When done right, upselling can go way beyond simply generating extra revenue. On top of its financial benefits, upselling gives hotels a chance to personalise the stay experience and connect with travellers over shared values. One value that unites many people today is the desire to minimise one’s environmental impact and embrace a greener lifestyle.
Upselling can help with that because it allows a hotel to offer ‘green deals’ that let travellers counterbalance part of their trip’s environmental impact.
Of course, upselling won’t solve the climate crisis. But it can contribute to further raising awareness of the issue. It also gives guests a chance to reduce their carbon footprint by helping hotels reduce food, water and energy wastage or supporting environmental organisations.
So what is the first step to offsetting your property’s carbon footprint?
What is carbon offsetting?
In recent years, carbon offsetting has steadily gained traction among people who want to minimise their impact on the environment.
Duncan Clark, author of the Rough Guide to Green Living describes it this way: “Carbon offsetting schemes allow individuals and companies to invest in environmental projects around the world in order to balance out their own carbon footprints.”
Carbon offsetting shouldn’t be seen as a permission slip for polluting activities though. Instead, it’s a good way to take responsibility for your property’s impact, mitigate it as much as possible and show guests you care while you’re at it.
Why is it important for hotels to offset carbon emissions?
ClimatePartner’s MD Tristan A. Foerster said in an interview that implementing a carbon offset scheme at your property has many benefits, even if it’s only part of an ancillary service.
What are your hotel’s main emission drivers?
Before you can start offsetting carbon emissions, examine your property’s departments to understand their rate of emissions and determine your overall carbon footprint. Many carbon offset schemes offer this first step as part of their service to help you understand which areas of your operation have the most potential for improvement.
Reducing operational costs
Once you know where to focus your attention, look for ways to reduce this area’s carbon impact. That can include changing your standard operating procedures or cutting back on certain actions. Many times this also leads to reduced expenses for your hotel.
Giving your hotel a responsible brand image
Extensive collaboration with a carbon offset scheme can earn your property the coveted ‘carbon neutral’ label. Foerster highlights that this is a valuable marketing asset. First, it shows that you are taking responsibility for your environmental footprint and are working to reduce it. Second, it demonstrates that you’ve acknowledged the problem and are supporting projects that can help solve it.
Offering green options to today’s traveller
Phocuswire recently found that “68% of travellers agree that they are trying to be more aware of sustainability-friendly travel brands to support”. If going carbon neutral isn’t achievable for you right now (which honestly is a stretch for many properties), eco-conscious ancillary options are a great alternative and a good way to let your guests be part of your green initiatives.
Below, you’ll find some ideas for eco-conscious deals to consider offering at your hotel.
Offer the chance to book a climate-neutral stay
First, pre-calculate the carbon impact of your rooms and services. Then you can look for ways to offset either their individual or their combined impact. The most straightforward way is to work with carbon offsetting organisations. Below are two examples of trusted groups you can reach out to.
ClimatePartner is well-respected in the travel industry and offers the following services:
- Calculation and analysis of carbon emissions
- Option to offset individual overnight stays
- Choice of around 20 internationally recognised climate protection projects to support
- Chance to become climate neutral by compensating your property’s total emissions
On this website, you can do a rough calculation of your carbon emissions and pick a green project to support.
This platform lets you:
- Input number of rooms, country and duration of stay for an approximate calculation
- Choose one of three gold standard climate protection projects
- Add the approximate impact of the trip to and from the destination to the calculation
Let guests plant a tree for their stay
Letting guests plant a tree for their stay is a simpler alternative to calculating and offsetting carbon. The offer is clear and easy to understand, which could make it more attractive to people quickly skimming your offers. It’s also a good way to test the waters and see if your guests are interested in this kind of deal.
This organisation supports reforestation, agroforestry and forest conservation initiatives by local communities. Accor Hotels has worked closely with them on their fantastic Plant for the Planet project in recent years.
This Dutch organisation provides a simple online tool you can use to pay for planting trees in places where it matters.
One Tree Planted works across North and South America, Asia and Africa to support local reforestation partners. They mainly work on restoring forests after natural catastrophes to create local jobs, rebuild communities and protect biodiversity.
There’s one more way to get trees planted, and that’s even before a guest arrives at your hotel. B’n’Tree partners with hotels to plant a tree for every booking the hotels receive. Many brands are already using it to promote direct bookings on their website and highlight their green initiatives at the same time.
Now it’s over to you. Which of these initiatives could you implement or expand at your property? Or do you have any other ideas for eco-friendly ancillary services you could offer in an upselling deal? Then why not give them a go. After all, every little bit counts!
To get more inspiration ideas on how to go green with upselling visit our blog and get a free eco inspiration deck with deal examples for your hotel.