Preferred Hotel Group’s newest sustainably-minded independent luxury brand, Beyond Green, offers travelers the ultimate eco-tourism experience, with commitments to social good and sustainability.
This new brand officially launched in April with a selection of properties around the world.
Costas Christ, Global Sustainability Expert and Executive Director of Beyond Green, along with Rick Stiffler, Senior Vice President of Global Sales – Leisure for Preferred Hotel Group answered a few questions with regards to how travel advisors can begin learning and advocating for sustainable travel with their clients, what travel advisors should know about the brand and how advisors can learn more about it.[RELATED_TRENDS
TravelPulse (TP): Could you explain a bit about the Beyond Green brand for advisors who might not be familiar with it?
Costas Christ (CC): Although the COVID-19 pandemic has posed a harsh reset for the tourism industry, travelers today have become accustomed to being able to access almost every part of our planet, from the remotest wilderness regions to celebrated cultural sites both far and near.
We have more places to go and more ways to get there than ever before in human history and with that comes an even greater responsibility to protect our beautiful, yet fragile planet, and to ensure that tourism delivers on its promise to improve and uplift local livelihoods in destinations around the world. This is also at the heart of Beyond Green. We are a portfolio of iconic hotels, resorts and lodges – ranging from The Brando in French Polynesia to Borgo Pignano in Tuscany, to the new Xigera Safari Lodge in Botswana and more – dedicated to sustainability leadership in action and impact.
We believe in walking the talk, that sustainable tourism is not about giving something up, but rather it is about gaining something more – the trip of a lifetime that gives back in positive ways to people and the planet, all wrapped together with great guest service and inspiring experiences.
TP: What are some ways that advisors can begin the conversation about responsible travel with their clients?
CC: Many travel advisors are already having these kinds of conversations. During the last 10 years, I have conducted dozens of travel advisor trainings focused on sustainable tourism leadership and best practices. What I have heard time and again during these trainings is travel advisors telling me, ‘We get it and we are also hearing more from our clients expressing interest in booking hotels and holidays that are environmentally friendly and benefit local communities.
The challenge is, how can we have an easy and reliable way to know who is doing it right?’ Beyond Green was created to answer that question.
As one of the experts that helped to create the global sustainable tourism criteria back in 2005, which is now part of the United Nations World Tourism Organization – along with a rigorous vetting process that includes sustainability property inspections – travel advisors can be confident that when they book with Beyond Green, they are at the leading edge of the transformation of the travel – by the people, for the planet…The best way to begin a conversation about sustainable travel is to share stories and examples with clients – whether it is a stay at Ashford Castle in Ireland, where the resident Experiences Ambassador curates authentic visits to learn about Ireland’s age-old customs and traditions or booking a bucket list trip to see mountain gorillas while staying at Wilderness Safaris Bisate Lodge, with its strong community engagement focus, in Rwanda.
It is all about having the trip of a lifetime and knowing that your holiday is also helping to make the world better.
TP: What kinds of educational opportunities are there for advisors to learn more about Beyond Green?
Rick Stiffler (RS): Over the last two months since officially launching Beyond Green, the sales team has been actively conducting travel agency webinars with their travel agency accounts around the world. These webinars have been hosted in seven different languages, providing a detailed look into the Beyond Green brand. Information shared throughout these educational sessions range from details on the new Beyond Green GDS Code – “LE” – standing for “Love Earth,” how to book a reservation on the Beyond Breen website (www.staybeyondgreen.com), information on the Beyond Green VIP Desk, and of course, insight into the many different sustainable initiatives taking place at our member hotels around the globe.
To ensure travel advisors are informed on every aspect of Beyond Green’s global portfolio on an ongoing basis, the sales team, which also oversees relationships under Preferred Hotels & Resorts, will continue to orchestrate these training seminars throughout the year, informing advisors on the key aspects of sustainable tourism and how to sell Beyond Green’s unique properties.
“Advisors seeking additional intel can visit the Beyond Green website for highly curated visual content of each member property and the experiences they offer, along with vivid stories about the world of sustainable travel through the brand’s Good Stories blog, where novel content, tips, and advice is added on a continuous basis.
TP: Are there any offers or incentives for advisors to book Beyond Green or to visit one of the brand’s properties?
RS: As part of the Preferred Hotel Group family of brands, advisors can enroll their clients in I Prefer to access meaningful benefits at more than 650 participating properties worldwide.
In addition to receiving standard I Prefer benefits such as priority early check-in and late check-out, complimentary room upgrades upon availability, free in-room Internet and more, advisors who book stays at participating Beyond Green hotels, resorts, and lodges gain access to exclusive bonus points-earning opportunities for their clients that are tied to participation in on-property enrichment activities, such as an Ecology Tour in San Juan Capistrano at The Ranch at Laguna Beach in California or a specialized lecture on the Gobi Desert at Three Camel Lodge in Mongolia.
Additionally, advisors can take advantage of the brand’s Journeyer’s Pick Package, available at 15 participating properties for bookings made by September 30, 2021 for travel through December 31, 2021.
Featuring the best available rate plus a unique local experience or meaningful memento exclusively available through this special offer, as well as 5,000 I Prefer bonus points, is the Journeyer’s Pick Package also offers a 3 percent bonus on top of the standard 10 percent agency commission for all bookings made via the LE chain code in the GDS, Beyond Green website or call center with a qualifying IATA/TIDS number.
TP: What are some Beyond Green hotels, resorts and lodges that advisors should consider for clients over the next few months or beyond?
CC: Right now is such a good time to start exploring the Beyond Green portfolio of hotels, resorts and lodges, because there is just so much to see and do. For example, Vermejo, A Ted Turner Reserve in New Mexico, provides guests with an opportunity to explore more than half a million acres of mountains, lakes, forests and fields, where the buffalo roam and the deer and the antelope really do play. It is like having an entire US national park to yourself and a small group of friends.
Most people have never heard of Zagori in northern Greece, but for savvy travelers that love to explore, I would jump at any chance to book a stay in Aristi Mountain Resort, located in one of the most spectacular areas of dramatic mountains, with dozens of walking trails and age-old authentic Greek villages nestled between ancient archeological sites and monuments.
For a quick trip to the tropics, along with snorkeling and diving on the second largest coral reef in the world, a less than two-hour flight from mainland USA brings you to Belize, and The Family Coppola Hideaways Turtle Inn in the sleepy village of Placencia. Or you can make it a Beyond Green grand slam Central America itinerary, combining Belize with Arenas Del Mar Beachfront and Rainforest Resort in Costa Rica, nestled beside Manuel Antonio National Park, and crowning it off with a stay at Islas Secas in Panama – a private island resort that is a true gem of luxury and tropical nature.
Just talking about this makes me want to go right now, and I have barely begun to scratch the surface of all the amazing Beyond Green properties united by an ethos of traveling gently while celebrating and benefiting nature, culture, and communities.
For more information about Beyond Green, please click here.