A sun lounger  looking out to a clear turquoise sea with a pile of earth on it with green shoots coming out of it.

Sustainability and luxury travel are an increasingly combined proposition – despite it seeming a contradiction in terms.

Integrating information about sustainability approach into luxury travel content marketing should now be an important part of any travel communication plan. It’s not only of increasing importance to the consumer but can also provide your brand with a USP and other marketing opportunities.

Why you need sustainable luxury travel content

Today’s luxury traveller cares about sustainability and climate change. An IBM study found “nearly eight of out 10 respondents stated that sustainability is important to them”.

Combined with the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic on tourism, the result is a more discerning travel consumer who is turning to the internet to do greater research.

Today’s ‘average’ luxury traveller is now a good deal younger – for example, the average passenger in a private jet is now only 38 according to Oneworld Destination. Understanding what the Millennial and Generation Z demographics are seeking should influence your content marketing – and reports show that across all industries sustainability is a priority for most of them.

That’s not to say it’s unique to this generation alone. Virtuoso’s 2022 sustainability survey highlighted by Travel Weekly noted that “sustainability continues to be a top priority for luxury travellers" and that

“75% of respondents said they were willing to pay more to travel responsibly, so long as they know how the additional money is being used.”

We shouldn’t be surprised by this: the luxury traveller has always been someone who can afford to make choices beyond others.

The challenge of creating sustainable luxury travel content
Integrating sustainability into your luxury travel content strategy can require a rethinking of previous perceptions around what luxury actually means.

For the modern consumer, gone are perceptions of out-of-reach, glitz and glamour: for example, previous modes of transport or inefficient application of resources may look very different now through a sustainability lens. Find out more about sustainability and luxury.

Successful sustainable luxury travel marketing works differently. Here, the objective is to satisfy the customer that the environmental impact is as low as possible or even that the customer can help create a positive impact while still enjoying a luxury experience.

We can help you with any of your sustainable content issues, take advantage of our FREE accessible digital content consultation here.

Luxury sustainable content strategies 

Businesses need to provide a plentiful supply of information that may have traditionally been reduced in order to create illusion. Key are FAQs, reassurances as to standards met, as well as sustainability credentials and validation from relevant third parties or partners.

It may also involve persuading a customer that some sacrifices are for the best; slower, smaller vehicles with better fuel efficiency or electric options that may need time out of a long journey to recharge. It may even require outlining what can’t be done: for example, luxury five star resorts, Soneva have a policy of not serving beef at their resorts in the Maldives due to its high carbon footprint.

The realities of sustainable luxury travel marketing
The best way to think about integrating sustainability into your luxury travel content at a strategic level is to think of it as a fantastic opportunity.

While placing new focus on sustainability calls time on the traditional luxury content marketing technique of emphasising grandeur, it’s possible to establish that something is exclusive without it being extravagant.

Harvard Business Review’s examination of positioning a luxury brand as sustainable outlines the importance of authenticity;

‘If it can claim to be the “original real thing” or if it corresponds to a “genuine ideal.’

Consumers relate best to the first cue as a measure of sustainability. Key then is relating to well-worn ethical practices and historic craft practices in order to create a timeless product or service.

Sustainability therefore offers great ways to play to some of luxury travel marketing’s timeless strengths like authenticity, heritage and storytelling – as explored by Dialogue’s Jessica Bennett. These messages work brilliantly and, thanks to sustainability, these familiar principles can simply be applied in new contexts.

There may also be more goodwill from consumers to businesses than you might first think. Cayuga Collection founder Hans Pfister explained to Lonely Planet that the positive impact behind a policy can make a crucial difference. Rather than taking offence at being told something couldn’t be done or being disappointed at something not being available, the results were far more encouraging and “most guests will understand” when the time comes to put sustainability principles into practice.

These new approaches help marketers make clear how a particular service is tailored perfectly to a luxury customer’s unique requirements with a one-of-a-kind, zero-waste solution created by an expert with a long history of doing so. It also provides the kind of story that consumers like to share.

Making a virtue of necessity can be worthwhile, with food offering great opportunities in this regard. For example, a locally sourced menu that is more sustainable may also offer the chance to highlight that a destination takes inspiration from the heritage and artistry of the region’s skilled chefs.

Sustainability is here to stay

Luxury travel marketing – like all marketing – is about far more than just documenting what’s on the price tag.

Where luxury travel marketing in particular rises above the more conventional mass-market approach is where it also focusses so closely on the overall experience and the steps involved in it, which plays nicely into the ethics and methodologies around sustainability.

But the sheer breadth of luxury travel marketing and the ever-growing number of channels involved can make integrating sustainability into a strategy properly something of a challenge. 

Resources

IBM study
Oneworld Destination
Travel Weekly on Virtuoso report
Soneva 
Harvard Business Review
Lonely Planet 

We can help you with any of your sustainable content issues, take advantage of our FREE accessible digital content consultation here.

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