The benefits of applying sustainable practices to your short-term rental business is not only vital to the future of our planet; it grows your earnings too by giving your business more credibility and appealing to environmentally friendly guests.
About 76% of global travelers said they want to travel more sustainably this year, according to Booking.com’s most recent Sustainable Travel Report. The most extensive Sustainable Travel research from Booking.com to date also highlights a divide in people’s actions; some are more intentional about how they spend their money with the perception that sustainable travel options are too expensive, while others are willing to pay more for these options to feel reassured they are driving impact.
In recent years, the concept of sustainability has gained significant traction across various industries, including tourism and hospitality. As more travelers seek eco-friendly options, vacation rental owners have a unique opportunity to contribute positively to the environment while also attracting conscious guests. Whether you’re a seasoned host or new to the vacation rental scene, here are some practical tips Haustay utilizes to make our properties more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
1. Embrace Energy Efficiency
This one is a no-brainer – replace your incandescent lighting with LED light bulbs. LED light bulbs are the next best thing to keeping the lights off because they consume 75% less energy and last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs. For less than $3 a bulb, they offer three-in-one benefits: They’re better for the environment, they save you money on electricity, and they consume less time for replacement.
2. Ditch Single-Use Plastic
Tiny bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash that often come in short-term rentals are convenient, but they’re wasteful for the environment. Instead of single-use plastic containers, opt for soap, shampoo, and conditioner dispensers that can be refilled as needed. You will even save money buying in bulk.
Here at Haustay, we purchase shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hand soap, and dish soap from Public Goods because they only provide eco-friendly sustainable products. They are proudly “tree-free” with all of their bottles being made out of sugarcane and bamboo. This means everything is biodegradable and will not be sitting in overfilled landfills for the next thousands of years. They are also cruelty-free and offer a variety of vegan food options. Guests rave about these products on their reviews.
As a courtesy, we provide boxed water to our guests upon arrival. Boxed Water is the most renewable option in the water aisle: their carton is made from 92% renewable materials. The water is sourced close to the consumers to reduce their carbon footprint (instead of islands like Fiji). All cartons are 100% recyclable, refillable, and BPA free.
3. Quality Furniture
A major contributor to environmental waste is furniture that is thrown out soon after purchase due to it’s poor quality. Brands such as West Elm and Pottery Barn make quality furniture items that are built to last. They use durable “contract grade” furniture that lasts considerably longer due to it being built for wear and tear. In addition to their furniture, 60% of their product sales support at least one of their sustainability initiatives. These brands sustainably source their furniture wherever possible, sourcing FSC®‑certified, recycled and upcycled materials, creating less waste. They have also committed to planting a tree for every solid wood piece of indoor furniture sold, approximating about 6 million trees planted by 2023. The results so far are about 1.5 billion gallons of water filtered, 68 thousand tons of air pollutants removed and 1.1 million tons of carbon dioxide absorbed.
4. Smart Thermostats
Smart thermostats are energy-saving gadgets that offer an efficient way to heat and cool your home. The devices save energy by detecting whether a room is occupied or vacant and adjust the temperature accordingly, based on how you program it.
Many smart thermostats are accessible through voice assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home. Systems designed for rentals allow managers and owners to set minimum and maximum temperatures to prevent unnecessary energy consumption.
Eco-conscious guests most likely recycle in their own homes, so they expect to recycle when staying at your vacation rental. Even those who don’t recycle might make the effort if you make it as easy as possible for them. Provide well-marked, easily accessible recycling bins that are close to the trash can. Additionally, if you expect guests to tote recycling carts to the curb, make sure to post a pickup schedule near the bins and include the schedule in your welcome manual.
Regularly assess your property’s sustainability initiatives and track key metrics such as energy and water consumption, waste diversion rates, and guest feedback. Use this data to identify areas for improvement and set new sustainability goals to strive toward. Celebrate milestones and achievements with guests and stakeholders, fostering a sense of collective responsibility for environmental conservation.
Incremental eco-friendly swaps can pay off in the long-term with added cost savings and increased guest demand. Here are some more ideas that are easy to implement and that will add sustainability to your rental.
- Buy washable rugs whenever possible! Instead of replacing your rug and creating more waste, you can easily toss it in the washing machine.
- Offer an EV Charger. This will boost your listing as well as be a major pull for travelers who are traveling with an electric car.
- Offer reusable grocery bags for guests to use when they run to the grocery store. Better yet, add your company logo!
In conclusion, making your vacation rental more sustainable requires a proactive approach and a commitment to continuous improvement. By incorporating eco-friendly practices into every aspect of your hosting operations, you can reduce your environmental footprint while enhancing the overall guest experience. And once you’ve added eco-friendly features to your rental, be sure to brag about it! In other words, make sure you advertise your short-term rental’s sustainability features. Let your guests know on your website and in your listing the specific, eco-friendly features that you offer and why your guest made a smart choice by staying at your home. Together, we can pave the way for a more sustainable future in the hospitality industry—one vacation rental at a time.