For each accommodation we need a making a difference section to explain 'how this holiday makes a difference'.
Objectives of making a difference sections
To explain to the traveller in real, tangible
terms how this accommodation –
- Benefits local people (all product)
- Supports conservation (if relevant)
- Minimises waste, energy use, other environmental impacts (all product)
- Minimises any negative cultural impacts (if relevant)
Tip 1: Avoid generalities, we need to know specifics!
Tip 2: We must feature how we support people AND minimise environmental impacts
Tip 3: Read the making a difference paragraphs on the site for inspiration
It's marketing too!
Write them in such a way that makes the trip appealing! Tell travellers the ‘backstory’ of the accommodation. These holidays should reconnect travellers with local people and communities so these making a difference sections should be part of this, introducing the local guides and produce and giving a taste of the trip.
We market more ‘locally distinctive’ and ‘authentic’ holidays. Authentic travel is about –
- Real experiences based around local cultures and lives, not experiences created and packaged up for tourism
- Meaningful connection with local people, traditions, food, culture
- The ability to be part of, and to contribute to a place
- The sense of belonging and of making a difference
Tip 4: Use the MAD section to bring to life the authenticity of the holidays by making it as personal as possible – e.g. the name of the guide, owner of the home stay – unlike mass tourism we aim to re-connect the traveller directly with local people & cultures.
Tip 5: Storytelling is the most powerful form of marketing we have. Tell the story behind the brochure, and of the people involved in this tourism venture. Make it personal.
Getting tourists involved.
Responsible comes from the word to respond. It means to be open to your surroundings, to react to them, and to be part of it in some small way.
Tip 6: Where possible we should encourage members to identify how tourists can participate and be actively involved in making a difference. For example –
- We have joined forces with Kasbah du Toubkal and Room to Read to assist in providing educational books for schools in Morocco. If you would like to offer your support to the project, please bring with you any educational books that will appeal to students from ages 5-18.
- Guests to the house are encouraged to bring unwanted clothing which is welcomed by families especially in the nearby countryside. The practice is socially acceptable because of the important Islamic principle of 'sadaqua', or alms-giving.
Ideally, each making a difference section should be specific to that holiday, with details that reflect the destination such as local sites you encourage travellers to visit, local goods and produce used at the accommodation and activities offered. Also, making a difference sections should highlight key local issues (such as water use, unemployment or conservation) and should explain how this holiday combats these issues. Don’t be tempted to overstate the benefits of the accommodation (greenwash) as any misrepresentations will be spotted by travellers and reported back to us in the reviews.
Use the following questions as a guide for the kind of information we are looking for in the making a difference sections. Please elaborate and give details.
How do you support the local community? Are you involved in local fundraising events or raise awareness? If yes, please give details.
Do you support charities? If so which ones? What do they do? Do you donate money on a regular basis? If yes how much?
Do you volunteer? If so, how often? Do inform your guests about the charity? If so how? Please give details
Do you encourage guests to visit local attractions, eat in local restaurants and buy local produce? If so how?
In what ways do you encourage your guests to engage with the local community?
Do you encourage your guests to use public transport or local services? If so how and which ones?
Do you employ local staff? If so how many? Tell us about them.
Do you train your staff? How has your training/employment benefited the lives of local people?
Do you buy local produce? If so where from? Do you use local produce in guests’ meals?
Do you use local services? If so which? (builders/electricians/plumbers). Do you always use the same people?
Do you get your electricity from a green energy scheme? If so which one? Is it hydro electric or wind turbines? Do you have your own energy source? Is it solar power, wind turbines or hydro? Please give details
How do you minimise energy use? Do you use energy efficient light bulbs and appliances? If so which ones? Do you turn off lights and turn appliances off standby when not in use? Do you have locks on rooms that turn off appliances when guests go out?
Do you collect rain water for use in the garden? How many water butts do you have?
Do you have showers and half flush toilets?
Do you have a grey water recycling system? If so please give details
Do you have a laundry scheme? How often do you change sheets and towels?
Do you use eco cleaning products? If so which ones? Do you use these in guests’ rooms or just your areas? Do you use eco washing up liquid? Do you use eco balls or an eco washing powder for laundry?
Do you cultivate your garden without the use of pesticides and fertilisers? Please give details
Do you encourage wildlife in our garden or farmland? If so how? Do you have a pond? Do you have bird boxes/bat boxes?
Do you leave an area of the garden uncut to encourage wild flowers? If so please give details.
Do you compost organic and garden waste? Please give details
Do you recycle? If so what do you recycle? Do you recycle guests waste? Do you encourage guests to separate waste for recycling?
Do you support local conservation projects? If so which ones? How do you support them? Do you encourage guests to support them? If so how?
Do you run a paper free office? Do you use recycled stationary? Do you work from home to avoid transport pollution? Please give details
Do you give your guests information about the conservation of the natural environment? If so how?
How did the buildings construction minimise impacts on the environment? Is it built from local materials, was it restored or built in a traditional, local way?
For inspiration, check out this mad-
Yorkshire self catering accommodation sleeping 4, England