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 shows that traveling more sustainably remains top of mind for global travelers.
Three-quarters (74%) of travelers believe people need to act now and make more sustainable choices to save the planet for future generations. On top of that, 74% also want travel companies to offer more sustainable travel choices (up from 66% in 2022).
So what’s informing sustainable travel decisions for travelers in 2023? And how can you tap into this demand? Let’s take a closer look.
Showcase your sustainable practices
When asked if they’d like to travel more sustainably this year, 76% of global travelers said yes. In fact, nearly two-thirds (65%) said they’d 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 program, which helps travelers easily identify more sustainable options on our platform.
Visibility is the key. Our research shows that over half (51%) of global travelers feel there aren’t enough travel options available. Only 43% could recall seeing a product or service on a travel website that was labeled as a more sustainable travel option.
If your property has greener elements, highlight 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 attract the increasing number of guests who are looking for a more sustainable stay.
Rewarding guests for more sustainable behaviors
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.” Along with that, 49% of global travelers think more sustainable options are “too expensive.”
It’s no surprise that nearly half (49%) of respondents said discounts and economic incentives would help them opt for more sustainable options.
Offering rewards points for making more sustainable travel choices—which can later be used for perks and discounts—was received well by 42% of global travelers, who said this would encourage them to travel more sustainably.
Highlighting that more sustainable travel doesn’t have to be more expensive can help bridge the gap between the desire to make conscious choices and the perception of higher prices. Often, it’s more about making small changes in behavior such as forgoing housekeeping and reusing towels. These changes don’t involve extra spending, but can add up to a significant positive impact.
Small changes make a big difference
There’s real appetite among travelers to act more sustainably when on a trip. Only 2% of those surveyed said they didn’t think about sustainability at all when staying at an accommodation.
Looking to promote guest behaviors that are kinder to the environment? There are lots of ways you can. For example, you could encourage guests to:
- Turn off lights and other appliances when they’re not at the property (77% of global travelers say they already do)
- Turn off the air conditioning or heater when they’re not at the property (67%)
- Use the same towel more than once (60%)
- Recycle their garbage (45%)
Travelers are also taking action to make more conscious choices that go beyond accommodations. While sightseeing, 43% of travelers plan to walk, bike, or take public transit—up by 10% from 2022—so you could offer bike rentals or offer tips on the best walking routes. Also consider the 43% of travelers who plan to take their trips outside of peak season by offering tips on local events and things to do once the crowds are gone.
While these might seem like small changes, 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 play our part, there will be plenty more Earth Days ahead to celebrate.
- 80% of global travelers think sustainable travel is important
- 59% say they’re more determined to make more sustainable travel choices than 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 traveling