Showcasing Your Destination's Sustainability Initiatives Online and Off

By using data, destination marketers can find their ideal travelers online.

Kerrigan Flynn
|
October 25, 2022

Today’s travelers are prioritizing sustainability more than ever when planning their trips. By using data, destination marketers can better understand what their ideal travelers look like. They can find travelers that will appreciate and honor the local culture and make the most of their experiences at their destination. After putting in the hard work to create a sustainability plan, learn more about promoting your initiatives in different ways.

How to Promote New Sustainability Initiatives

We understand that promoting new initiatives requires strategy and resources. There are many moving pieces to think about, but here are a few ways to promote sustainability in your destination today:

Promote sustainable tourism on your different channels.

You may choose to do a small campaign or create a consistent brand message. No matter what works best for your destination, promoting online is key to getting the word out about your initiatives and letting travelers know what they can expect when coming to your destination.

Your DMO can use channels including native, video, display, CTV, and others to tell your destination’s sustainability story. Video is a great avenue for storytelling and inspiring travelers to enjoy a sustainable experience in your destination. 81% of video marketers report that focusing on video has improved their company’s bottom line. DMOs can leverage video by focusing on attractions they hope to guide travelers to and telling the story of the fantastic waterfalls or hiking paths just off the beaten path.

We’ve talked about Switzerland’s sustainable efforts before, and they are doing a great job of using video to their advantage to promote Swisstainable initiatives.

Visit Orlando is another example of a DMO utilizing multiple channels with its video campaign “Unbelievably Real,” where it finds a balance between showcasing its popular attractions and outdoor adventures. 

Work with local residents and offer educational resources. 

If locals are bought in, travelers will be too. Ultimately, your locals are your first line of defense when it comes to your destination. You need them to practice and promote sustainability for travelers coming in to show them that it is a lifestyle that your community adopts.

A DMO that puts a focus on supporting locals is Visit Finland which encourages visitors to have respect for heritage–a key pillar in their sustainability strategy. This pillar states, “In Finland, we strive for true, respectful representation of local cultures. We want to help strengthen cultural heritage and support cross-cultural dialogue.” Creating partnerships like this can help strengthen your sustainability initiatives and make them more genuine, knowing that the locals support what you’re trying to accomplish.

Provide information to travelers on important initiatives in your area.

This could include covering topics like public transportation, energy conservation, using less water, offsetting carbon footprints, off-the-beaten-path locations, and avoiding single-use plastics.

A destination making it very clear what they stand for is Visit Scotland. In its Sustainability Policy, the organization lists exactly what its sustainability plan is focusing on:

  • Minimizing resource use and waste reduction
  • Transportation
  • Protecting local heritage
  • Enhancing the quality of life for Scottish communities
  • Improving the quality of tourism jobs
  • Making Scottish tourism inclusive and available to all
  • Support climate change mitigation and adaption

Then, it provides ample resources on the website for travelers looking to participate in each of these initiatives.

Partner with local hotels and attractions on being thoughtful about sustainability. 

Support local attractions and hotels by putting a greater focus on sustainability. This way your stakeholders within your destination are moving towards the same goal and communicating the same messages to your travelers.

One of the most promising ways to do this is with a destination marketing strategy called “co-op marketing.” Sojern’s Co-op Marketing Program takes the guesswork out of combining funds, messaging, and marketing with local tourism stakeholders. As you form relationships with hotels and attractions in your destination, you can work together to drive new visitors, ensure alignment in communications, and support direct bookings for key partners.

Use data to understand what travelers are doing in your destination. 

You can look at how travelers are moving around the destination. With this data at your fingertips, you can build your strategy and message around sustainable travel. You can utilize data in three key parts–search, booking, and location data. 

Search data allows you to analyze the planning and travel intent of users online. You can get a better idea of what people are searching for in regard to your destination and help you target your ideal travelers. Booking data will help you understand demand trends and active travel. You can get insights on who is booking hotels and attractions in your destination. Then, location data helps you figure out how they’re moving around your destination once they’ve arrived.

Sustainability isn’t just a hot topic for the travel industry. Its impact on our earth can make a significant difference in local communities all over the world. As DMOs continue to focus on sustainability and work to attract the right travelers, the right marketing campaigns can bring in people who respect and appreciate the destination and the people within it. 

Taking Your Sustainability Plan to the Next Level

We’ve covered how DMOs across the world are implementing sustainability, how to leverage user-generated content and the best ways to showcase your sustainability initiatives. In our next sustainability blog, we’ll take a look at how travel intent data and a full-funnel marketing approach can help you find your ideal travelers online.

Learn more in our sustainability webinar with Stephanie Dunford, sales director at Sojern, and Zoë Weldon, community growth lead at CrowdRiff.

Sojern can help you get your message in front of sustainable travelers. Connect with an expert today to learn more.

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