Sharing your sustainable business story
More and more tour operators, (slowly) integrate sustainability in their business strategy and operations. Sharing your business sustainability story is important. Not only because it supports your sustainable tourism practices, but also because it makes business sense.
Travellers are more and more searching for meaningful, unique experiences and book with tour operators that are in line with their own values. Therefore, it’s key you communicate your sustainability performance in an effective way. You want to attract the right employees, customers and partners to create more positive impact for the destination and be more successful at the same time.
“Greenwashing: the practice of making unsupported or misleading claims about the environmental benefits of company practices”
In this article
5 tips to communicate sustainability practices
Including sustainability in your marketing strategy is a delicate task. On the one hand you want to communicate your practices and results as you’re proud of your performance. However, on the other hand you have to be careful about not overdoing it and be accused of greenwashing. This article gives you 5 tips to effectively communicate sustainability.
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1. Be transparent
Transparency literally translates to being easily seen through. In business communication, this means that you are not keeping any secrets from your employees, customers and partners. Present your sustainability policy, strategy and targets the way they are. Make it clear why and what you are doing, what you are planning to do in the future and how.
Don’t hesitate to communicate you didn’t reach your target. No company is perfect, and in the end, it will come down to your motivation and actual approach. Transparency builds trust, creates satisfied employees and engages them more to the mission of the business. Thereby, transparency also increases customer loyalty. Practice what you preach!
2. De-fluff your message
It’s a common practice in marketing; to fill articles, blog posts and even the website with fluff language. Long sentences that have no additional value, unnecessary words and high use of jargon. Even though your message might be solid, if you surround it with fluff, the message gets lost.
Stay away from big words and jargon – those you need to look up in the dictionary. If you want to connect to your audience, you need to write clear, fluent and most importantly engaging messages. Tell your story as it is. Use content marketing to spread your message loud and clear and engage your customers!
3. Raise awareness
In essence, the main goal of communication is to inform and educate your audience. When you communicate sustainability, it’s also important to raise awareness. The ‘why’ is essential here. Explain why you feel sustainability is important and what your business does to contribute. More importantly, educate about the positive impact of your tours and excursions.
Make your customers understand the importance of sustainable tourism and engage them in sustainable tourism practices. Be clear how their travel experience is enhanced and how it benefits them. In the end, the goal would be to encourage your customers to be engaged and committed to good tourism during their trip.
4. Create appealing content
Sustainability is often still perceived as dull, expensive and focused on extremely green travellers. Even though the reality has changed immensely over the last few years, it’s sometimes still difficult to convince your customers that sustainability is also of interest to them. To make sure your message will engage your customers, you’ll need to create appealing content.
Talk about the positive side of sustainable tourism, the advantages for traveller, destination and wildlife. Be original and creative in presenting your story. Make use of photos to illustrate the uniqueness of your business and tourism experiences. Directly address customers in a personal way and make them care too.
5. Don’t mention sustainability too often
Many companies are mentioning the word ‘sustainability’ in their marketing too often without fully understanding its meaning. And to be honest, the definition is broad and can be perceived in endless different ways. Thereby, customers are also confused about its meaning. This makes it difficult for anyone to determine which business is greenwashing and which is genuine.
The solution? Not simply mentioning you are working sustainably but explaining what this means for your business. What do you practically do? And what does this mean for your experiences, the destination, partners and customers? Remember to always be transparent and to communicate a strong, inspiring message.
Developing your communication strategy
Communicating your sustainability practices makes business sense, if you do it right. Having a sustainable focus in your communication strategy will increase satisfaction of employees, engagement and loyalty of customers and attract more valuable partners. Developing your brand and highlighting your efforts is very effective, as long as you stay true to the reality.
Be transparent and connect with your audience in a genuine way. Always remember that presenting your efforts and objectives are more relevant than simply presenting results. Sharing your road to more sustainable practices, will encourage and inspire others to commit as well.