Why I think the DearTripadvisor Campaign is wrong

Strange things are happening in the world of certification and sustainability. It's all to do with a campaign called DearTripadvisor, which is urging the world's largest travel review site to let it's users rate hotels on sustainability, and then for Tripadvisor to include their rating alongside the ratings for cleanliness, service, food etc. Last year, Tripadvisor launched the Greenleaders scheme in the US, enabling hotels to apply to sign up. Earlier this year it launched in Europe. In the … [Read more...]

What do you get if you cross sustainable tourism with a sense of humour?

Not a lot. At least not from the many mirthless hours I have recently spent wading through websites and marketing campaigns trying to find examples using humour to talk about responsibly run tourism. Plenty about saving the planet. Not much that suggests people enjoy doing it. Anyone who has ever tried to talk about the importance of sustainable tourism will know how hard it is to keep the crowd interested. For most of the world, sustainability might be necessary, but it's dull. It's why … [Read more...]

How to make a difference in campaigns by using social media marketing for tourism

I spend a lot of my time studying how to use the ever growing number of tools available to communicate mine and my tourism clients' messages. Over the course of the next 700 or so words I will share some of the most important lessons I have learnt. And at the end of the blog there's a twist, and a quick experiment to explore how our industry might do more. Four days ago I shared what has already become my most popular Facebook post. One of my clients - a hotel in Dominica - had filmed their … [Read more...]

20 beautiful words that I have discovered, which remind me why I love travel

I read a beautiful article by the environmentalist George Monbiot last week, in which the longtime critic of environmental injustice admitted he might have been using the wrong tactics in his writing for the last 30 years. According to Monbiot, more and more studies show people don't respond as well to being warned of what is wrong, as to being reminded of 'the love and wonder and enchantment nature inspires'. He refers to a wonderful project called Landreader, in which photographer Dominick … [Read more...]

The art of destination marketing: inspirational storytelling to sell responsible tourism

Good destination marketing is hard. So much has to be left out when you distill the essence of a place and its people into a pithy phrase, that there is a tendency to play it safe. No wonder the majority of tourism destination slogans favour superlatives that do little other than boast about their country being the most beautiful place in the world. With its new ‘Reconsider South Africa’ video, South Africa tourism takes a different approach, shifting the focus from 'aren't I beautiful?' to … [Read more...]

These five travel apps and websites really bring the power of responsible tourism alive

The news last week that Tripbod - which connects travellers to locals eager to share their knowledge of their home - has been bought by Tripadvisor is really exciting. It is a sign of responsible tourism maturing its communication. And a sign that the mainstream is listening. In essence there are two approaches. One is typified by the endless roll call of carbon calculator apps, which focus on the idea that travel is inherently a damaging force and the best we can do as responsible tourists … [Read more...]

Why the growth of Wellness Tourism is good for the responsible tourism market

I have just read a report titled The Global Wellness Tourism Economy 2013, and it has made me optimistic for the potential growth of responsible tourism. It has made me see that there are many more travellers out there for responsible tourism companies to connect to. And it has given me some insight into how we might go about reaching them. The wellness tourist is anyone who travels with the desire to improve their physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. In other words, it is about much … [Read more...]

Why you need to stop selling tourism products (and start telling better travel stories)

riding by cart through romania

A post this week on Hotel and Resort Insider declared that two of the three travel trends for 2014 were 'The Green Revolution' and 'Travellers Today Aspire for a Meaningful Holiday'. (The third trend I will talk about in the final paragraph). How then, can businesses  marketing responsible tourism respond? First, they need to understand why these trends are happening. At its worst tourism is homogenous and destructive. It is disconnected from the places and communities around it. It lays … [Read more...]

The art of good responsible tourism communication: Are we talking to the right people?

It's not surprising that if one of our blogs is about marketing or communicating responsible tourism, it gets more hits. Or that at WTM last year more people were trying to cram into a room to hear a talk on marketing responsible tourism than were to discuss issues around tourism and child protection. People want to know how to make their businesses successful, and how to communicate what they do to get more guests. Last weekend, however, I stayed in a bed and breakfast in the British seaside … [Read more...]

The secret of good tourism communications (or why I hate towel reuse schemes)

This time of year is very much awards season - the Golden Globes, the Baftas, the Oscars. And as of last year, the first award scheme in the hospitality industry to recognise which hotels have the most luxurious towels. The Fluffies - as these awards are known - is an award scheme with a hidden agenda. What it really is is a clever piece of marketing tourism communications by a cleaning product company, who organised the awards, decided which hotels won, sent out the press releases, and then … [Read more...]