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Seeking brands with purpose is not the reserve of millennials

Under-30s  are keen to align everything that they consume with their ethical sensibilities, and their choice in  hotels is another tribal  badge alongside People Tree clothing, Dick Moby sunglasses, RMS Beauty cosmetics and  Zojirushi coffee cups.  Though their wallets don’t always match their eco-luxe aspirations, these are the luxury-hotel bookers of tomorrow and those engaging most meaningfully with digital content and sharing stories. 

At the other end of the scale, older, wealthier hotel bookers are increasingly interested in responsible luxury.  This group doesn't want to scrimp on comfort or style, and they’re more than happy to pay their way towards a more sustainable holiday. Nature, wildlife and eco credentials are top concerns, whereas younger people are more likely to engage with social and community issues.  

Whatever sparks an interest or motivates people to care about the brands that are kinder, most people turn to a hotel’s website to assess its sustainability integrity. This tells us that in order to communicate their philosophy and initiatives effectively, hotels that care need to have a dedicated page and compelling content detailing exactly what they’re doing and why.


Young idealists with less disposable cash

Conscientious consumers, typically aged between 25 and 34, who want what they buy to reflect their values.  People look out for the brands they believe to have integrity and purpose. They’re  drawn to  certifications and  badges of  sustainability, but are equally swayed by storytelling and branding. They like to think  that  they would pay more for a sustainable hotel, but  in  reality, they  are more likely to on sacrifice comfort since their bank balance doesn’t always support their ideals. Scrimping on comfort is especially easy to swallow if it means having a more authentic local  experience, which also sees this group happy to  get  their hands dirty  doing community work while  they’re away.


In their 30s, they understand the issues, but they prioritise what’s practical for them over philosophical and emotional thoughts

Conscientious  but  not carefree, though environmental and social issues are deeply important, more pressing priorities get in the way for this tribe aged between 30 and 45; other priorities might be work or having young children. Professionals with money to pay for a sustainable hotel don’t want to compromise on comfort. Those in the throes of family life might not have the spare cash to pay extra, though they’ll take less luxury if it means a more wholesome or edifying experience.  Across the board, this group is more inclined to be interested in social and community issues; sustainability certifications are less relevant to them.


Older, wealthier, put their time and money where their mouth is

The wiser and wealthier travel lovers, predominantly over 45, have the time and cash to back up their principles. They’ll fork out more for accommodation which is sustainable. While they’re not always willing to give up creature comforts, they’re keen to get stuck into activities  that support environmental and social initiatives. More likely to be embarking on big, ‘bucket-list’ trips, this group look out for holidays and accommodation that facilities getting closer to conservation, wildlife and culture. When it comes to choosing a sustainable hotel,  they look for environmental accreditations.


Over 30, interested but not inspired

When it comes to booking a holiday, fun, comfort, enjoyment, luxury, convenience and cost all come into play before sustainability. To them, hospitality brands that have a positive impact are more appealing than others, and while they are curious to hear about which hotels are doing good, it doesn’t really influence their purchasing decisions. Though this group includes all ages, this tribe tends to be over 34. This audience has the greatest potential to be converted by strong storytelling — they need a reason to be motivated and they will act on their sustainable and ethical sympathies when choosing between two products which are otherwise comparable in price and guest experience.

Read our findings from the survey HERE