Anders is a 23-year-old marketing student currently completing the master’s programme at Umeå University, Sweden where his main interest lies in the areas of branding and marketing communication. Before arriving in Umeå Anders studied in his hometown at Karlstads university, Sweden holding a bachelor degree in business administration. In his leisure time Anders likes to relax with listening to or playing music, watching old classic movies and going to the gym.
Elena is a German 25-year old marketing student about to finish her two-year-master program at Umeå University in Sweden.
She is particularly interested in sustainability issues in marketing studies and how these can be communicated. She has completed her Bachelor’s degree in Germany and has been on studies abroad to Australia and Czech Republic. She loves travelling and getting to know new people and their cultures. During summer she likes wakeboarding and in winter snowboarding. Besides of that she’s been doing Ninjutsu for a couple of years by now.
Research Goals and Findings
Anders and Elena used Sawtooth Software’s ACBC module to write their master thesis at Umeå Business School of Business and Economics at Umeå University in Sweden.
Tourism as one of the biggest industries in the world has been changing continuously and rapidly. The publishing of the Brundtland Report in 1987 has accelerated the discussion about combining economic, social and environmental factors – the so-called triple-bottom line of sustainability. This lead to pressure from different stakeholder groups like policy makers or non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) whereas one important group appears to be missing out in this context: the customers of mass tourism products and thus the demand side within the economic equation. Tourists have been observed to be overall reluctant to pay price premiums for more sustainable travel alternatives and seem to “take vacation” from their everyday green behavior.
The goal of this study was researching the two marketing tools of brands and eco-labels and the influence they can have individually and in combination on the tourist’s decision making delimitated to the context of charter tourism in Sweden.
In order to achieve this purpose, a mixed-method research design was used combining qualitative expert interviews from direct business representatives and a quantitative data collection utilizing the ACBC module in order to survey tourists’ different brand and eco-labeled charter package alternatives and their perceived utilities.
The findings of this study revealed that currently neither eco-labels nor brands show high utility scores. This infers different possible explanations from branding, eco-labelling and decision making theory about the current market situation for the Swedish charter tourism which generally constitutes an oligopoly with a small number of similarly positioned providers. The outcome of this thesis proposes a number of suggestions on how more sustainable tourism alternatives could be marketed through the synergetic combination of brands and eco-labels and broadens the discussion about how to utilize marketing in the context of sustainability.