket purchase process. This is what I am talking about. Once the customer goes through with the booking process, a range of options appears – as such the traditional choices of economy, economy classic and now Economy Green. 


One word, transparency. The explanation is there, the choice is given. But the question is: Is it taken?


Now, the results? the airline had seen a preliminary conversion rate of nearly 7%, above its initial target of 5%. That’s impressive, when you consider that voluntary carbon offsetting rates can be as low as 1-3%.


If you were given a choice to partake a green initiative on the basis of whether you are spending more because of it, would you take it? How much is too much? 


My question actually is – why does a sustainable choice given to the travellers have to be money-driven and not positive effects-driven


For example, 


Scenario 1 


A hotel company can add to its booking process a window in which a fee of xyz number of dollars per night as a ‘voluntary contribution’ by the customer to support green or social initiative. 


The customer considers the final amount that this ‘voluntary contribution’ would add to the holiday budget and takes his decision. 


That’s a money-driven choice. Just money. 


Scenario 2


A hotel company can add to its booking process a window in which the effective results of their green and social initiatives are outlined and its impact explained. To this information, a contribution is encouraged to continue achieving these results. 


That’s an ethic-driven choice. Would you take it? Who wants to be the bad guy? 


Scenario 3


A hotel company increases the rates by 20% because the ‘green fare’ was added as a must-have and therefore everything got more expensive. 


Here is the choice is taken away from the customer. It is in fact a decision taken for them by the company. Is this ethical? 


The average consumer when prompted the question of whether he or she would voluntarily add a fee to its spending which is related to a ‘green initiative’ that might have been or will be taken by the company is likely to say no, because it affects its budget. 


So how come in the latest reports from we read that more than 70% of the travellers says they are willing to spend more if an sustainability practices are implemented at their destination of choice?


Exactly what does it mean [spend more]? On what exactly. 


Producing organically needs more time, different utilization of resources and costly processes that have a direct impact on the final prices of the goods. 


-        Think of the food served in hotels and resorts today. Where the sourcing of local goods might not always be possible to offset the cost of shipping and to support directly the local economy in which the business is operated, Then the sourcing of bio products often translates into a more expensive food offerings, due to costs of the supply chain. 

-        Think of the in-room experience. Up to not long ago, entering a typical hotel room bathroom is like entering a single-use plastic kingdom. Today, all major global chains of hotels and resorts have or are in the process of replacing single use plastic items from their hotel rooms with more sustainable options. The questions is: is this so called sustainable option financially viable? What’s the impact of those changes on the hotel rates?

If travellers are more willing-to-stay in a hotel or establishment that engages In sustainability practices, are they also willing-to-pay more? The final price range of a holiday is a key driver for the final decision. 


How do we communicate the added value instead of the added cost of choosing a sustainable option when it comes to tourism? 


The value of something might represent something different for each person. The perception of what value is changes based on who we are, what moment in life we are in, how we live, where we live. 


Imagine a circular chain of cause and effects with your most desired client at the center of it. Who is that person, how does that person live, love, laugh, talk, believe, socialize, care?

In other words, what’s his personality? 


A marketing strategy that is structures according to personality-based associations instead of social-status (like married, single, with kids, with no kids, retired, student and so on) revels today a much clearer and accurate ID of who is your desired customer. 


It is through understanding how the personality is expressed that we can best tune in our marketing strategy to their frequencies and be there where it matters to them. Not with our product, but with our ethos. Enabling them to relate to us, to our core values and therefore to become their go-to brand of choice. 


More on the personality based marketing strategies will be shared during my upcoming opening keynote at the hospitality forum of TIS2022 – Tourism Innovation Summit taking place in Sevilla, Spain this coming November 2-4 th. 


If you are keen to join the Summit and learn more about how innovation and tourism go side by side, today you are in for a treat. Only for my podcast listeners, I am adding a special code that you can retrieve from the shownotes of this episode with which you can have unlimited 50% discount on either a silver pass or a golden pass.


If you are keen to join TIS2022, head over to the show notes and retrieve your super special discount code now.