Reject your hotel towel change and earn travel loyalty points? Travelers are interested
April 29th, 2024, Hoang Nguyen

Reject your hotel towel change and earn travel loyalty points? Travelers are interested

  • 80% of travelers express an interest in discounts or loyalty points for making eco-friendly travel choices
  • Young travelers show greater enthusiasm and interest in sustainable incentives and travel recommendations

Sustainable travel has become a big buzz word in the travel industry in recent years and a new YouGov poll reveals that it is a key travel priority in 2024. More than two-thirds (69%) of US travelers (i.e. those who plan to travel between now and April 2025) say that environmental practices are important when choosing travel options.

The focus on sustainability in travel is particularly pronounced among younger travelers. In fact, 85% of travelers aged 18-34 think it’s important to consider sustainability when booking travel options, compared to just 59% of those 55 and over. This trend will emerge as a recurring theme throughout findings, with younger travelers showing greater enthusiasm and interest in various aspects of sustainable travel.

Eva Stewart, YouGov's global travel sector head, sees a golden opportunity here: "The travel industry can leverage the growing interest in sustainable travel, especially among younger travelers, by implementing strategies that not only promote environmental responsibility but also enhance business profitability. Putting insights to action is key.”

Sustainable choices and traveler rewards

The YouGov poll delves deeply to explore traveler views on sustainable incentives and travel bundles. Four in five (80%) travelers express an interest in discounts or loyalty points in exchange for making eco-friendly choices during their trips. This could include actions like using less water, opting for energy-saving options in their accommodations, or declining unnecessary towel changes. Once again, younger travelers lead the charge, with 87% of 18–34-year-olds interested in such incentives compared to 73% of those 55 and over.

Travelers also seem keen on sustainable travel bundles. More than half (56%) indicate they’re more likely to consider booking travel accommodations that emphasize sustainable incentives such as transport passes or discounts on eco-friendly activities, with interest rising to 72% among travelers ages 18-34.

Expert view with Eva: ”Travel brands can leverage loyalty programs for immediate impact. Given that 80% of travelers show interest in discounts or loyalty points for eco-friendly travel choices, loyalty programs could reward travelers for making sustainable decisions. This would not only incentivize sustainable behavior, but also encourage repeat business, fostering a loyal customer base that values environmental stewardship.

Learn more about the sustainability in travel survey

Guiding travelers on the sustainable path

The findings present a strong opportunity for travel brands to not only cater to this growing demand but also to play a lead role in steering travelers toward sustainable and responsible travel. That’s because, travelers not only seem interested in sustainable choices, but also appear receptive to guidance on how to travel sustainably.

The survey reveals that roughly seven in 10 (71%) travelers express interest in sustainable travel recommendations. The top types of recommendations they want include:

  • Eco-friendly accommodation suggestions that align with comfort preferences (42%)
  • Recommendations for sustainable transportation options based on their itinerary (40%)
  • Personalized tips on how to travel more sustainably based on their travel habits (38%)
  • Younger travelers are even more receptive to this type of recommendation, with 50% of 18-34-year-olds seeking personalized recommendations for sustainable travel that aligns with their individual travel styles.

Expert view with Eva
: “Tailoring customer communications with targeted recommendations around sustainability and environment-friendly behaviors. As many travelers show interest in receiving sustainable travel recommendations, travel companies could weave tips into their trip confirmation communications. This would not only meet customer interest for greater sustainable travel knowledge but would also position any such company as a leader in sustainable travel, potentially attracting a broader market segment.”

What’s on the horizon?

The YouGov poll underscores that sustainability is no longer a marginal concern, but an expectation from many travelers. Tourists, particularly those from younger generations, are demanding eco-friendly options and actively seeking guidance in making sustainable choices.

By offering attractive incentives for eco-friendly choices and positioning themselves as guides and leaders in how to travel sustainably, travel brands can win over environmentally conscious travelers and provide a responsible travel experience for future generations.

Get in touch to learn more about sustainable travel or launch your own travel survey


YouGov Surveys: Serviced provide quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. This study was conducted online between April 19-21, 2024, with a nationally representative sample of 1,193 adults (aged 18+ years) in the US (of whom 651 plan on traveling in the next year), using a questionnaire designed by YouGov. Data figures have been weighted by age, race, gender, education, and region to be representative of all adults in the US (18 years or older), and reflect the latest population estimates from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.