New research reveals the trends driving sustainable travel in 2023
Now in its eighth year, our latest research covered 33,228 respondents across 35 countries and territories. It's our most extensive sustainability research yet – and it shows that travelling more sustainably continues to be top of mind for global travellers.
Three-quarters (74%) of travellers believe people need to act now and make more sustainable choices to save the planet for future generations. What's more, 74% also want travel companies to offer more sustainable travel choices (up from 66% in 2022).
So, what’s informing sustainable travel decisions for travellers in 2023? And how can you tap into the demand? Let’s take a closer look.
Showcase your sustainable practices
When asked if they would like to travel more sustainably this year, 76% of global travellers said they would. In fact, nearly two thirds (65%) say they would feel better about staying at a particular accommodation if they knew it had a sustainable certification or label.
Have sustainability credentials? Highlight them to potential guests. One way of doing this is through our Travel Sustainable programme, which helps travellers easily identify more sustainable options on our platform.
This visibility is key, with our research showing that over half (51%) of global travellers feel that there aren’t enough travel options available. And just 43% could recall seeing a product or service on a travel website that had been labelled as a more sustainable travel option.
So, if your property has greener elements, be open about them. This might mean that you:
- Have eliminated single-use plastics
- Use energy-efficient LED bulbs
- Offer local artists a platform to display their talents
- Have a food waste policy
- Make recycling bins available to guests
These are just some of the steps you can take to make your property more sustainable. There are many more. Showcasing the efforts you’re taking can help to attract the increasing number of guests who are looking for a more sustainable stay.
Rewarding guests for more sustainable behaviours
The most common reason given for not choosing an accommodation with sustainability features over the next year was, “I don’t want to pay extra for more sustainable travel options.” Alongside that, 49% of global travellers think more sustainable options are “too expensive”.
It’s perhaps not surprising, then, that nearly half (49%) of respondents said that discounts and economic incentives would help them opt for more sustainable options.
Offering rewards points for making more sustainable travel choices – that can later be used for perks and discounts – was received well by 42% of global travellers, who said this would encourage them to travel more sustainably.
Highlighting that more sustainable travel isn’t necessarily synonymous with greater cost can also help bridge the gap between the desire to make conscious choices and the perception that it’s too expensive. Often, it’s more about making small changes in behaviour such as forgoing housekeeping and reusing towels. These changes don’t mean spending any extra but can add up to have a significant positive impact.
Small changes make a big difference
There’s real appetite among travellers to act more sustainably when on a trip. Just 2% of those surveyed said that they didn’t think about sustainability at all when staying at an accommodation.
Looking to promote guest behaviours at your accommodation that are kinder to the environment? There are many ways you can do this. For example, you may want to encourage guests to:
- Turn off lights and other appliances when not at the accommodation (77% of global travellers say they already do this)
- Turn off the air conditioning or heater when not at the accommodation (67%)
- Use the same towel more than once (60%)
- Recycle their garbage (45%)
Travellers are also taking action to make more conscious choices on vacation that go beyond the property. While sightseeing, 43% of travellers plan to walk, cycle or take public transport – up by 10% from 2022 – so point out to guests if you offer rental bikes, or can advise on the best walking routes. Consider, too, attracting the 43% of travellers who plan to take their trips outside of peak season by offering tips on local events and things to do once the crowds have gone.
While these might seem like small changes, added together they can make a big difference. Having an industry that’s more sustainable means working together. It means meeting the expectations of the growing number of more conscious consumers. If we all help play a part in that, there will be plenty more Earth Days ahead to celebrate.
- 80% of global travellers think that sustainable travel is important
- 59% say they are more determined to make more sustainable travel choices than they were a year ago
- 65% would feel better about staying at a particular accommodation if they knew it had a sustainable certification or label
- 51% feel there aren’t enough sustainable travel options available
- 46% would welcome tips on how to be more sustainable when travelling