Hospitality brands leverage sustainable storytelling to attract consumers - Hindustan Times

Hospitality brands leverage sustainable storytelling to attract consumers

ByHT Brand Studio
Feb 08, 2022 04:43 PM IST

50% of consumers rank sustainability as a top value driver during the purchase process and 34% are willing to pay a premium, the Global Sustainability Study noted in its 2021 report

As the travel and tourism industry emerges from the severe impact of pandemic, it is gearing-up to deal with another challenge. Of attracting the ever-increasing number of environmentally conscious consumers that would buy from brands that align with their personal values of protecting the planet. Dubai-based Proact is helping such brands build competitive advantage through compelling and authentic sustainability stories that resonate with their customers.

Ritu Kant Ojha, Managing Director of Proact BrandComm
Ritu Kant Ojha, Managing Director of Proact BrandComm

50% of consumers rank sustainability as a top value driver during the purchase process and 34% are willing to pay a premium, the Global Sustainability Study noted in its 2021 report. Proact believes that since consumers appreciate green, social and sustainable initiatives more than ever before, it has opened up an opportunity to build long-term business viability and differentiate from the competition. “The customers are more aware than ever before and can see-through green-washing. Well-crafted sustainability stories across customer touchpoints can not only build a positive image but also bring in additional revenues,” says Ritu Kant Ojha, Managing Director of Proact BrandComm.

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Proact is a pioneer in sustainability communications and specialist in social-impact storytelling. “While majority of the sophisticated travellers these days seek authentic, ‘green’ experiences, as an escape from the stress of urban life, they are increasingly looking for a deeper meaning in vacation experiences,” says Ritu Kant, a journalist with over two decades of experience across global media brands. 

Opportunities In Sustainability Storytelling
His interactions with hundreds of government officials and entrepreneurs from 100 plus countries during Expo 2020 in Dubai helped Ritu Kant figure that not only private firms but even cities and countries are competing for the tag of sustainable destination with overlapping narratives. “The similar sounding stories make it challenging to outshine and leave consumers confused. We are advising brands to go beyond uploading ‘green certifications’ and look at the bigger picture and work on overall brand story. Given how conscious consumers are judging brands, and are publicly being vocal about it, the positioning challenges even for the well-established brands is massive,” Ritu Kant explains. With clearly visible signs that sustainable tourism is set to explode, it is a tremendous white-space opportunity for agile organisations to take an early lead. “And smarter brands are already working overtime on sustainability positioning,” Ritu Kant says.

"Even the firms that have taken major steps in energy  and biodiversity conservation, preserving cultural heritage, ethical sourcing, water recycling etc, are not telling the story in a coherent way. In the digital age the customer touch points are multiple. Whether the customer will click the ‘buy-button’ or not depends significantly on how, where and in what form the brand tells its story," he further adds. 

Connecting The Dots
Proact, founded in 2013, evolved from a full-service communications firm offering public relations, crisis communications and media relations to now working with brands across UAE, India and Europe helping them with sustainability communications. Explaining why Proact is the preferred agency for climate conscious brands, Ritu Kant says, "we help brands turn their positive social and environmental impact into brand value through a variety of content tools. Be it an ebook, web page, microsite, product journey map, influencer post, social media content, press mention or even a coffee table book, our customised offerings are cost effective and easily implementable. And we have our in-house capability to deliver on the mandate which saves time for the clients to focus on their business instead of haggling with different consultants.” 

"The off-the-shelf marketing strategies and just adding a sustainability web-page on the portal is no more effective. The brand has to go much deeper. It starts from understanding the consumers. We have developed a proprietary four step process and based on that develop owned media content for brands," he adds.

Ritu Kant, authored the critically acclaimed, Real Conversations in Digital Age that was released worldwide in December, 2019. Passionate about sustainability, he founded a global digital news platform - WIYLD - focussed on sustainability, green innovation, sustainable finance, and renewable energy. He believes the sustainability trend presents a never-before opportunity for airlines, hotels, tour operators and tourism boards to differentiate products and services they offer on the basis of sustainability and hence attract more and premium customers. 

Disclaimer: This is a company release. No HT journalist is involved in creation of this content.

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