How can eco-travel brands market to the mainstream?
We all know that eco-travel is good for the planet and can offer the most satisfying way of taking a vacation. Eco-tourism is not only sustainable and environmentally friendly but often also leads to a more interesting and memorable experience.
However, it is still difficult for eco-travel brands, which are generally smaller and have less access to large media and advertising budgets, to get this message across to a mainstream market. A conventional notion of luxury holidays still prevails, where eco-awareness is seen as a kind of puritanical self-denial of the pleasures a vacation should offer. That attitude, subtly encouraged by big travel and tourism providers, says that you come on vacation to relax and get away from your responsibilities. Put yourself first for a change- you deserve it.
Thankfully many people now realize that eco travel and full enjoyment don’t have to be mutually exclusive. A report by Global Data, published in 2017, revealed that 35% of vacationers around the world would rather go for a sustainable and eco-friendly tourism option. The appeal of eco-friendly travel and vacationing is being driven by a growing awareness of climate change and the rise of eco-conscious consumerism generally. Increasing understanding of the social and environmental impact of our choices- particularly when travelling abroad and hoping to see areas of natural beauty or different ways of life- has a special resonance when deciding on a vacation.
Eco-travel is the new luxury
Interestingly, eco-holidays are actually more popular with the better off. 57% of Americans with a household income of $150,000 or more said they’d book such a vacation, compared to just 16% in the $20,000-$34,000 income bracket. This goes against common perceptions of luxury travel and eco-tourism being at opposing ends of a spectrum. The fact that eco-tourism is now the first choice among those considered the prime market for luxury travel suggests that they no longer equate eco-tourism with “roughing it”.
Sell the experience
There still remains the question of how to sell eco travel to those with less money to spend. Those families cannot travel as often and so need to be sure that they’re getting exactly what they want. One solution is to have an attractive, easy to navigate website that puts the vacation experience first rather than the ecological message. Location details and excellent photos can convince better than a thousand words on how environmentally friendly it is. You can check out some here.
A travel blog that describes your experiences as an eco-friendly traveler can also help to sell the lifestyle. Eco-tourism is bound up with the shift away from pre-packaged holidays towards unique transformative experiences that go off the beaten track. Emphasizing these qualities via real-life narrative testimonials is a great way to sell your brand.
By buying into an eco-travel brand the consumer is not just taking the moral high ground but is separating themselves from the masses. By taking responsibility in this way they are also asserting their individuality. Of course, the more that people choose this option the better it will be, both for the planet and your brand. But the best way to market eco-travel to the mainstream may be to sell it as an alternative approach, even as it quietly becomes the majority option.