The California Travel & Tourism Commission (CTTC) has put out a Sustainable Tourism Marketing Handbook that was put together in partnership with Cal Poly’s Recreation, Parks, & Tourism Administration (RPTA) Department.
The handbook provides examples of best practices for sustainable tourism marketing from 30 California based organizations, from LEED certified hotels to the California Academy of Sciences and many CVB’s.
Each of the 30 organizations was asked to name the marketing tools it used to turn its sustainability into dollars. The tools that were named the most were social media, business partnerships/networking, specific web pages and online PR efforts.
Social Media – 16
PR Articles – 11
Press Release – 11
Word of Mouth – 10
Branding sustainable efforts – 8
Newsletter – 1
Partnerships/ Networking – 17
Facility Design – 7
Signage – 6
Specific Web Pages – 11
Certifications – 7
Directories/ Maps – 8
Events – 9
Discounts/ Sweepstakes – 5
One of the best examples provided in the handbook is the case of BART, which was sitting on a pile of green tourism gold and didn’t know it.
The Bay Area Rapid Transit was always a model of sustainable transportation service, since it started out as a green company with all-electric vehicles that produce electricity when they move. But it was for local transport, and had very little to do with tourism. BART began targeting tourism in 2005, and since then ridership from SFO to downtown San Francisco has increased by 400%.
They got into distribution through online travel sellers to expand their business nationally and internationally. They implemented a voucher system and partnered with the CTTC and the San Francisco Travel Association (formerly SFCVB).
BART has also taken advantage of social media marketing through Facebook and Twitter, and markets through the Internet by holding viral sweepstakes on their web site.
The CalPoly handbook has adapted the 37 standards of the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC) and it will be used to introduce sustainable tourism within the California tourism industry, with TourBench (www.tourbench.info) as a benchmarking resource.
If you need more help with integrating sustainability into the business, the UNEP has a step-by-step business management guide for integration of responsible environmental, social and socio-economic practices and principles into the day-to-day operations of a tourism company.
CalPoly-CTTC Sustainable Tourism Marketing Handbook – Download (pdf)