How IMT travel agency sets industry standards for sustainable travel with Oncarbon
Ikaalisten Travel Agency (IMT) was founded in 1991 as a family business in Ikaalinen, a town near Tampere, Finland. Over the years, it has become one of the most successful travel agencies in Finland, offering trips to more than 20 European destinations and daily departures to the most popular European capitals. Customers can choose from a wide range of cruises, two-day trips to Tallinn, one-week Baltic Sea spa tours and European round trips.
The uniqueness of IMT lies in the diligence of its founders – the Talonen family. The travel agency designs all trips itself and carefully selects its partners for transportation and accommodation to ensure the highest quality of service. It is also a pioneer in selling “dynamic travel packages” in Finland, where customers create their own package from predefined “blocks”, and freely choose schedules, means of transportation, hotels and room categories.
Each year, IMT helps more than 125,000 customers achieve their dream vacation. The company’s turnover in 2019 (before the COVID-19 pandemic) was 18 million euros. Ikaalisten has two offices: in Ikaalinen and in Turku.
In recent years, the entire travel industry has started to talk more about sustainability. The COVID-19 pandemic heavily influenced the travel industry but, at the same time, it has made many of us redefine our life – and travel choices. People have been discussing climate change and the impact of travel on the environment.
“We have seen a significant change in the behavioral pattern of our customers. Today, conscious travelers want to choose more environmentally friendly travel products and are aware of the CO2 emissions generated by flying.” Esa Talonen, CEO at IMT
He adds that IMT has always pursued an entrepreneurial spirit and sought to provide extra value to its customers and stakeholders. “Sustainability is one of our values. It’s deep in our DNA,” Esa says. “We understand it as being responsible for the environment but also for our employees, business partners and customers. As a family business, we intend to build a community based on trust and reliability”.
Ikaalisten Travel Agency began asking itself how the company could contribute to better travel while addressing the challenge of climate change.
“We believe that travel has many benefits and is a way to learn about other cultures, people and backgrounds. It helps you see the world from a different perspective – and often helps us understand how to create a better future. Travel, however, often comes with high CO2 emissions. This fact cannot be underestimated, but what we can do about it is to calculate that carbon footprint, communicate it, and strive to offer lower carbon travel options in the future,” adds Esa Talonen.
IMT turned to Oncarbon – the complete toolkit that helps forward-thinking travel companies visually communicate the climate footprint of the products they sell.
“We believe that more and more of our customers will be willing to choose travel options with a lower carbon footprint – even if it means a slightly higher price. Every time someone chooses a hotel, flight or destination, they can choose more or less sustainable options.” Esa Talonen, CEO at IMT
Displaying the carbon footprint of travel products helps IMT customers make conscious travel decisions. “We see Oncarbon as an added value to our travel products,” adds Esa.
The smooth implementation of Oncarbon into IMT’s booking funnel means that all customers can now see the CO2 emissions of the flights they book. In the future, the carbon footprint could also be displayed for other parts of the travel package.
Sustainability in the travel industry is a big, multi-layered, and complex topic, but communicating the carbon footprint of travel packages can be a great first step.
“We are not discouraging people from traveling and abandoning their vacation plans. Travel can be very beneficial, but customers want choice. And the flight emissions calculator can soon be followed by the choice of a carbon-neutral hotel or a lower-polluting airline. Communicating carbon footprint can be a great solution for the entire travel industry and the Oncarbon solution – the beginning of a new chapter for global travel agencies,” concludes Esa.
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