5 Simple Ways Travel Agencies Can Support Sustainable Travel [+PDF Checklist]

January 28, 2022

If you’re a travel professional who feels a tension between your love of travel and care for our shared earth, I’m here with good news: Traveling can be an expression of care toward a destination’s communities, ecologies, and local economies.

Those who are wanting to orient their travel habits toward greater sustainability are among the majority. According to a 2021 Virtuoso poll, 82% of travelers reported the pandemic kindled a desire for more responsible travel, and 70% said that sustainable travel enhanced their vacation experience.1

Traveling can be an expression of care toward a destination’s communities, ecologies, and local economies.

But it can feel overwhelming to know where to start. With the help of expert advisors who specialize in sustainable travel, we’ll walk you through a few simple and digestible steps and actions you can take regardless of your specialty.

These basic steps are intended to begin or continue your journey toward promoting more sustainable travel to your clients. It’s essentially a “Sustainable Travel Agency Practices 101”

Let's dive in.

A Sustainable Travel Checklist You Can Brand to Your Agency

You may not know it, but here at HAR, we think that free travel agent forms are the cat’s pajamas. There are a plethora of sustainable travel checklists out there. What makes this one different is that you can brand it to your travel agency and share it with your clients (electronically of course!)

You can take our form for a test drive below!

Advisors Share Their Favorite Sustainable Agency Practices

Your agency may have some sustainability practices in place without you even realizing it. Or you may have some sustainable travel expertise or practices in place, but don’t bother communicating them to your client.

If you’re not sure where to start, a good place to begin is to take a look at what you’re peers are already doing! Here’s are a few ideas from Tiffany Watt, Owner Advisor with DPP Travel, and Anne Blanchard, Travel Advisor at Travel Only. You can shamelessly borrow from sustainable-conscious advisors and adapt it for your agency!

1. Join the ATTA

The Adventure Travel and Trade Association (ATTA) is tops when it comes to sustainable travel. They work with suppliers who are sustainably-minded suppliers from all over the globe. (If you want to get a taste, check out this video from my trip to ATTA's Adventure Elevate.)

Better yet? You can test the waters with a free community membership, and if you decide to upgrade to professional-level membership you'll probably pay your membership dues with the Pro Deals that come along with it :).

2. Defer to paperless

If your clients need to opt-out of print communications (marketing emails, itinerary packages, etc) consider deferring to electronic documents. This way, they'd need to opt in to print communication instead. I often need to opt-out of receiving paper correspondence. But I’d much rather that businesses defer to electronic communications and make me opt into receiving paper mail if I so choose. If this is an option for your agency, it’s definitely one to consider! Make your clients ask for paper documents if they prefer them!

3. Work from home

In pre-pandemic days, this one was more relevant. But if you find yourself going into the office more than you need (or asking your ICs or employees to drive into work daily) take stock to see if you can cut down on communities by offering a home/office hybrid model, or working 100% from home. The bonus is that your advisors will also love having the choice, and you’ll love saving on overhead.

4. Offer virtual consultations:

Again, if you’re storefront, offer virtual consultations even if your clients are local. This cuts down on emissions (and offers you more quality time with your sweatpants).

5. Offer INtentional Client Gifts

Advisors love to offer clients gifts as a token of their appreciation. Here are a few ways to show your love and avoid the waste stream:

  1. Focus on useable and reusable: Watt also recommends advisors, “offer client gifts/items that are reusable for their trip, and also in everyday life.” Focus on items your traveling will use (over and over and over) whether it be a quality portable phone charger, earbuds, an insulated mug, or another travel favorite.
  2. Offer the Gift of Carbon Offsetting: If you want to avoid the waste stream, or you know your clients don't want another canvas tote bag no matter how amazing it is you can buy them the gift of nothing! By nothing, what I mean is offering carbon offsetting from the Adventure Travel Trade Association-incubated program Tomorrow’s Air.
  3. Support local. If you want to offer your client a gift, offer them something that's locally made regardless of the destination .. . whether it be chocolate truffles or a hand-printed thank you card. In addition to gifts, Watt extends this practice to her events. suggestions above, Blanchard promotes local businesses as she builds relationships with her clients, “I host a local meetup group where I invite clients/potential clients to attend events where I promote intimate, small-group experiences that get us out in nature, exploring new sights while building relationships at the same time. I also like to include food and fun whenever I can, with themes to add to that "vacation-vibe". If promoting an Italian tour, I plan a Gelato Party for us to enjoy!”

6. Brand HAR's sustainable travel checklist with your clients To Your agency!

Another great way to promote your burgeoning interest in sustainable travel is to embed this stellar sustainable travel checklist on your site for your client to download and NOT print ;) Better yet, you can brand it to your agency. Read on!

Customize HAR's Sustainable Travel Checklist for Your Site!

You can definitely share our sustainable travel as is. But if you want to go the extra mile to brand it to your agency, it will truly only take you a few minutes. Here's how to do it:

  1. Find our Sustainable Travel Checklist in our JotForm template hub.
  2. Check out our video tutorial on how to customize forms (the example isn't this exact form, but the process is the same!)
  3. Emails: Take a look at the notification and/or autoresponder emails. You'll need to add your email/name and maybe some less template-y text.
  4. Thank you page: Add your logo or some thank you text specific to your agency.
  5. Embed to your site and/or share your link with your clients!

Have any questions about it? Just give us a holler at Hello@HostAgencyReveiws.com! If you want to use our form on your site, all we ask is that you link back to this article! 

That's a Wrap! (For Now)

Thank you so much to Tiffany Watt, Owner Advisor with DPP Travel, and Anne Blanchard, Travel Advisor at Travel Only who weighed in on some of their favorite strategies to promote their sustainability practices to clients!

If you have some great tips on how to keep your agency green, please leave comments below! I plan to continue this conversation with a follow-up article on how to qualify vendor's sustainability initiatives, so stay tuned!!!!


  1. Source: Travel Weekly
About the Author
Mary Stein - Host Agency Reviews

Mary Stein

Mary Stein has been working as a writer and editor for Host Agency Reviews since 2016. She loves supporting travel advisors on their entrepreneurial journey and is inspired by their passion, tenacity, and creativity. Mary is also a mom, dog lover, fiction writer, hiker, and a Great British Bake Off superfan.