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How To Design A Benefit Trip for Climate

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Photo from Travel Yogi’s benefit trip to Iceland.

For many travel businesses working with thin margins,  adding climate expenses into the budget feels impossible. Yet, the interest and desire to make a meaningful contribution is palpable. Recently one ATTA member came up with a fresh idea for how to help the cause without adding more cost to the bottom line: a benefit trip. In this article, learn how they did it.

The Travel Yogi decided to create a new Tomorrow’s Air benefit trip and invited brand partners prAna, YogaWorks, and Icelandair to help promote it. The Travel Yogi founder Jen Hoddevik said, “We wanted to do something meaningful, but as a small business, it is hard to dig into our bottom line as we would if we were offering a straight cash donation or adding fees to our guests.”

Remarkably, The Travel Yogi’s decision to focus a benefit trip on climate stands out from the pack when it comes to donations of this type. As a recent article by Andreas Karelas writing for The Hill noted, “according to Charity Navigator, the causes that receive the most philanthropic dollars are health, human services, and education,” while climate change receives less than two percent of all charitable contributions globally. Here in the U.S. climate receives less than one percent of all charitable giving, according to a recent McKinsey report.

Here’s The Travel Yogi’s step-by-step for how to create your own climate benefit trip:

  1. Pick a destination and time of year that typically sells well for you.
  2. Identify a cause that is particularly meaningful to your business. For The Travel Yogi, climate is a key concern, and supporting the scale-up of carbon removal with permanent storage is a priority. Tomorrow’s Air was a great fit for this concept not only for its focus on carbon removal but also because of its willingness and ability to help market the trip to its consumer audience. 
  3. Add a new date to that destination, following your usual itinerary.
  4. Reach out to complementary partners to help bring down costs and examine aspects of the trip where cost savings are possible. Through partners, The Travel Yogi was able to secure airfare for guests through Icelandair along with merchandise giveaways from prAna and YogaWorks who also agreed to support marketing efforts. The combination of partners was a large reason the project was appealing, as each partner was interested in getting in front of the others’ audiences. Partner involvement along with other cost-saving adjustments helped ensure the trip would be able to dedicate funding to carbon removal.
  5. Plan campaign promotion dates and script social and blog post content for each partner. In this case, the message was, “The Travel Yogi has teamed up with amazing brands prAna, YogaWorks, and Icelandair to offer one winner a chance to win an adventure for two to Iceland! All proceeds will be dedicated to Tomorrow’s Air, supporting climate education and carbon removal.”

Jen noted, “Running this entire yoga adventure as a benefit trip added a beautiful dimension to the whole experience. It mattered to the people who booked it that the proceeds were going to support carbon removal and climate education. This element also lent itself to differentiated promotional copy which stood out for potential travelers.  It was a win-win!”

Although it wasn’t clear from the beginning how successful the project would be, in the end, this first-of-its-kind benefit trip for Tomorrow’s Air was able to fund an order for three tons of carbon removal. The benefit for climate action extends far beyond just that order, as the campaign itself promoted the concept of carbon removal and climate innovations to new audiences. 

Learn more about The Travel Yogi and the company’s climate strategy here

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