The "New" Traveler with Sustainability

Cater to the “New” Traveler with Sustainability – Why it’s Essential for Hotels

The modern young business person likes to travel. They consider themselves a digital nomad – or someone who could be – and they like the idea of leaving only a small footprint on the world as they go. 

This is great news for the recovering hospitality industry, which has been striving to regain pre-2019 booking rates. Even as family and vacation travel start to pick up again, business travel and the big conference bookings are still lagging behind. In its place, we are seeing a rise of digital nomads from the Millennial and Gen Z generations of young and now middle-aging professionals. As the influence of the Boomers fades, we begin to see that the “New Traveler” style chooses their hotels and activities on a completely different criteria scale.

Boomers wanted lavishness and convenience. Even at the lower-end venues, they expected to be catered to—as close to hand-and-foot as possible. Boomers wanted the fuzzy slippers and complimentary mini-bar. The young professionals, however, want eco-conscious sustainability—and will choose hotels that help them keep a low footprint on their travels.

Who is the "New" Traveler?

Who is the "New" Traveler?
  • Gen Z and Millennial Professionals
  • Bliesure Travel
  • Want to be Eco-Responsible While Traveling
  • Strongly Motivated by Eco-Friendly Policies

The pandemic travel restrictions and exposure worries wiped out typical bleisure business travel and, in fact, almost all travel to varying degrees during quarantine restrictions. The “new” travelers are those who rose up from the quiet, the first brave, adventurous, and eco-conscious young professionals willing to jump on planes and book rooms to “do the needful” for their families or grasp opportunities that might have escaped. They travel for fun and for necessity, but they always travel light. 

The New Traveler cares about the environment, and not just in a “tree on your t-shirt” kind of way. They are eco-responsible. They recycle and expect recycling wherever they go. They discourage pointless single-serve plastic wrappers and disposable cups. They are often willing to pay a little extra for sustainable luxury they can feel good about enjoying.

In 2022, bleisure travel burst back onto the scene, bringing travel numbers close to 2019 levels again. With restrictions lifted, young people finally felt free to take the business trips they had been putting off — and to make a vacation of it. Shelton Group reports that 83% of millennial employees express their loyalty to companies that help them contribute to environmental and social issues.

Google Is Embracing the Eco-Travel Changes

What the customers want, Google will constantly rebuild itself to provide

You can always trust that the strategies promoted by Google updates are in the client’s and lead’s best interests. Google has been implementing a sustainability initiative based on whether each of its client-businesses meets certain third-party sustainability standards such as GreenKey or EarthCheck.

Google eco-friendly about section

When these standards are met, Google will provide a business or venue with an eco-certified badge next to their name on Google Maps and business searches. The venue’s “about” section is then altered to include a bulleted list of your eco-friendly practices like water conservation or in-room recycling for guests.

For young people looking to quickly book an eco-friendly vacation, this badge and eco-feature listing are essential. It becomes easy for an eco-conscious traveler to skim hotels and attractions until they have a full itinerary of places to go that meet their high and impact-driven sustainability standards.

Google eco-friendly certified badge

Sustainability Initiatives for the New Traveler

The new business traveler from our younger working generations are ready to be the change they want to see – and to push that change into the world around them. As a result, businesses and hospitality venues across the board have been adapting to the new demand and developing their own sustainability initiatives.

There are some things that every hotel can do, and some special local programs or ideas that only your venue will offer.

Cool Technology Upgrades

A big part of the New Traveler experience is increasingly high-tech hotel design. Keyless entry is already cool enough, and now smart control over the room’s lights and AC are joining the mix. Also, young professionals love to see a hotel saving electricity by soaking up sunshine.

  • Keyless Entry or Wooden Key Cards
  • Smart Room Thermostats
  • “Turn My Lights Off” Hotel App Feature
  • Solar Powered Anything

Water and Power Conservation Initiatives

Reduce your use, then tell your guests how you’re doing it. Most eco-bliesure travelers expect on-demand housekeeping to save water, but they’ll be delighted to find other conservation initiatives in effect. Include these details in your On-Damand Housekeeping information card.

  • New Aerated and Filtering Water Faucets and Shower Heads
  • Reduce Laundry Washes with On-Demand Housekeeping
  • Upgraded Efficiency of Room AC and Other Appliances
  • Turn Down and Turn Out Lights on a Timer

Reduce Disposables and Wrappers in the Room

Most New Travelers know disposable and single-use packaging is bad, and appreciate any hotel that makes an effort to sidestep this industry-standard practice with creative new room supplies. Let your guests know that their left-behind soap is being recycled to disadvantaged communities with the Clean the World program. Wrap gift baskets of unwrapped soap and beautifully folded washcloths – turning six wrappers into one single plastic wrap for sanitized surety.

Leave glasses instead of plastic or paper cups. Leave real wooden stir sticks instead of plastic stir sticks. Mount liquid soap dispensers instead of little bottles, and mount a water filter instead of providing disposable water bottles. 

  • Soap Recycling Program – Clean the World
  • Wrapped Kits Instead of Individual Wraps
  • Wall Dispensers of Liquid Soaps
  • Real Water Glasses and Coffee Supplies
  • Wall-Mounted Water Filter Instead of Plastic Waterbottles

Hotel and Guest Recycling Programs

Our New Travelers are the kind of people to carry an empty soda bottle to the next recycle bin. If your hotel doesn’t have recycle bins, this becomes an impediment. Go the other way, put a small recycle bin in each room for bottles and cans alongside the trash bin for food and package waste. Then let the world know that you recycle and show photos of your lobby and guest room recycling bins.

  • Small Recycle Bins in Each Room for Bottles
  • Recycle Bins in the Lobbies and Stair Landings
  • Visible & Fun Recycling Chutes
  • Publicize Your Hotel Recycling and Waste Conservation Efforts

Locavores and Food Conservation

Many New Travelers care about both local and sustainably sourced foods. Start sourcing your restaurant from local farmers, and favor those with cruelty-free and organic practices. As for your food waste;  consider composting or compost-donating all non-meat scrap that might have been tossed. If you have leftover bakery items, consider offering them at a second-day discount like any other bakery. Guests will often take you up on the offer.

  • Source Restaurant Food from Local Farmers
  • Support Organic and Cruelty-Free Suppliers
  • Compost for the Hotel Garden or Donate Compost to Community Gardens
  • Second Day Bakery Discount

Other Cool Sustainability Initiatives

Lastly, there are the cool initiatives that don’t fit into any special category, but the New Traveler trend has shown very high favor. Upcycled, recycled, and refurbished antique furniture are now a hip way to get a trendy, eclectic look in your lobby. Young professionals also like bicycles, and many will rent bikes instead of hailing a taxi or Uber for nearby adventures – and praise your hotel for providing the bikes for them to use.

  • Source and Spotlight Upcycled Furniture
  • Upcycled Artwork & Art from Local Artists
  • Rent Bicycles as a Taxi Alternative


A win-win for guests and venues

It’s time for the hospitality industry to embrace the New Traveler, the savvy Gen Z and Millennial professionals who care about their carbon footprint and love the idea of creative sustainable practices. Delight your guests by reducing your utility bills and disposable-item costs. Update your rooms with tech guests will play with and tell their friends about – and turn off their room lights and ACs more consistently when out of the hotel.

The new sustainability movement in hospitality and travel is a win-win for guests and venues. Your hotel can now take green business initiatives at a full run because it is also the fuel for your next marketing campaign as a modern, cutting-edge, eco-conscious hotel for the young professional traveler.

Ready to step up your hotel’s operations for the New Traveler trend? Contact us today.

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