A 2015 GreenStep study showed that 89% of travellers felt that having third-party verified credentials were important, and according to the Travel Foundation, 75% of consumers want to take a more environmentally responsible holiday and 66% want to identify green options more easily (ie. through green business credentials). Many consumers have become highly attuned to whether or not a company is greenwashing… so to enhance your reputation, be sure to following these 10 tips:
- Have a clear environmental policy and a list of all the green actions you’re doing and plan to do. This list should include energy, carbon, waste, water, purchasing, transportation and culture/community.
- Ensure your messaging includes your reasons for caring so much, (ie. you operate in an environmentally sensitive area, your livelihood depends on a healthy wildlife population, it’s the right thing to do… etc.).
- Train your staff to effectively communicate your green message in a 30 second “elevator pitch”. If a guest asks any employee about your green business credentials, make sure he or she can comfortably explain it in one-two sentences.
- Be ready for media attention. Make sure your website, office, guest rooms and any other public facing areas reflects your green credentials and what you’ve done. Make it really easy for them to find out more. Whether it’s a separate page on your website, tent cards in guest rooms, or a poster in your lobby/office, make it easy to read and understand.
- Keep your messages simple, transparent and authentic. Emphasize the reductions and the cost savings you’ve experienced and make sure your message is easy to understand. Eagle Wing Tours does a great job of showcasing what they’ve done. Earn more respect and loyalty by showing you care about enhancing your customer’s experience as much as you care about the environment.
- Use social media to connect your green credentials with your business. The certification body you use will be happy to share and tweet your posts, and your customers like hearing these types of “good news” stories.
- Write a press release to share with the media and then pull the main pieces out of the story and communicate it in the right way to all your stakeholders.
- Join in on discussions and plans to market your area as a “green destination” and help develop a regional environmental charter. The better the reputation of your community/area, the more tourism will rise. As a green leader, you will become a go-to location within this destination. Be sensitive to the environmental impacts of increasing tourism traffic. Are there studies to protect sensitive environmental areas, or raise awareness and boost education about the local ecosystems?
- Ensure your promotional materials reflect your green spirit. Use 100% recycled, post consumer paper products if you are going to create print media.
- Engage your customers by letting them know how they can help you achieve your goals. Ask them to take transit, reuse their linens, use reusable water bottles and compost their food waste. Create a Responsible Visitor’s Charter, (check out the Responsible Visitor’s Charterfrom Pointhouse at Sargeant Bay), or ask your guests to pledge to do their part for the environment (like Eagle Wing Tours’ Go Green Pledge.) Customers will appreciate the prompts and will be happy and willing to help if everything is clear and convenient.
To see how your tourism business is doing with sustainability, get your free Sustainability Score.