As luxury resorts jockey for ways to differentiate themselves from the pack, a shift toward more environmental practices may help them find new customers. The key, though, is making sure those green efforts come from an authentic — and not purely financial — place.
Chances are you’ve stayed in a resort that suggests you hang up your towel and reuse it, rather than tossing it on the ground. It’s usually part of the property’s oftentimes small effort to go green. While it’s a nice idea in theory and may help conserve water — plus save the hotel some money — the policy by no means makes the hotel an “eco-resort,” even if the property claims otherwise.
In this week’s feature, Skift contributor Laura Powell tries to decipher just what makes a luxury eco-resort “eco” these days. Hint: It’s not just a handful of well-intentioned, earth-friendly initiatives — like towel recycling — but more of a company mindset about environmentalism.
The eco-resort concept has been around for decades — if not centuries — and right now Europe is leading the charge, opening up new properties, and converting more casual accommodations into upscale resorts. As the category picks up speed, the big question is this: Should an eco-conscious property try and market itself as such to attract environmentally aware travelers (especially millennials and Gen Z)? Or does overhyping the eco angle make the property seem like it’s trying too hard, which could turn off guests — or worse, have it accused of greenwashing?
Many Scandinavian eco-resorts don’t even mention the term in their hotels’ language because it’s just assumed they would be environmentally conscious. Thus, throwing themselves into the category isn’t necessary. While it seems like on the global level, resorts will tout their efforts to be earth-friendly, in the future, we predict luxury properties will take a more subtle — dare we say Scandinavian — marketing approach.
— Leslie Barrie, Luxury & Wellness Editor
6 Looks at Luxury & Wellness
Europe Is Shaping the Luxury Eco-Resort Movement: You may start seeing the term “eco-resort” pop up more and more. But in investigating the trend, we discovered a variety of definitions, which makes the actual meaning of the term nebulous. It’s best to look to Europe for clarification.
Building an Indonesian Lifestyle Brand From the Ground Up: Lifestyle brands can feel like the forced product of one too many focus groups. Potato Head is the opposite: It’s an Indonesian-born lifestyle brand that has been slowly built from the ground up with an emphasis on community, art, and culture.
Travel Megatrends 2020: Gen Z Asserts Itself as Travel’s Next Big Opportunity: The millennial generation has been at the forefront of the collective mind of the travel industry for years. But starting in 2020, Generation Z will begin entering adulthood. The travel industry would be wise to shift some focus here if it wants to stay ahead of the game.
This Rooftop Beekeeper Helps the Mandarin Oriental in Paris Stay Eco-Friendly: The Mandarin Oriental, Paris, has some very special guests on its rooftop: bees. Someone has to take care of them. Enter this marketing man turned beekeeper who has no fear of heights — or bee stings.
TUI and Royal Caribbean Expand Cruise Partnership With $1.3 Billion Deal: This seems like a win-win for TUI Group. It gets an established partner to help grow its luxury and expedition cruise line — while also keeping a share of the business — and at the same time it gets the cash to help pursue its digital strategy.
How Airlines Are Relying More on Design Improvements to Make Flying Better: Don’t fault airlines for lack of innovation. It’s a risky business that doesn’t always reward companies that act boldly. Instead, take solace in knowing that airlines are embracing smaller innovations that could make travel better.
Leslie Barrie [firstname.lastname@example.org] curates the Skift Luxury & Wellness Travel Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Thursday.
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Photo credit: Eco-resorts, like Charming Slovenia's Herbal Glamping resort in Ljubno, are becoming increasingly more popular. Charming Slovenia Resorts