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Sustainability communication in hospitality in peripheral tourist destinations: Implications for marketing strategies

Margarida Custódio Santos (School of Management, Hospitality and Tourism, University of Algarve, Faro, Portugal)
Célia Veiga (School of Management, Hospitality and Tourism, University of Algarve, Faro, Portugal)
Paulo Águas (School of Management, Hospitality and Tourism, University of Algarve, Faro, Portugal)
José António C. Santos (School of Management, Hospitality and Tourism, University of Algarve, Faro, Portugal)

Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes

ISSN: 1755-4217

Article publication date: 2 December 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study posited that tourism companies and more especially hotels located in tourist destinations dependent on air transportation, need to commit more strongly to sustainability because of their greater distance from the main outbound markets. The research focused on determining whether hotels’ star rating, location, age and size influence their sustainability communication and on identifying the characteristics of the messages used in hotels’ sustainability communication.

Design/methodology/approach

To accomplish these objectives, a sequential mixed methods design with three interconnected phases was used, including quantitative data and content analysis.

Findings

Less than 10% of hotels located in a tourist destination strongly dependent on air transportation and peripheral to the main outbound markets actually communicate about sustainable practices on their websites. Communication practices are dependent on hotels’ star rating, location, size and age.

Research limitations/implications

The study limitations are that it was conducted in only one destination and that the hotel websites’ layouts are heterogeneous, which means that the analysis and comparison of the relevant information is extremely challenging. In addition, the research only considered hotels or similar lodgings, leaving out other types of accommodation.

Practical implications

Hotels in tourist destinations dependent on air transportation need to adjust their sustainability communication in response to the trend among tourists toward greater consciousness about the environmental impacts of their individual tourism-related choices. Hotels also need to provide more accurate and detailed information on sustainable practices, with both affective and rational appeals that focus on tourists’ experiences.

Originality/value

The study was conducted in a destination dependent on air transportation and peripheral to the primary outbound markets.

Keywords

Citation

Santos, M.C., Veiga, C., Águas, P. and Santos, J.A.C. (2019), "Sustainability communication in hospitality in peripheral tourist destinations: Implications for marketing strategies", Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, Vol. 11 No. 6, pp. 660-676. https://doi.org/10.1108/WHATT-08-2019-0049

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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