Fodder for Those Looking to Analyze Their Marketing Efforts

8/3/2012 By Glenn Hasek

Tidbits found in news about two reports released this past week provide fodder for those looking to analyze their marketing efforts toward eco-minded travelers. First of all, TripAdvisor announced the results of its latest TripAdvisor Industry Index, a survey that drew more than 25,000 responses from hoteliers around the world. Out of that survey came this news: More than one-third of respondents (34 percent) said they do not communicate their eco-friendly practices to travelers.

Assuming the respondents do indeed have eco-friendly practices to communicate, what might be stopping them from doing so? What do you think? Perhaps nobody at the property has thought of using green practices as a marketing tool? Perhaps there is a disconnect between marketing and operations? Perhaps there are budgetary, manpower, or perhaps even political reasons? Perhaps there are fears of being accused of greenwashing?

The second report I would like to mention is an article presented in the recent Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research called, “Profiling the Potential ‘Green’ Hotel Guest: Who Are They and What Do They Want?” The author, Nelson Barber, associate professor of hospitality management at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Whittemore School of Business and Economics, makes the case that hotels looking to attract green consumers must not only practice sustainable business practices and be committed to sustainability as an environmental goal but should effectively communicate those practices to green consumers who exhibit specific behavior patterns and characteristics when compared with consumers in general.

What Separates Green Consumers from Others

“Green consumers are reasonably distinct in terms of identifiable characteristics and behavior patterns,” Barber said. “Targeting specific marketing strategies to potential green consumers is likely to be more effective than directing these strategies to the entire population by assuming that all members of the population are potential green consumers.”

Perhaps you have been using a shotgun approach toward your green marketing? Aiming for everyone and hoping that a few pellets hit home? That would be a mistake, Barber says.

Barber found that green consumers tend to be more concerned for others and have a higher desire to work for the good of society than non-green consumers. In addition, green consumers place a higher value on the restraint of actions that could upset or harm others and violate social norms. Finally, green consumers are less likely to be motivated to enhance their own personal interests and less likely to purchase self-serving products such as those associated with achievement or excess.

Places Where Green Consumers Hang Out

Where do you find these green consumers? There are certainly publications, television stations, radio stations, or groups where these types of individuals congregate. They are not necessarily liberal or conservative politically.

According to Barber, a successful green placement strategy targeted at green consumers draws on both functional and emotional green images. In terms of functional images, green consumers will look for tangible demonstrations of the hotel’s commitment toward green operational practices, such as a recycling program or LEED certification. On the emotional side, green consumers will look for actions that are evidence of a hotel’s commitment to the environment and sustainability, such as providing hotel guests with the opportunity to dine on food supplied by local farmers.

Don’t be like the 34 percent mentioned in the TripAdvisor reference above. Be visible with your green approach—whether online, in print, or on property. You will be much more apt to catch the attention of the millions of green-minded travelers out there who are looking to do business with those companies that share their values.

GLN Adds Shaw Hospitality Group Case Study to Website

Green Lodging News has just added a new case study to its website. The case study focuses on Shaw Hospitality Group’s carpet recycling program—an effort that has resulted in more than 1 million pounds of carpet being reclaimed since 2009. Through key partnerships with major hoteliers such as La Quinta Inns & Suites, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Marriott and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, this 500 tons of reclaimed carpet has been diverted from U.S. landfills.

The case study specifically addresses La Quinta Inns & Suites’ partnership with Shaw which since 2009 has resulted in 800,000 pounds of old carpet being diverted from landfills to recycling centers. To read the complete case study, click here.

Green Lodging News Adds Food2Water as Directory Partner

Green Lodging News welcomes Food2Water as a Green Product & Service Directory partner. The Food Waste Liquefier is Food2Water’s new technology that converts food waste into water by using patented microorganisms. The microorganisms, which are used in the “ESL Series,” convert protein, fibroid material, and fatty oil into water. The ESL Series converts food waste into water within 24 hours. It can then be discharged through a connected drain pipe. The ESL Series can remove 40 percent to 70 percent of the cost of food waste disposal, while also protecting the environment. Different models in the ESL Series are available. Call (201) 375-3663, e-mail tommybarbella@food2water.com, or go to www.food2water.com for more information.

We Have New Contact Information!

In the past week our offices have moved to 2188 Vernon Road, University Heights, Ohio  44118. Our new phone number is now (216) 848-1406. Our new fax number is (216) 848-1404. Please be sure to note this in your records.

Looking for Guest Columnists

Every two weeks Green Lodging News posts a new guest column on its website. (Click here for examples.) The guest column also appears in the weekly e-newsletter. Green Lodging News is currently in need of industry experts to contribute occasional guest columns. Experts may include consultants, architects, designers, suppliers and those who own or operate green lodging establishments. Columns may be articles that take a stance on a particular subject or be strictly educational in nature. Columnists benefit by having their photo included along with a one paragraph description of their company. Interested in writing a column? Contact Glenn Hasek, publisher and editor, at (216) 848-1406, or by e-mail at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.

Planning Advertising for the Remainder of 2012?

Green Lodging News is accepting reservations for advertising spots for 2012. Many excellent spots are available on the website and in the weekly e-mail newsletter. Many Green Supplier Spotlight dates are also available. Interested in receiving a 2012 media kit? Be sure to contact me as soon as possible at (216) 848-1406, or by e-mail at editor@greenlodgingnews.com. A media kit can also be accessed by clicking here. Thank you to all of those companies that consistently support Green Lodging News.

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