Promoting a successful and renowned destination doesn’t have to take hundreds of employees and large sums of money. In fact, it can be easy! Following the best practices and strategies relating to improving your destination’s reputation is the main recipe to the secret sauce. For smaller and less renowned destinations specifically, sustainability-related data is the missing ingredient. Data related to sustainability is a powerful driver to help your territory stand out, craft a brand new story to entice today’s travelers and have them clicking the ‘book now’ button.
Debunking Commonplaces: Why should your destination leverage Sustainability Data?
Smaller cities and destinations, however attractive or rich in history, often fall victim to clichés. Travelers typically associate these places with being slow or lacking in things to do.
These assumptions can easily lead to an undeserved negative reputation, keeping international tourists away.
Recently, however, tourism trends have changed, and been amplified as a result of the Covid pandemic. Nowadays, travelers are looking for more secluded and off-the-beaten-path destinations, where they can enjoy outdoor adventures and be immersed in local traditions, culture, and food.
The spotlight now shines on lesser-known areas, and visitors are starting to see them as small jewels away from crowds, surrounded by nature and full of tradition to be discovered. To promote these areas, destination marketers and managers must redesign their image to align with new expectations and generations. Sustainability is the key to do just that.
According to a recent Expedia survey, 90% of consumers look for sustainable options when traveling. In fact, people are willing to travel more consciously and visit sustainable places, from not only an environmental perspective, but also a cultural and social one.
Destinations that are highlighting sustainable initiatives are transforming their territories to be more competitive at an international level.
Combining Sustainability Data with Technology
Leveraging sustainability to drive more international attention is invaluable, but destinations must avoid their efforts being considered as just a green-washing strategy.
Ideally, destinations should make strategic investments to improve sustainability practices and implement new sustainable services and initiatives. However, to make the most of these sustainable actions, destinations must track the results of these efforts with the right tools and IT solutions.
Measuring how sustainable a destination is – across the environment, society, economy and governance – with certifiable indicators and benchmarks, supports destinations to better define their strategic positioning. By highlighting your sustainable strengths, your destination can create a new image – one that’s inclusive, sustainable, and more attractive to tourists.
The 2030 Goal for Sustainable Development: Innovative KPIs to certify the sustainability of brands and destinations
Using sustainability data and technology to revamp hidden-gem destinations is the idea that powered the 2023 Goal, developed by the Italian organization, Fondazione Appennino, in partnership with The Data Appeal Company.
The project’s goal is to rebrand Italy’s landlocked areas and make them more attractive from a tourism perspective by taking advantage of their natural vocation for sustainability.
“Landlocked areas in Italy, especially the Appennino mountains, are full of little, incredible places that deserve much more attention and more tourism traction. Most of them already represent sustainability, as they combine a slow, authentic, and inclusive style of life with good environmental practices”, shares Gianni Lacorazza of Fondazione Appennino.
Fondazione Appennino partnered with Data Appeal to develop new indicators that could scientifically measure the sustainability of territories.
“Through sustainability data analysis, we will empower inland areas, municipalities, villages and destinations to understand their strengths and potential to build a more competitive tourism offer and attract new flows of travelers. Goal 2030 will help us overcome commonplaces and transform inland areas into “uncommon places”, reveals Gianni Lacorazza.
Three steps to promote inland areas through sustainability
The first step of Goal 2030 was to select and analyze a group of Italian inland (non-coastal) areas through D / AI Destinations, an all-in-one territorial analysis platform for destinations.
We collected millions of pieces of data to evaluate the overall Sentiment expressed online, the composition of the offers, and the type of visitors to assess the current state of tourism, and pinpoint the most strategic areas to increase their attractiveness.
The picture that emerged confirmed that inland areas are praised for distinctive characteristics, such as hospitality, comfort and inclusivity, thus having strong potential to attract new tourist flows.
In 2021, all accommodation property types (hotels, resorts, campsites, hostels, etc.) in inland areas recorded higher average sentiment than the rest of Italy. The semantic analysis of the online reviews (over 360,000) reveals that the most discussed and appreciated topics relate to the excellence of hospitality.
The second step consisted of realizing a Sustainability Report for three of these areas to analyze their destination’s environmental, economic, governance, and social sustainability.
The last step is to monitor and benchmark progress against competitor destinations or past time periods. Data Appeal is currently developing an online platform to help territories and local brands analyze their sustainability data and set affordable sustainability goals to improve their image and storytelling.
Why is measuring Sustainability so important for tourism destinations, businesses, and individuals alike?
Sustainability data does not only help revamp lesser-known destinations, but it also contributes to generating new opportunities and jobs.
In fact, according to Gianni Lacorazza, sustainability is the starting point to educate locals and travelers to be more respectful and inclusive towards other cultures, as well as more planet-friendly.
Sustainability must be measured to guide private and public decision makers, and empowering them with data-driven insights will help them know which steps to take to improve their day-to-day actions.
Curious to learn more about your destination and its potential? Request your free, 7-day trial of D / AI Destinations to deeply analyze any territory around the globe.