Criteria for more sustainable information and press trips

Information or press trips are an important element for tour operators to promote their destination, hotels and activities. For the participants, often journalists or travel agency salespeople, it is an opportunity to get to know a destination first-hand. Sustainability aspects have not been at the center of the planning process of information and press trips, which is an opportunity for improvement.

Making information and press tours more sustainable offers tour operators and destinations the chance to improve their impact.

 

As part of the joint project with the Spanish Tourist Board in Berlin, criteria for the more sustainable design of information and press trips were developed.

The Criteria Checklist

A brief introduction to the criteria

A press or fam trip can be divided into four main phases along the customer journey:

  • Planning and invitation
  • Arrival and transportation to the destination
  • Program
  • Return journey and follow-up

The chapters of the criteria guide are divided into the main phases of the trip. Each chapter focuses on one of the phases and provides detailed insights into important elements that need to be considered when developing a responsible info trip.

The first interaction between the tour operator and the participants of the info tour is a crucial moment. The way in which the participants are addressed, how the destination is presented and how the host tour operator presents itself: All of these factors shape the first impression that participants have of the trip, the destination and the organization. The first interaction offers the opportunity to influence this first impression, expectations and the travel behavior of the invited participants.

 

Criteria for more sustainable planning and preparation of the trip include

  • The tour operator provides information about the current economic, social and environmental situation as well as measures taken, such as projects with a focus on sustainability.
  • The provided information not only promotes beauty, but also addresses the challenges faced by the destination.
  • The organizer provides insights into the hotels’ responsible management efforts, such as water and electricity consumption, their efforts to reduce food waste, working conditions and their commitment to promoting responsible behavior towards their guests.
  • The used images and information come from real experiences and convey an authentic picture of the destination.
  • The level of accessibility of accommodation and level of physical ability required for activities, as well as services that can be provided for people with special needs, is made clear.

For the participants, the journey begins with the start of the trip. As this is a business trip for them, they expect it to run smoothly and as comfortably as possible, as the participants are confronted with a lot of information in a short space of time. At this stage, many elements can be adjusted to minimize the negative impact of the trip. For transportation in general, ground-based and more climate-friendly means of transport, especially public transport such as trains and buses, are considered standards. The use of airplanes should not be the rule, but the exception.

 

Kriterien für eine nachhaltigere Gestaltung der Anreise und Fortbewegung vor Ort sind u.a.

  • Für die Anreise in das Zielland werden nach Möglichkeit bodengebundene und klimafreundlichere Verkehrsmittel genutzt (bspw. öffentliche Busse oder Züge)
  • Bei unvermeidbaren Flügen werden die entstandenen CO2-Emissionen kompensiert.
  • Organisation eines Sammeltransfer vom Ankunftsort zur Unterkunft
  • Willkommensgeschenke stammen aus lokaler Produktion, sind für den Mehrfachgebrauch bestimmt und verstärken keine Stereotypen und Klischees, sondern repräsentieren authentische Handwerks-, Kunst- oder Agrarprodukte des Ziellandes.
  • Eine Verlängerung des Aufenthaltes vor Ort wird angeboten.

Info tours are often used to get to know the destination, with the focus often on the hotels. To truly understand a destination, it is important to also learn what the local communities have to offer and what role they play in the tourism industry of that destination.

Therefore, info tours should also encourage active interaction with local communities to develop a deeper understanding of the challenges local people face, what their needs are and how they contribute to successful tourism. Partners and providers, such as hotels, should actively discuss their efforts to promote a responsible form of tourism.

 

Criteria for a more sustainable program / activities include

  • The sustainability activities and challenges of the accommodation are presented and discussed.
  • The activities offered raise awareness of biodiversity, wildlife and cultural aspects such as traditions, religion and customs.
  • In particular, activities geared towards sustainability are offered.
  • Exchange with the local population (e.g. by visiting local markets) is encouraged in order to convey a local perspective on tourism in the destination.
  • Companies that are committed to sustainable business management and are based in the region are given preference.
  • Sustainable behavior on site is promoted, for example, by avoiding disposable products, providing information about waste management on site or actively discussing the impact of the trip.

Also the return journey offers many opportunities to introduce responsible practices and promote mindful behavior. The post-trip phase offers the opportunity to stay in touch. This is ideal for providing further information or receiving feedback from guests. As a motivational gesture, they could even be reminded of their positive impact.

 

Criteria for a more sustainable return journey and follow-up of the trip include

  • Joint transfer to the airport / train station
  • The participants are asked for feedback on the trip, in which the experience is reflected on, sustainability aspects and opportunities for improvement are discussed. The feedback is analyzed and taken into account for the further design of the program.
  • Participants are provided with a summary of their trip with further information.
    Participants will also be sent a summary of the environmental impact of the trip, including the calculated footprint, as well as an overview of the impact on the local community and economy.
  • The organizer provides information about local initiatives and how they can be supported.