Conscious, sustainable, responsible, eco- whatever you want to call it, now really is the time to take a stand and inspire positive change in the travel industry.
Travel agents are amazing. You book thousands of customers and literally make dreams come true for a living.
But have you ever stopped and wondered just how much more of a positive impact you could make to the world if you asked your clients just a couple of new questions?
I’ve been a travel agent and I know how much you have on your to-do list, so I totally don’t expect you to ask every single person all of these questions, but just dropping ideas into the conversation can plant the seeds for small changes on a global scale.
You have the power, agents! Let’s raise consciousness, together.
Have you considered travelling with a responsible tour operator or staying in eco-friendly accommodation?
There are so many amazing companies to travel with, including Intrepid, Adventure World, Nat Geo, Hurtigruten, Lindblad Expeditions & Chimu. Look for companies with globally recognised certifications, such as B Corp, Earth Check and Ecotourism or ask your reps about what their companies are doing in the way of sustainability and eco-tourism.
Have you thought about offsetting the CO₂-e emissions on your flight?
Most airlines now offer the option to pay a little more to offset your carbon emissions. Clients might just opt to do this if asked. It’s a small cost for a breath of fresh air!
Also, many airlines are now pledging to go single-use plastic-free, which is great news! Tell your clients about these airlines and they might opt to travel with them over the budget airlines!
Would you consider taking the train or bus?
If a client isn’t in a huge rush, why not offer them a train or bus trip rather than an extra flight? Sometimes we just assume flying is the best option, but sometimes slow travel is more scenic, more relaxing, more cultural and less money!
Have you thought about packing re-usable products for your trip?
We all know waste is a problem, so this little suggestion could be reducing landfill on a huge scale. Reusable shopping bags, make up wipes, water bottles, coffee cups, bamboo toothbrushes, stainless steel straws and whatever else you can think of, you can suggest!
If your office wants to really get the word out about these things, consider buying reusable products at wholesale and selling them to your clients at the time of booking or ticket collection.
Are you happy for me to email your tickets to you?
Many companies are now offering paperless documents, which is a great way to save on resources and printing for you!
Not all clients will be comfortable using e-docs and that’s okay, but it’s worth asking the questions as many travellers are pretty tech-savvy these days!
I love purchasing locally handcrafted souvenirs on my travels, would you consider purchasing from local artisans during your trip to ______?
Local markets and small businesses are the best places to pick up beautiful and unique souvenirs. Plus, when your clients are purchasing from a local artist or maker, the experience of the purchase is personal. The money is going directly to the artist and everyone is happy.
The street food in ______ is fantastic! Are you happy for me to book B&B and then you can enjoy the local cuisine?
Okay, I know HB/FB and AI are usually commissionable, so it’s tough as targets are in place, but this question will open the doors to a whole new wonderful world of food for your clients!
Plus, you can still look into a foodie day tour that uses local guides and gives clients a taste of the destination, without them being completely overwhelmed and on their own.
Do you have any responsible travel tips you’d like to share? Please let us know via Facebook!
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