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Five steps to prepare yourself for sustainable tourism success

Sustainable tourism success depends on strong foundations – discover how to prepare your business now.

1. Plan for the future

Sustainable tourism success does not come about by itself; like any project, it needs to be carefully planned and nurtured. To this end, your business plan is an essential tool: it helps you formulate the ‘vision and mission’ of your business and to clarify where you want to be in six months, five years, and ten years from now.

Before you even start to put your ecotourism business plan together it is helpful to spend time assessing your strength and weaknesses by conducting a SWOT analysis (strength, weakness, opportunities and threats). Take an honest look at your current situation and your unique selling points as this will help you to stand out from the crowd, identify areas where you may need help, and plan for sustainable tourism success.

Your business plan and SWOT analysis will provide the basis of your action plan. This breaks down your vision into small, manageable steps and outlines a clear path through the maze of ‘things to do’, in order to achieve your goals.

2. Understand the competition

Holidaymakers face an almost infinite choice of hotels when planning their next vacation. What makes your business stand out? Sustainable tourism success hinges on understanding, and reacting to, competitors’ offers – to be more creative, and to take advantage of unique opportunities that come your way.

It is not necessarily the cheapest price that makes the sale, but the best value for money. Can you offer something that is unique, but does not necessarily require a large investment?

3. Make improvements

There is always room for improvement, but which one will give you the best results in terms of cost savings or marketing appeal, for the smallest possible investment?

‘Greening’ your operations by changing your lightbulbs or reducing your waste requires only a very small investment, but can give you quite substantial savings. Larger improvements that directly impact your guests’ experience, and give you a sustainable tourism marketing advantage, are equally important for success.

4. Be creative

For hotels, the biggest challenge is to generate business all year -around. Remember, there are always people out there looking for a good deal. Those who are no longer bound by a work or school schedule often prefer to travel during the shoulder season, as services are cheaper and places less crowded. Find out what these market segments want and create offers specifically catering for their needs and preferences.

5. Offer a consistent service

The ‘screenage generation’ is savvy when it comes to making their own travel arrangements. Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as review sites such as Tripadvisor, are key to attracting this market. Happy guests will be glad to make recommendations. Even if things go wrong, all is not lost. You can salvage the situation by making generous amends. A customer is more likely to recommend, and even return to, you if they feel that you care about them and their holiday experience and are doing your best to make up for whatever problem they may have experienced. Great, consistent service is the biggest ace you can play to win and retain your customers’ trust and loyalty.

Make sure you have the right funding for your sustainable tourism business with our free eGuide:

How to finance your sustainable tourism business


What do you think of "Five steps to prepare yourself for sustainable tourism success"

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James MacGregor 5 years ago

You seem to be missing one of the most important steps and a sustainable tourism product and that is to conduct an environmental audit of your current water and energy consumption, waste, etc. Also you seem to be mixing ecotourism and sustainable tourism. They are not the same and you can have a legitimate sustainable tourism product that does not offer ecotourism….. In any case, ecotourism is not on market segment but an umbrella for a number of niche markets.

EUNICE KOOME 5 years ago

I just completed a training by Travelife on Sustainable tourism . Small little deliberate everyday actions like power saving bulbs, saving water , printing on both sides of the paper if we must print, separating our garbage , applying fair labour practices are all part of ST. Careful planning , reviewing and measuring our ST practices all add up to a successful ST. Finally certification by organisation like Travelife put you ahead .