How Your Tour Operator Business Can Grow Sales And Boost Your Brand By Fighting The Climate Crisis

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At 10x Travel our mission has always been to help more people travel the world.

We’re proud that over the years, our work with dozens of independently-run travel businesses has contributed to that.

When we started out back in 2012, our goal was simply to help ambitious tour operator businesses grow their businesses with more effective sales and marketing.

The digital age had brought so much potential for success to the travel sector, but we met so many business owners who struggled to make online sales work.

We’ve helped many of these people revolutionize how they market and sell their tours and experiences, so they can reach more happy customers who share our thirst for travel and a deeper understanding of our world.

But over time we realised there’s something else we needed to do too…

Something that’s grown out of the success we’ve created.

The 10x Travel team has always believed in promoting fair, sustainable travel that minimizes the impact of tourism on the environment.

So we recently made a commitment to do just that…

We’ve partnered with the environmental charity One Tree Planted to give something back to the environment, help fight the climate crisis and increase reforestation around the world.

Want to see how you can work with 10x Travel to help combat the climate crisis?

Schedule your free Get More Bookings™ Strategy Session with our co-founders, Jay Connelly and Max Hardy.

In this session we’ll outline how some of the ideas in this article can work for YOUR specific tour operator business, and walk you through how our unique process can help you generate 7 and 8-figures in bookings.

We’re making a simple but clear commitment:

From August 2019, 10x Travel will plant at least one tree for every booking we assist for each of our tour operator partners.

So from bike rides to boat tours, from ski weekends to volcano adventures…

Every new sale our Get More Bookings™ sales system enables for one of our partners will result in one or more trees being planted, to help minimise the impact of global warming on our planet. 

It’s a small step in the right direction, but something we believe we can build on – more on that in a moment.

Why are we making this commitment?

Our vision is to promote fair, sustainable travel that preserves the natural and cultural heritage of the travel destinations we serve – whilst broadening the minds of travellers.

We’re starting by planting at least one tree for every assisted booking that we enable for our tour operator partners. We’ve targeted the planting of 100,000 trees as our first milestone.

One Tree Planted is a US-based non-profit organization doing important work: planting and maintaining trees across North America, South America, Asia and Africa.

It costs just $1 to plant a tree via their reforestation partners, making it a simple way for a business to donate and see the positive impact they can have.

According to the UN’s most recent report “our planet is on track to warm more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, which it will do as soon as 2040, if current trends continue.”

If left unchecked, this situation will lead to widespread devastation…

“Nearly all coral reefs will die out, wildfires and heat waves will sweep across the planet annually, and the interplay between drought and flooding and temperature will mean that the world’s food supply would become dramatically less secure.”

The impact of global warming on our world is coming into sharper focus with every passing year.

And at 10x Travel we want to actively support the global movement to reduce – and ultimately reverse – that impact.

As part of the travel industry, we believe it’s our duty to help offset the impact of tourism on the environment

According to a 2018 scientific study reported in the Independent, tourism now accounts for around 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions – with the high fuel demands of international air travel the primary cause.

10x Travel doesn’t sell flights, and nor do the vast majority of our tour operator partners. But we do want to recognise and take responsibility for the fact that our work indirectly encourages and enables air travel.

And since the global tourism industry has been growing at an annual rate of around 5% – faster than many other economic sectors – we feel a responsibility to offset the effects of that growth on our planet before it’s too late.

We also want future generations to be able to experience the world’s cultural and natural wonders the way we do today.

Why Trees?

Trees are essential to our planet’s health: they clean the air we breathe and the water we drink, and help stabilize our climate.

The positive effects trees have on our planet’s ecosystem have never been in sharper focus than right now. In fact, they represent one of the best solutions we have to the escalating climate disruption currently taking place.

Scientists now believe tree planting has “mind-blowing potential” and that new research shows it’s “by far the biggest and cheapest way to tackle the climate crisis”. 

Strategic tree planting projects like those promoted by One Tree Planted and the global women’s network charity TreeSisters remove carbon from the atmosphere, helping reverse the effects of the global climate crisis.

And encouragingly, a recent study revealed that the space available for trees is actually far greater than previously thought… 

An area the size of the US is available for planting trees around the world, with the potential to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere by around 25% – which the study’s authors claim is the most effective climate crisis solution available right now.

