You have decided to work at reducing waste in your tourism/event organization ? Welcome on board! Communication can have an extraordinary power, not simply to inform, but also to challenge and inspire change. After having mesured your impact (step 8), it’s time to celebrate and make your efforts known!
- Gain new customers and partners, by valorizing your efforts and environmental engagement. You’re a responsible organization, striving for sustainability.
- Inspire others to engage in reducing their waste, by telling you story “yes it’s possible”, share solutions and remaining challenges.
- Make your employees proud, by recognizing their work publicly you win their loyalty and attract new skilled employees sharing the same values.
How to activate
Watch this 6min video about how to communicate your sustainable good practices in the tourism industry by Xavier Font (researcher and consultant on the subject):
The website Respondeco, which Xavier is talking about in the video, doesn’t exist anymore, but you can check out Travindy “Guide to communicating sustainable tourism”, see here.
Tell your story with honesty and transparency
- What’s important to you, and why? Use the conclusion of the work done during step 1
- Stay concrete; which projects ? Which specific waste streams did you decide to focus on? What did you do ? give details about operating processes
- Who is involved? Staff are the best story-tellers! People stories are most compelling, grab this opportunity to recognize your employee’s work, let them tell the story.
- Showcase your progress: Use your metrics: “we reduced our use of water per guest night by … % over last year.” developed in step 8.
- Successes & failures = credibility: Explain the difficulties and how you face (or resolved) them. Emphasize your will to progress toward better waste management.
- Keep reaching out your audience about feedback and additionnal ideas of what could be improved.
Example: the sustainable shoes brand Veja have constructed their whole communication on their environmental practices. Check on their website, how they showcased their story through podcasts.
Through a series of relatable stories, you will attract the attention of your public. Otherwise, they might get bored of uninterested. Don’t go for a general “we reduced waste as much as possible.” This tells everything and nothing!
Be more specific about the kind of waste and measure/estimate the difference you’re making. Showcase some of the indicators you defined in Step 8.
Journalists especially will be very glad to get concrete figures. Also, when you can, prefer ratio and marking compative numbers to gross figures.
Example: instead of mentioning you avoided the lost of 100 plastic straws per night, showcase (with an infography?) that you equivalent of one time and a half on the Mont Blanc of straws (4 810 meters).
Highlight customer’s benefits
Forget about the “sustainability” word, as highlighted by Hopineo blog, it willl only appeal to a minority of people. Highlight instead your customer’s benefits. Answer to their questionning “What’s in it for me?” and then explain what you’re doing as a justification to this benefit.
Keeping this in mind, think about the different customer’s benefits which can result from yourwaste management initiatives: aesthetic, quality of service, more convenient waste containers, unique upcycled products, reduced prices, rewarding, management of odors… ?
Example: The recent success of organic food doesn’t really come from a motivation to conserve biodiversity on the planet… but rather because people believe it will be better for their health.
In our world of constant information, you don’t want to saturate people with too much information, or to lost them because your messages are not clear. You will need to be coherent :
- in-between the communication you make upstream and the experience your clients will live in your establishement.
- in your visual charter and your message (in terms of content, editorial policy and tone of voice).
While we mentioned it is often better to share the story of individuals, such as your employees, it doesn’t mean that it cannot be organised. We recommand that you have one person (or more) responsble for communication, ensuring the coherence, and able to respond to people when contacted.
1. Communicate on site
Start with communicating within your hotel, restaurant or during your event: to inform your guests/participants/employees but also to raise-awareness, change attitude and behavior. You’ll need to adapt your messages and tone of voice.
The key is to be visible at the right place. Information can
- be given through posters, infography, flyers, labels at the door, signages in the room…
- be shared orally, when newcomers arrive at your sites
- be shared to a wider audience, through conferences and live events, especially to share your actions and experience
You can even make it a social event, by showing movies and documentaries
2. Communicate online
You can have a specific page of your website where you’ll develop in details all the actions you’re undertaking in your journey towards sustainability… But be aware that very few people might in fact read it.
Don’t lose energy, share environmental information and some info related to your project within your usual social media
- Share videos: we gathered some pertinent ones on our YouTube playlists.
- Follow Facebook pages of positive media and share their content. Examples of active french media: Positivr, We Demain, Kaizen, Zero Waste France.
- Congratulate publicly the great work done by your team
You can check this beginner guide for social medias, and more specific recommandations on facebook, Twitter or Instagram
Example : for french hotels, check out this article with a list of potential communication partnerships you could explore.
3. Communicate through influencers
Choose your media
There are a lot of well-known communication supports (like magazines, newspapers, TV, radio, displays, social medias etc) but keep in mind to choose a communication support which will be pertinent : you should choose your media depending on your target. For example Instagram has limited impacy on +60 seniors. It’s better to reach the ones you’re targeting (potential customers, local residents…), than a lot of people which won’t serve your communication objectives.
Adapt your message to the media you choose : you need to have a sharp message on Twitter and you need to be very visual on Instagram for instance. You want to be very specific and detailed about what you do ? Chose a specialized review where you will be able to speak about your project in an interview for instance. (e.g. TV5MONDE and Voyageons-Autrement.
Rely on ambassadors
Nowadays, recommendations and word-of-mouth are a very powerful tools ! You can support your message and communication thanks to “ambassadors”, ie people influential among your targeted audience who will pass on your message and concept among community that trusts their opinion. Carefully contact influencers who are coherent with your project (right age, values, beliefs etc).
>> And remember that communication is a two-way street. An active communication also means that you listen to others and respond !
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Thank you to our authors as well as our expert proofreaders who contributed to fact-checking the content. Like the entire toolbox, this article has been created thanks to the collaborative effort of: