Archive for the ‘Hotels’ Category

The Green Marketing Toolkit with Welsh examples is now available. This document collects the experiences of a number of companies in marketing and communicating their green credentials, usually with small budgets and tentatively, to see what impact it will have. We aimed to capture what small firms can do when they get inventive and share their passion for sustainability.

All too often we have found that companies are scared of telling customers about their sustainability work, thinking it will be seen as greenwashing. This report provides many easy to follow examples to show there are opportunities for every company, regardless of their size or practices, to engage its customers.

DOWNLOAD THE WALES REPORT commissioned by VisitWales

DOWNLOAD THE ENGLAND VERSION the original 2010 report commissioned by VisitEngland and its Regional Tourism Partners


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As increased stakeholder pressure requires companies to be transparent about their CSR practices, it is essential to know how reliable corporate disclosure mechanisms are. This study benchmarks CSR policies and practices of ten international hotel groups of importance to the European leisure market.

We found that corporate systems are not reflected on operations, environmental performance is eco-savings driven, labour policies aim to comply with local legislation, socio-economic policies are inward looking with little acceptance of impacts on the destination, and customer engagement is limited. Generally larger hotel groups have more comprehensive policies but also greater gaps in implementation, while the smaller hotel groups focus only on environmental management and deliver what they promised.

Why was Accor top and Hilton so low down, and what are the consequences of tour operator suppliers (Riu, Barceló, Iberostar) being at the bottom?  DOWNLOAD THE REPORT HERE

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Oulanka National Park, FinlandSustainability and business performance are related, and they both have a positive impact on each other, according to this survey of nearly 900 tourism and hospitality businesses from 59 European protected areas, conducted on behalf of the EUROPARC Federation with funding from DG Enterprise. The report is now available in English and Spanish

The green lifestyle group of businesses is dominant- for most businesses, sustainability actions are taken for altruistic reasons as part of lifestyle choices. The green entrepreneur group is smaller, with less than 20% of businesses having a profile of reasons and actions that suggest sustainability is seen as a business asset or a vehicle for competitive advantage.

We find primarily small and vulnerable businesses in European protected areas, that  claim to be sustainable in general terms but find it harder to show concrete examples. Larger businesses report more sustainability practices, and regardless of size, sustainability and financial health are related. However the lifestyle approach to sustainability means there is limited use for commercial advantages, as shown in the limited use for marketing and communications.

The implications for protected area managers are:

  1. Promoting the business case of sustainability to businesses is not likely to work as much as focusing on the altruistic reasons.
  2. If many of the businesses undertaking sustainability actions do it for lifestyle reasons, it will be difficult to promote any change of behaviour specially more formalised sustainability management (even if it increases profits).
  3. Savings from energy, water and waste management should be promoted first, to help these businesses make savings. Help them identify the savings to then use these as a budget for other sustainability actions that will inevitably increase costs.
  4. All businesses need help to understand which sustainability actions can be presented as part of quality, and to learn how and when to communicate these.

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Greenwashing is everywhere, if we are to believe Terrachoice. Their Sins of Greenwashing 2010 report tells us how the number of greenwashing incidents continues to grow, mostly with companies making claims on how they have dealt with some of the less significant impacts, while omiting all sorts of other issues. Companies get more penalised for sticking their head above the parapet and actually dealing with some of their impacts, than for burying it in the sand and ignoring the whole agenda. But how does a company choose when and how to report, so they can be taken seriously for their efforts? What is enough to feel confident about public disclosure?

I have been analysing the data from 10 international leisure hotel chains further- our research was conducted for 9 national consumer associations and published in March 2011, and presented at ITB Berlin. With my academic hat on, I am now delving more deeply into the data. There’s some really interesting lessons to be learned, which I shall present to ICRT alumni in London on Wed 13th July (alumni know where and when we meet monthly). Here’s a sneak preview: (more…)

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Well done to the South Downs National Park and Collabor8 for bringing together tourism busineses that have their heart in the right place. I very much enjoyed our evening workshop on the business case for responsible tourism, and I look forward to our next event.

Participants to that event can now:

Font RT marketing South Downs

Read the report

Watch the video

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I feel proud of my new report for VisitEngland and its regional tourism partners on how small tourism firms can market and communicate the work they do to be more responsible and sustainable- all the research we have seen shows that small firms strugggle with knowing what is and what isn’t appropriate sustainability communications. Let’s face it, most struggle with marketing altogether. 

Read the report and Watch the video

I have been running one day training workshops in using sustainability for marketing now for some time, and most of the time I find these small companies need help with understanding how to be more creative in marketing and communicating what they do. Sustainability gives them a story, a unique edge- but they don’t know how to use it.

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The latest research we have sent for publication at ICRT focuses on better understanding the psychological reasons for small accommodation businesses to take the environmental decisions they currently take. The emphasis has been on understanding them at a deeper level- Ana Sampaio spent 5 years on this research, now available at an ICRT working document (email me for a copy while we upload it on the ICRT page). (more…)

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