Can luxury travel be green?

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Many players in the travel industry seem to be making a good faith effort to move towards sustainability. But this raises a question: Can you delight the whims of an ultra-high net worth traveler while also being truly sustainable? If your definition of sustainability goes beyond nixing plastic straws and offering a vegan restaurant.

Given the scope of the social and environmental impact that the travel industry creates, many luxury tour operators and hotel brands are choosing to embrace sustainable initiatives knowing that their choice to “go green” now will increase their bottom lines in the future. Hotels realize demand is there for an experience that is not only unique but doesn’t harm the environment. And with national sustainability certifications becoming harder to secure, travelers who encounter a property that says eco-friendly and sustainable can easily verify the claim.

Sustainability as the Norm

The major shift is expected to be seen in the luxury travel sector and business in general over the next five years. This will happen when the industry understands that sustainability is not only a current trend and hot topic but the idea that will positively impact people and the planet. On the other hand sustainability and green travel itself are also good for business, there are so many Pro-profit companies that are doing well by doing good ( Engaging the consumers demanding more meaningful business practices this way also ensuring future commercial success).

Technology and Social Innovation

Technology and social innovation can play a role in creating sustainable travel experiences and industry is already producing cutting-edge travel technology applications.

An initiative in Chile, by Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa, provides guests with a trackable virtual tree seed for planting in fire-ravaged areas of Patagonia, in partnership with the non-profit Reforestemos Patagonia. Guests are given a virtual tree code and then choose where their tree is to be planted, then an email certificate verifies the planting with trackable coordinates through a geo-referenced Google Maps link.

Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers has installed two electricity-producing bicycles which are connected to the hotel’s main electricity supply. The bikes have iPhones mounted on the handlebars which monitor how much power is being produced and fed into the mains supply of the hotel. Any guest producing 10 watt-hours or more will not only get a dose of environmental feel-goodness but will also be rewarded with a free meal. The scheme is a pilot project that will run for a year, and if successful, could be rolled out to all 21 Crowne Plaza hotels in the UK.

Gen Z luxury consumer

What happens, though, when Gen Z fully matures into its purchasing power? Gen Z- ers know nothing different than a world where they worry about the future inhabitability of the earth they were born on. That’s bound the shape the kind of consumer they become. things like reusing towels, plant-based menu items, straws — won’t be enough. They will have more existential questions: What’s your land-use policy for new developments? Can you explain your labor supply chain practices? Are you carbon neutral without buying offsets? Answering these harder questions honestly will become harder to do while maintaining the current definition of luxury. Travel companies are officially on notice, and some see the shift as already happening. Tom Rowntree, vice president of global luxury brands for IHG told Skift that he’s already noticed the way that Gen-Z is influencing the travel decisions of their parents — even before they have a steady paycheck to spend. If this woke generation continues to wake up their parents, the shift might happen sooner rather than later.

And as for reaching the 80 million Millennials that collectively possess $200 billion in buying power, Travel’s business model, which is built on four P’s — People, Planet, Purpose, Profit — will have to resonate with this conscious generation as they make choices about who to travel with (at least we hope it does).

Rail travel

Rail companies are also already attracting luxury customers to many services in Europe, which can compete directly with airlines in terms of journey times. With its strong green credentials and improved services and connections, rail travel is set to become the luxury transport of choice for an increasing number of consumers.

Dib travel is now also offering the possibility of booking the rail transport. Because we challenge the way the travel industry does things, including ourselves, every day. For a better future — sustainable future!

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Preparing for the future

Many hotels and resorts started using self-powered gym equipment that captures the energy from your workout and turns it into electricity to power the building. So when you get your cardio at the gym you’re doing more than getting a good workout, you’re saving energy.

Increasing pressure from governments and organizations is pushing consumers towards more sustainable products and brands. Currently, only a few tourism companies have a comprehensive approach to managing sustainability, with most, therefore, missing out on opportunities for strategic differentiation and thus risking their reputations.

Those not incorporating sustainable business models are likely to face a detrimental impact on their brand perception and profitability. Environmental irresponsibility will be challenged by new customers. In particular, luxury items that are not sustainable will risk being perceived as unacceptable. (source: Euromonitor International).

Green travel, ultimately, is moral travel.

Watch your footprints turn greener with each step of your journey.

The future of business travel is here:

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