In the last 20 months since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the travel industry has had plenty of time to reflect on the changing world. And some things have started changing. But is the travel industry doing enough, or are we just paying lip service to the need to change rapidly?
This was the topic discussed in a very interesting panel discussion during this month’s 2021 Phocuswright Conference with some industry leaders. The conclusion: no, we’re not doing enough. One of the participants said OTA’s are like “boiling frogs”. The world is heating up around them, but they’re not changing behavior.
Some key takeaways for us:
- The word “sustainability” is maybe not such a good one, because everybody has their own interpretation of what it means. It can distract us from the simple issue: we should get “better”: more equitable and more climate positive.
- The travel industry should make available much more data and ways to empower consumers (and the travel industry) to make better decisions: especially CO2 calculators
- Especially younger travelers really care more about sustainable travel than we think they may. Generation Z have a “green calculator” in their head.
- The travel industry often uses the excuse that there’s not enough money to invest into change, but they just spend way too much money on marketing…
- In the last few years there’s been significantly more interest in local businesses and “authentic” experiences (see video below) and the impact of overtourism. That’s great for us of course!