Additionally, trees provide habitats to over 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity, and are key ingredients in 25% of all medicines. Forests even provide jobs for over 1.6 BILLION people!

(The One Tree Planted website has plenty more about the incredible range of benefits trees have on our environment and culture.)

One Tree Planted exist to make it simple for anyone to help the environment by planting more trees around the world.

Their $1 = 1 tree planted scheme is all about making it easier to get more new trees in the ground, and businesses are at the forefront of that movement.

OTP founder Matt Hill says:

“I wanted to highlight the important work these planting organizations were doing, and get more businesses looking at tree planting as a way to give back.”

Since 2014 the charity has invited companies, schools and individuals to support their projects with donations, and encouraged corporate social responsibility through impactful action, not just words.

Donations raised lead to trees being planted at minimal cost across 4 continents through OTP’s reforestation partners. Projects range from cleaning water in Brazil to protecting biodiversity in Indonesia, to fighting back against forest fires in North America.

Since their launch, One Tree Planted have more than doubled the number of trees they’ve planted year on year – and in 2018 alone they planted over 1.3 million trees. 

Their target for 2019 is 4 million trees – something we’d love to help them achieve.

Now more than ever, businesses like yours and ours are making a difference

The United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals came into force in January 2016, as part of a unified effort to end poverty, fight inequality and tackle the global climate crisis.

These important goals are about more than just governmental action however – they’re also targets which businesses and individuals can use to help transform our world. 

And whilst we expect to see corporate giants monitoring, improving and highlighting their positive environmental impact – major brands like Netflix, Adidas and WeWork have all made donations to One Tree Planted – the independent travel industry has the ability to make a real difference.

Along with our own efforts, companies like For The Love Of Travel, Trafalgar Travel, African Travel Inc. and Grand European Travel have all become reforestation partners, and demonstrated that they’re focused on more than just profit.

Tour and experience businesses are discovering that their customers increasingly expect them to take a stand too…

Are you a travel company owner or marketing director?

Then join our Get More Bookings Workshop

In this free 5 part video series, I’ll teach you how to improve sales for your business so that the focus remains where it’s needed most – delivering amazing vacations and holidays!

Your potential future clients now care about your values as well as your prices

As well as helping offset the environmental impact of our industry, a partnership with a change-driven organisation or non-profit demonstrates your company’s commitment to promoting sustainable travel.

And increasingly, that’s something your potential future clients consider an important factor in who they choose to do business with.

According to a 2017 Corporate Social Responsibility study, 87% of US consumers will buy a product based on values, while 70% believe companies have an obligation to support issues that may be unrelated to everyday business.

And if you support a good cause, 87% of US consumers are more likely to trust your company. Interestingly, that’s an increase on the 66% who responded that way in 1998 – demonstrating the growing importance of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

The impact of your CSR initiatives on your company’s reputation can also boost your bottom line

These days, consumers everywhere are more informed than ever about the environmental impact of their purchases and the businesses they support – particularly in the millennial demographic, a key age group for many tour operator businesses.

“Consumer sentiment has grown significantly over the last two decades, showing an unwavering conviction to do business with companies that care,” says Whitney Dailey, Director of the Cone Communications team which ran that 2017 study.

“CSR is not a fad, a trend or nice-to-have. It’s a business imperative that must be authentic and seamlessly integrated into the brand value proposition.”

In the travel and tours industry, it’s easier than ever for your potential future clients to compare options. A recent McKinsey Quarterly article calls this marketing battleground “today’s shop-around environment”…

And when competition increases, it becomes even more vital that your business stands out from the crowd. So what better way to achieve that than with an authentic commitment to make a positive impact on the world your clients want to explore?

When you make a pledge to plant more trees or stand up for an issue your ideal clients care about, you get the satisfaction of knowing your business is doing good work, while communicating an extra reason for people to consider your services as a worthwhile investment.

There are also ways you can use responsible travel initiatives to attract more clients and encourage them to travel sustainably.

A recent report by Booking.com showed that only 50% of travellers understand what they can do to travel more sustainably. Yet despite that, another recent study found that a whopping 91% of travellers believe it’s important to take ethical trips.

So there’s clearly a knowledge gap here – one that tour and experience companies can help close.

