FINDUS – Finden von Nachhaltigkeitsinformationen bei Urlaubsreisen

FINDUS is a project about findability of sustainability information in holiday travel. The project studies how sustainability information effects choice of holiday travel products.

In previous studies it was shown that problems in finding information about (more) sustainable holiday travel is a barrier for booking such holidays. This is specifically true for mainstream information and booking channels.
One of our assumptions is, that those consumers who actively whish to book a „green“ or „sustainable“ holiday can certainly do so. Even today, they will find an appropriate information and booking channel when searching for it long enough.

However, the much larger group of consumers who would accept a „greener“ or „more sustainable“ holiday but who would not actively search for it will rarely have a chance to stumble upon such an offer in the mainstream information and booking channels.

Scope and Methods

FINDUS addresses the „findability“ of „green“ or „sustainable“ holiday offers. The project focuses on

  • the information about sustainable holidays (as opposed to sustainable holiday products, e.g. the criteria making a trip more sustainable)
  • in mainstream online information and booking channels (as opposed to offline channels like travel agents or catalogues or specialized channels).

We mainly address the question, if and how the sustainability information (e.g. labels or search criteria or plain text descriptions) is pervceived and evaluated by consumers and how one could improve the providing of information in order to increase sales of more sustainable tourism products.
We used experimental methods to address the research question. We are using

  • Face-to-face experiments with Information Display Matrix (IDM) in order to gain insights about the importance and average position of sustainbaility information in context with other information bits
  • Eye-tracking experiments to check for information acquitistion in a more biotic environment
  • Field experiments (A/B-testing) on a booking platform in the German market in order to assess the biotic effects of changing formats, positions and contexts of sustainability information
  • Online experiments using choice based conjoint analysis in order to assess the relative utility of different forms of sustainability information.

Furthermore, in the first phase of the project we did a desk research on the most important online information and booking sites in the German market assessing if and how they communicate aspects of sustainability in their products, either explicit or implicit.

Organization and finance

The project started in September 2016 and ended in June 2018. Project language is German, however, results are planned to be published in English.

The project is co-financed by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (Bundesamt für Naturschutz, BfN) supported with funds from the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Protection, Building and Nuclear Safety.

Contact at NIT: Dirk Schmücker or Wolfgang Günther 

Related projects

The project builds upon results from a study for the German Federal Ministry for the Environment based upon data collected within the German Reiseanalyse („Nachfrage für nachhaltigen Tourismus“, „Demand for sustainable tourism“). The study results can be found at the website of the Ministry (German language only).

The project Green Travel Transformation also addresses the topic, but with a focus on travel agencies and more directed towards the implementation of actions. That project is managed by Lüneburg University (Prof. Edgar Kreilkamp). One of the project partners, Futouris, also has own projects in the same field.

Project report

The report contains all workings papers (in English) together with an extended summary (in German). An English summary is on the way.

Schmücker, D. / Günther, W. / Kuhn, F. / Weiß, B. / Horster, E. (2018): Finden von Nachhaltigkeitsinformationen bei Urlaubsreisen (FINDUS) – Finding Sustainability Information for Holiday Travel. BfN-Skript 505. Bonn-Bad Godesberg: BfN Bundesamt für Naturschutz, 2018.

DOI: 10.19217/skr505
ISBN: 978-3-89624-242-6
Bibliographical data as RIS.

The report is accessible by PDF/UA standards.

Working Papers

FINDUS 1: Information on sustainability in tourism – Frameworks and Status Quo in the German holiday market (December 2016) DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.24009.54886

FINDUS 2: Acquiring sustainability information in holiday travel – Results from IDM and IDW experiments (May 2017) DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.34246.47682

FINDUS 3: Acquiring sustainability information in holiday travel – Results from eye tracking experiments (April 2018) (this working paper has parallely been accepted for a book publication and is available on request)

FINDUS 4: Preferences for sustainability information in holiday travel – Results from discrete choice experiments (May 2018) DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.35848.93448

FINDUS 5: Preferences for sustainability information in holiday travel – Results from an online field experiment (June 2018) DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.16555.13604