Responsible tourism on the agenda at Leeds Metropolitan
Following the news that TripAdvisor now require all lodges to provide environmental data relating to their business as part of its new GreenLeaders Programme, respondeco, which can be found at www.leedsmet.ac.uk/respondeco, has been created by the University's International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism and Hospitality (ICRETH) to support companies in communicating this effectively, making them stand out from competitors.
repondeco offers both standard and premium services to analyse accommodation businesses websites' sustainability messages and give feedback, helping them to write clearer and more persuasive messages, showing a commitment with society and involving customers in sustainability as part of their travel experience.
Jenny Rushmore, Director of Responsible Travel at TripAdvisor, commented: "Our research has shown that over three quarters of travellers place an importance on the eco-friendly practices of the places they visit, so accommodation owners stand to gain a real competitive edge by promoting their sustainability practices. We know that travellers want reliable, trusted information about best practices in the travel industry, which is why we launched the TripAdvisor GreenLeaders programme to showcase those businesses that are taking a genuinely holistic approach to managing their environmental footprint."
One of the project's founders, Dr Xavier Font, explains: "Companies make great efforts to be more sustainable, but fail to communicate it convincingly to their customers. This is a great missed opportunity to increase revenue, reduce seasonality, retain loyal customers and increase customer satisfaction. Taking seriously how you communicate sustainability will improve your overall efficiency, motivate staff and allow you to achieve more in less time. Be smart: tell them about your sustainability actions and how they benefit from them; be social: post reviews about customers' green actions during their stay and how great they felt about it; be reliable: share what new improvements you make and how this is good for them, you and the environment."
Xavier will be addressing colleagues at World Travel Market on Tuesday 5 November as part of the exhibition's World Responsible Tourism event. In this session, he will be discussing his responsible tourism ethos and how it can be used to help businesses to get ahead. He will also be speaking during the 'Ask the Experts' session on Thursday 7 November.
The standard respondeco package includes a 20-page report analysing the website and making tailored practical suggestions on what to do differently, covering 42 indicators across eight themes, as well as a case study which will be promoted by respondeco.travel.
The premium package includes all standard package services as well as benchmarking reports and a month of telephone support in implementing the changes.
The team have already piloted the service, working with governments worldwide, hotel groups and tour operators, VisitEngland, VisitWales and Failte Ireland and national parks to improve their responsible tourism communication. It will have its official launch at the World Travel Market 2013 in November.
respondeco is the Esperanto word for responsibility. Esperanto hopes to solve communication barriers, and ICRETH aims to do the same by helping accommodation businesses to learn how to communicate sustainability messages.
Full information and case studies can be found at www.leedsmet.ac.uk/respondeco.