7 in 10 Consumers Avoided a Travel Destination or Transportation Option Due to Inauthentic Sustainability Commitments

New global research from Expedia Group Media Solutions spotlights growing consumer interest, motivations, and key decision drivers for sustainable tourism 

SEATTLE, April 20, 2022 – New research released today by Expedia Group™ Media Solutions, the global travel advertising platform connecting marketers with millions of travelers across the Expedia Group brands, reveals that although 90% of consumers look for sustainable options when traveling, 70% feel overwhelmed by starting the process of being a more sustainable traveler. To make more responsible travel choices, consumers are seeking sustainability information from trusted travel resources and providers, including destinations, lodging providers, transportation providers, travel agencies, and booking sites.  

Around the world, consumers are already making more mindful decisions when traveling, such as visiting local cultural or historical sites (46%), using more environmentally friendly transportation options (43%), and traveling to smaller, lesser-known destinations (41%), and more want to do so in the future. Intent to make these same choices on future trips increased nearly 10% on average, compared to prior trip behavior, demonstrating the growing opportunity in sustainable travel.  

Consumer attention toward sustainable tourism has also resulted in higher expectations for destinations and travel brands. Seven in 10 consumers have avoided a destination or transportation option because they felt it was not truly committed to sustainable practices, illustrating the importance of authenticity and transparency around sustainability commitments and outcomes.  

“As the industry continues rebuilding efforts and travelers prepare for their next trip, there is an increased focus on more meaningful travel experiences, including sustainable tourism,” said Monya Mandich, Vice President of Marketing at Expedia Group Media Solutions. “Travelers are looking for ways to minimize their environmental impact while traveling and make a positive impact on the destinations and communities they visit, and they are turning to travel brands for inspiration and guidance to inform their decisions. The new research provides insight into how consumers are thinking about sustainable travel and the opportunities for destinations and travel brands to authentically spotlight sustainability information and initiatives to engage and capture demand.”  

The Price of Sustainable Travel  

  • 74% of consumers said it costs too much to be more sustainable when traveling, but half of consumers would be willing to pay more for transportation, activities or lodging if the option was more sustainable.  
  • Nearly 70% of consumers are willing to sacrifice convenience to be a more sustainable traveler.  
  • Nearly 3 in 4 consumers would choose a destination, lodging or transportation option that is committed to supporting the local community and culture, even if it was more expensive. 

Opportunities in Sustainable Travel 

  • Two-thirds of consumers want to see more information on sustainability from lodging and transportation providers.  
  • Half of consumers want to see more sustainability information from destinations, tourism boards, or visitor resource groups. 
  • 54% of consumers want to see sustainable travel information in listings and information pages on travel sites.  
  • Recommendations for locally owned businesses and restaurants at or near a destination, ​and transportation options that have lower environmental impact (45%), ​are the leading types of sustainable travel information consumers want to see when planning a trip.  

Key Takeaways 

  • Sustainable travel information can be overwhelming and confusing. Travel brands should make it easy for consumers to understand, leverage visually appealing formats, and show the impacts of responsible travel choices. 
  • Consumers want to know that travel brands are committed to sustainability, not just checking a box. Backing up sustainable practices and messaging with proof points and data can help drive consideration and minimize skepticism. 
  • Consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable travel options, so illustrating the value and positive impact of making more conscientious choices can help make the decision even easier. 

For additional global insights on consumer attitudes, values, and motivations in making conscientious choices, download the full Sustainable Travel study and stay tuned for additional regional insights.  

Check out the Media Solutions blog and connect on Twitter and LinkedIn for more travel trends and insights from custom research and more than 300 petabytes of exclusive global Expedia Group travel intent and demand data. 

Research Methodology 

Conducted in partnership with Wakefield Research, the study included an online survey of 11,000 representative, general population adults ages 18+ in 11 global markets – Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, the UK and U.S. – fielded between February 11 and March 6, 2022. 

About Expedia Group Media Solutions   

Expedia Group™ Media Solutions, the advertising organization of Expedia Group, offers industry expertise and digital marketing solutions that allow brands to reach, engage, and influence its qualified audience of travelers around the world. Through its vast network of leading travel brands and global points of sale, Expedia Group Media Solutions provides marketing partners with proprietary data-driven insights about traveler behaviors during every stage of the purchase journey, along with dynamic advertising solutions, to deliver strategic campaigns and measurable results. For more information, visit www.advertising.expedia.com.    


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