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Guests want help to help - Ed's letter

This summer looks to be another good one for the domestic market, aided not only by a renewed discovery of the joys of the UK, but the frequent photos of travellers and luggage piling up at airports.

And a good summer for the UK is a good summer for the rest of the planet, as the concerns of the impact of a return to full-scale global travel start to weigh and hospitality starts to think about the deadline of a 95% reduction in carbon by 2050.

Unlike our holidaying, the need for the sector to recognise this is becoming pressing. At a recent webinar, Ufi Ibrahim, founder & CEO, Energy & Environment Alliance, was forthright in her thoughts. She said: “This is not voluntary, it's mandatory, it is driven by incoming regulation and it's driven by the capital markets and increasingly by the consumer markets. And whatever is done, it's got to be scientifically robust and commercially viable.”

For Franck Droin, hotel manager, Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, education was required of guests as well as those in ownership and operations. He said: “We need to make sure that people are completely embedded with the mindset of sustainability.

“Not long ago a guest requested strawberries - but it’s not strawberry season. For me as a luxury hotel, I can’t tell my guest that it’s not strawberry season. But if people want to go to hotels and enjoy a sustainable stay, they have to think about whether the strawberries are shipped around the world. Or whether you are taking a bath on an island where there is not much water. There needs to be a balance between the consumer, the people who are providing the service and the investors.”

This was supported by a recent study from BVA BDRC, which found that consumers wanted to be more sustainable and were calling on companies to “help me help”.

Ted Utoft, chief growth officer, BVA Nudge Unit said: “It’s just too complex for consumers to make decisions based on sustainability. While most of us have good intentions, we experience cognitive overload when making decisions.

“We really believe that companies who help their customers make better sustainable choices can build loyalty and profitability.”

At the moment, how we travel is, in no small part, dictated to us. But when we can choose again, the responsibility to make the right choices will fall to us.


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