Download the What Sustainability Means to Consumers Report: Travel & Hospitality

Travel & Hospitality

What Sustainability Means to Consumers Report: Travel & Hospitality

September 2022

Report summary

At first glance, travel and sustainability don’t seem like ideas that can live together in harmony. The travel industry relies on resources that are not environmentally friendly and accounts for 8% of global carbon emissions. But travel companies aren’t exempt from consumer expectations and preferences related to climate change, and the ones that are able to go beyond long-term pledges and take real, meaningful action will be more likely to stand out from the competition. To do so, travel brands must understand what consumers expect of companies and individuals, and they must take action to move the needle for both.

Key Takeaways

  • Is sustainable travel even possible?Consumers have an elementary knowledge of sustainability in the travel industry, with many arguing that it’s inherently impossible for any travel brand to be sustainable given the nature of the business. To make meaningful strides on climate change, most travelers believe the onus falls on institutions rather than individuals.
  • Meet the ‘climate-concerned travelers’: This sustainability-minded group represents low-hanging fruit for travel companies, as their decisions tend to be disproportionately influenced by environmental factors. But when it comes to sustainable travel behavior, their actions don’t always align with their expectations of themselves or others.
  • Focus on reducing and offsetting emissions: Simply adding sustainability badges to products or communications doesn’t result in more bookings, as such badges are often associated with a premium price tag. In order to advance sustainability initiatives, travel companies must go beyond green labels.


The analysis behind this report is drawn from two surveys fielded June 24-28, 2022, and July 5-7, 2022, among representative samples of roughly 2,200 U.S. adults each, with unweighted margins of error of +/-2 percentage points.

About the author

Lindsey Roeschke is a travel & hospitality analyst. Lindsey’s work focuses on behavior and expectations in travel (among other categories), particularly through a generational and cultural lens. In addition to her research and advisory background, Lindsey has more than a decade of experience in the advertising world.