These days, clear sustainability credentials are a must for any brand. With the definition of luxury ever-evolving and always fine-tuning, a five-star property and service is no longer enough to satisfy discerning luxury travellers. More than ever, consumers are buying from brands based on their social and environmental impact. The emergence of this consciousness has had an unprecedented impact on the luxury industry, influencing the way brands market themselves to gain consumer approval.
To understand how important this social trend is for travel brands, we reached out to a handpicked selection of emerging travel advisors. We asked them: Is there a generational difference when it comes to a traveller’s social awareness and consciousness?
1) JESSYCA GEORGISON
Travel and Cruise Consultant, Renshaw Travel
“If a property or destination has great environmental practices, this is something that clients will use to validate a decision to stay somewhere, after they’ve already decided, rather than it be a driving factor in their decision making.”
2) DAVID SCAFF
Centurion Relationship Manager, American Express Travel
“What started as a movement of individuals has evolved into an awareness by the travel industry. The industry itself is now leading the education of many in terms of sustainability.”
3) COURTNEY SHEELEY
Luxury Travel Consultant, Jet Set World Travel
“The impact tourism has had on our environment can’t be ignored. As the global population increases it’s getting worse; however, travel innovators are addressing the issue. In areas where conservation and sustainability is priority, both financial and societal resources are gaining speed, as seen in Africa with wildlife and landscape conservation. Conversely, in Bangladesh and India—areas of dense population and pollution—it’s challenging to even grasp where to start.”
4) VICTORIA STRUBBE
Luxury Travel Advisor, Camelback Odyssey Travel
“I believe we all want to be and are in support of helping our local communities and world resources. However, I have not personally felt that this is a primary area that comes up in questioning or is spoken about when making a decision. I feel that there are many that are more socially aware, and perhaps it is our part as advisors to help be advocates as this is the future of our planet. I think most clients are pleased to see this once they are there but do not seek this out.”
5) JACQUELINE MORGAN
Luxury Travel Advisor, Travelink, American Express Travel
“Truthfully, for personal vacation travel, people are going to go where they most desire, in the best manner possible, and spend their money where they want. While most may be socially aware and ecologically minded, it does not always play into how some spend their dollars on vacation, especially for experienced travellers. They want the companies they stay with to all be as eco-friendly as possible as an expectation of being a good corporate, global citizen. However, their experience shouldn’t feel less luxe just to be green.”
6) MEGAN PERI
Director of Leisure, Plaza Travel
“The older generations tend not to think about it so much, regardless of their political affiliations. And because of that, you don’t feel high-end luxury leading the charge on sustainability. At lifestyle hotels that cater to Millennials, you feel it everywhere – from the type of take-away plates and items they provide, to the plastic water bottles replaced by reusable bottles and filling stations… I think more travellers would actually like to give their time philanthropically when they travel – beach clean-up or building houses etc., they just don’t know where to find those offerings.”
7) KRISTIANA CAPATI CHOQUET
Luxury Travel Consultant, Ovation Vacations
“Millennials are more typically aware of the environment and sustainability. The new 1 Hotels brand completely evokes the marriage of luxury and environmentally friendly practices. But as conscious as they are, it is more of a novelty and goodwill play. I have yet to see someone not go somewhere because they clean their sheets every day. People want environmentally friendly without sacrificing their creature comforts.”
8) JAYME HOOD
Luxury Travel Advisor, Huffman Travel Ltd.
“Luxury resorts are paying more attention. For example, The Brando (a T+L World’s Best Award Winner) has applied extraordinary efforts to become completely self-sustaining. Although this is a prominent trend of today’s world, it’s important to realize while clients appreciate and admire these efforts, I don’t feel they are basing their travel decisions completely around these factors.”
For more expert views on the state of the luxury travel market, from geo-politics to generational divides, download Travel’s Bright Future: A Report from the Travel + Leisure & ILTM Rising Stars Roundtable.