And according to the Adventure Travel Trade Association’s (ATTA) analysis of that second poll, that can make a tour operator’s business more competitive:

“Travelers are seeking out tour operators who meet their standards of responsible travel. 74% of respondents worry whether their tourism dollars are going to the right place, and 56% of respondents want tour companies to use local guides…

To ensure their trips are, in fact, ethically responsible, the average respondent would be willing to pay 33% more for a trip.”

Another ATTA article also suggests a few ways adventure travel operators can use inbound marketing to attract clients who want to travel more sustainably, without appearing to be ‘greenwashing’ (making misleading claims about a company’s environmentally friendly practices).

If 9 in 10 global travellers now recognize the importance of taking ethical trips, it’s clear that travel and tour companies should be promoting sustainable travel both to satisfy the market’s demand and to do their bit to battle the ongoing climate crisis.

We believe that taking responsibility for our industry’s contribution to that crisis and communicating sustainability to our partners and their clients is an important first step in the right direction.

We should also note that it’s too simplistic to paint tourism as ‘the bad guy’ in all this…

According to the UN World Tourism Affiliation, tourism is still one of the strongest drivers of world trade and prosperity, contributing 5% of the world’s GDP and 6% of the world’s exports in services (making it the fourth largest export sector).

The UNWTO says:

“In many countries, tourism acts as an engine for development through foreign exchange earnings and the creation of direct and indirect employment…

Tourism is responsible for 235 million jobs, or one in every 12 jobs worldwide.” 

The agency also points out that tourism “in many developing and least developed countries is the most viable and sustainable economic development option, and in some countries, the main source of foreign exchange earnings… 

If tourism is managed with a strong focus on poverty alleviation, it can directly benefit the poorer groups through employment of local people…

Tourism is the first or second source of export earnings in 20 of the world’s 48 least developed countries… (and) in some developing countries, notably small island states, tourism can account for over 25% of GDP.” 

We truly believe our industry can make a powerful contribution to the world. But only if we remain aware of its challenges, and work together to improve its impact.

How your tour operator business can take an important stand

Ever thought about planting a tree or making a charitable donation for every tour or experience you sell?

For 10x Travel, planting 100,000 trees is just the first milestone we’re aiming for in our quest for a more sustainable travel industry. 

We realize that may look like ‘a drop in the ocean’ right now, but we believe it’s simply the first step on an important journey – and one we won’t be taking alone. 

We’ve already begun letting each of our partner tour operator businesses know how their faith in our sales-generating system has led to more trees being planted on their behalf. 

Now, as part of each ROI (Return On Investment) report we produce for our partners, we’ll tell them how many trees their business has planted.

And ultimately, we would love for our current and potential future partners to understand the importance of our respective roles in this climate crisis, and realise that we can actually do something about it if we work together to make it happen.

We want to ignite a movement that unites the incredible organizations we work with…

To mobilize our tour operator partners around this cause, and to encourage and enable them to do more to neutralize the negative effects tourism is having on the environment.

That’s why 10x Travel’s new mission is now:

To help more people travel the world. Sustainably.

 

We believe this one small change to our mission statement can be the seed that grows into something much bigger…

A change that will ultimately benefit our tour operator partners, their clients and customers, and the wider global community.

Would you like to join us in our mission?

If you’re interested in learning more about how your business can make a difference by encouraging sustainable travel, or about joining us in the tree planting movement, drop me a line at: max (dot) hardy (at) 10x.travel

We’d be happy to share more about our experiences with the project so far, discuss the changing impact of the travel industry on our world, and chat about how you can get involved.

And if you feel inspired by the idea of planting more trees to help battle the climate crisis, you can even make a donation directly on our fundraising page to help us reach our first milestone of 100,000 trees planted. It’s a fast, easy and secure process and you’ll help us plant more trees than we ever could alone.

We welcome any donation amount, and every single penny you contribute will go to One Tree Planted’s reforestation fund and help reverse the negative effects of tourism on our planet.

Want to find out more about converting YOUR valuable leads into tour bookings consistently and reliably?

Click the button below to schedule your FREE 10x Travel Strategy Session.

Our co-founders Jay Connelly and Max Hardy will outline how some of the ideas in this article can work for YOUR specific tour operator business, and walk you through how our unique process can help you generate more leads and improve your conversions.

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