Amadeus is offering six tips for tapping into the emerging— and profitable— market of eco-friendly travelers, sharing statistics about green travel trends that may interest agents.
* 75 percent Americans want to purchase green brands
* 67 percent of U.S. online travelers indicated they are concerned about the environment
* 48 percent say supporting green travel services is a necessity even in a down economy
* 31 percent of Americans are willing to pay more for green travel products and services
Agents can appeal to this growing demographic by positioning their travel business as eco-friendly and offering green travel services such as carbon offsets, environmentally focused destinations, green activities and eco-conscious transportation, Amadeus says.
1. Go Paperless
Electroinic airline tickets eliminate unnecessary paper usage, saving your travelers time at the airport, and ruling out the risk of losing paper tickets. Travelers can use the complimentary Amadeus checkmytrip.com to receive real-time itinerary information and e-mail it to friends and colleagues.
2. Clear the Air
Amadeus recently entered into a partnership with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to provide data from the ICAO Carbon Emissions Calculator to estimate the carbon footprint of air travel. By using the ICAO calculator, adopted by the United Nations, the partnership strives to reduce aviation carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2050. Travelers and corporations will also be provided with options for donations to projects that help offset emissions. The data will be integrated into Amadeus travel reservation platforms by mid-2010,
3. Offer Green Hotels, Activities and Transportation
Being green is certifiable, so look for detailed information about a hotel or resort’s green practices when booking trips. Search for properties that use environmentally friendly cleaning products, linen/towel extended use, recycling, electronic check-out, low-flow showers and energy-conserving devices.
Look for properties with an ENERGY STAR rating, indicating they are among the top 25 percent of facilities in the country for energy performance, or LEED certification, which means a facility is built or operated for improved environmental performance.
Suggest eco-conscious travel activities such as hiking, mountain climbing or bike tours. For those in need of rental cars or transport, search for hybrid models or suggest public transportation you can book in advance.
4. Offer Voluntourism Packages
Voluntourism trips offer eco-conscious travelers the opportunity to explore new surroundings and give back to society at the same time. While your customers help protect sea turtles in Trinidad by night, they can tour the breathtaking rainforests by day. Or, they can explore the South African bush while helping research scientists with wildlife conservation projects. Find out more about the voluntourism trend.
5. Go Green from the Inside Out
The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) is just one of the organizations offering a Green Program, which certifies businesses as Green ASTA Members. Participants receive tools to help market their business as a friend of the environment, tips to meet the needs of the green travel traveler, a green travel agent listing on the ASTA consumer web site, among others.
6. Provide Your Own Green Travel Tips
Here’s a few ideas to get your tips sheet going. Suggest clients use the bathroom in the airport instead of on the plane. Flushing the toilet on a plane uses as much fuel as you would need to run a car for six miles. Remind clients to return hotel key cards to the front desk for reuse. Put together a green packing list with items such as reusable water bottles and shopping bags, rechargeable batteries and other eco-friendly items.