towards sustainable tourism communication?

My Desination created the Progrès-Score, to make social media more virtuous

In tourism, the impact of activities on the climate is of great concern, especially among destination managers. If digital pollution is not insignificant and becomes a real topic of discussion, it is still very far from that of transport. Wanting to promote committed and positive communication, the marketing agency MyDestination created the Progrès-Score. Like the nutri-score, a note is given to the communication of a destination based on the importance of the promotion it makes of sustainable tourism. So will sustainable tourism be advertised on social media tomorrow?

My Desination created the Progrés-Score, to make social media a more virtuous and sustainable tourism - Depositphotos @cienpies
My Desination created the Progrés-Score, to make social media a more virtuous and sustainable tourism - Depositphotos @cienpies

My Desination created the Progrés-Score, to make social media a more virtuous and sustainable tourism – Depositphotos @cienpies

Tourism will have to be sustainable or it will no longer be, this is the mantra that the whole sector should say to itself every day.

While the sector alone represents about “8% of humanity’s total greenhouse gas emissions, three quarters of which come from transport,“to last, the business will have to acquire virginity.

Pending the arrival of the hydrogen plane or a shift in the sector towards greater sobriety, sustainable tourism is one of the exit doors that everyone must take.

For 50 years, the IPCC is warning us of the situation and we thought it was time to put things right reduce the impact of digital technology in tourism,“enthusiastically presents Sébastien Repéto, founder and director of My Destination.

While Arcep announces that the electricity consumption of communication networks could double by 2035 due to the multiplication of uses, it is time to act and fast!

My destination, whose field of action remains digital communication, has developed a new tool: your progress score!

Social media: what is the progress score?

If 77% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions come from mobility, digital pollution is less and less harmless, but above all it continues to grow.

Precisely to reduce this weight of the digital footprint of destinations, passionate about videos and photos on social networks, My Destination has worked on a new way of approaching tourism communication.

Our idea is of putting digital technology at the service of responsible tourism, a sort of IT for Green (sustainable information technology).

With our business we can reach several million people, including as many opportunities to raise awareness and change behavior “, says the highly committed boss of the digital agency.

Once the fine words and testament were put on display, how did the My Destination teams fare? Since 2019, the question about digital pollution and the creation of qualitative indicators has emerged, rather than judging only on quantitative indicators.

Two years later, a pandemic and some brainstorming sessions in Bordeaux, the ax fell. To use a well-oiled marketing mechanism, based on the nutri score in the food sector, the idea is to evaluate the digital performance of destinations.

You don’t really understand, Sébastien Repéto explains it better than me.

This is a digital performance analysis and management tool for responsible tourism. In this first version, the Facebook and Instagram accounts of the destinations we have as customers were analyzed, followed by an overall score.

The score is made on the basis of 4 indicators: interactions (the relationship between those affected and their interactions), speeches held to be “responsible”, video performance and digital broadcasts.

As part of the Progrès-Score, more than 10,000 publications they have been manually analyzed, this time in recent months, by the agency’s teams.

Progress-Score: Is destination communication so sustainable?

Progrés-Score, the social media provider for responsible tourism - My Destination
Progrés-Score, the social media provider for responsible tourism - My Destination

Progrés-Score, the social media provider for responsible tourism – My Destination

Once the posts on social networks have been scrutinized, the speeches are evaluated according to the 4 indicators.

An overall average is given to the destination and then labeled, in the form of a nutri-score, to judge the social media strategy.

We analyze performance according to criteria that go beyond digital, but which take responsibility into account. The notation is symbolically easy to understand, like a DPE or others,“Explains Sébastien Repéto.

Each indicator is assigned a score between 0 and 3, to know the level of commitment of the campaign, then an overall score ranging from A to F, in a shade of green, is assigned.

The great innovation is based above all on the question of the commitment of the messages conveyed, for a more sustainable tourism.

Basically, we judge whether a speech is very busy, busy, neutral, or if it goes against the strategy of the destination.

The more the territories will educate on the issue of waste, raise awareness on the protection of natural areas or on the promotion of soft mobility, the higher the score (3/3).

At the same time, a zero point is assigned, in case an activity with a high carbon impact is highlighted or when the animal cause is questioned. A rather rare phrase.

After a few months of analysis, the partner territories received their Progress-Score.

Of the 30 destinations analyzed, 37% of speeches are considered engaged, therefore with a score ranging from 2 to 3. There is already a good base of work, even if the room for improvement is evident.

If three territories have received B as an overall vote, the overwhelming majority are classified into C and D. Progress is therefore possible.

Social Media: What About the Impact of Digital Pollution?

On the subject of digital pollution, the agency did not investigate the location of servers, content, etc.

First of all, because just to find the weight of a Mark Zurckerberg tweet or media post, you have to hold on.

No data exists on the web. To evaluate digital pollution, we created coefficients with our methodology, based on the work of the Shift Project “, continues the founder of the agency.

Attention, the Progress-Score does not provide a carbon footprint of social networks, but an estimate of the volume. Despite everything, this first study shows that the impact is not negligible.

Furthermore, My Destination is already working on an evaluation, using the same grids and principles, of the websites of tourist destinations.

The activity the social media of a tourist destination represent a few tons of CO2, from 4 to 6 tons per year, on Facebook and Instagram, for several million affected people.

To put in perspective, a round trip Paris-New York emits 1 tonne of CO2, that is, approximately the total annual emissions to which we should limit ourselves to meet the objectives set by the government, to combat global warming.

A New York family walking in Bordeaux will pollute more than a year of activity of the digital communication department of the CRT Nouvelle Aquitaine.

Afterwards, in order not to pollute, you shouldn’t touch anyone with social media campaigns, that’s not the goal. It is possible to change behavior and thus have a much better carbon footprint locally,“imagines Sébastien Repéto.

Once the parenthesis of the ecological impact has been closed, it is therefore possible for the agency to analyze more in depth this or that item of the Progress-Score, in order to optimize the work of the communication teams.

At a time when oil prices are on the rise, sometimes approaching all-time highs, the issue of mobility will be central throughout the summer.

The territories will have their cards to play by promoting more respectful journeys such as the train or the bicycle, thus improving their rating.

Progress-Score: which avenues of work?

As you may have guessed, the challenge is not to make marketing or communications managers feel guilty, but rather to make them aware of the strengths and weaknesses of their work.

We want them to become aware of things and think well about their subjects.

If digital is to become a servant of responsible tourism, then we need to maintain performance“, remembers Sébastien Repéto.

Even if sustainable tourism is promoted in publications, this shouldn’t generate fewer views, quite the opposite. Furthermore, for La Rochelle Tourisme, the result is encouraging because the interaction rate has not decreased, but rather has progressed.

After that, the question must be part of the territory’s DNA. Communication shouldn’t be judgmental, but be helpful.

Especially since community managers sometimes find it difficult to approach the subject, for fear of being branded as a greenwasher and also because the actions are not always in line with the statements.

The challenge is not to mask the whims of regions, cities or departments, but to ensure that digital communication sticks to their tourism strategy. The latter must remain the referee during the communication.

After a few demonstrations, the feedback is more than positive for My Destination. The agency does not intend to stop there.

Many developments are expected, such as extending the rating system to the digital ecosystem or changing the way posts are rated, bringing technology, through algorithms.

The next Progress-Score is scheduled for 2022, with an analysis of the 2021 posts. In the meantime, we are declining it over shorter periods for some destinations,“concludes Sébastien Repéto.


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