The evidence is compelling that being certified can deliver real business benefits
Increasing numbers of property owners and managers are exploring ways to introduce sustainable practices into their business. If they have already started to create more eco-friendly rentals, then they are looking for ways to showcase their approach to guests and the hosting community.
If you are looking to do the same, having a sustainability label allows you to demonstrate your commitment with third-party recognition. In this article, we share five factors to consider when you are deciding whether to certify your properties.
1. Attract the majority of travellers
We have shared this many times. Travellers want to stay in vacation rentals which are showing respect for the environment and the local community of the destination. This could be as simple as offering eco-friendly bathroom products or providing recycling bins.
Of those travellers looking for a sustainable place to stay, 65% of them would prefer to see a sustainability label or certification. One of the advantages of having a Sustonica label is that it is automatically recognised by a number of OTAs including Booking.com. In effect, your properties will go to the top of the rankings when guests use the “Travel Sustainable” filter. This reassures guests that the property they want to choose follows sustainable practices and has been verified by a third party.
Just take the Sustonica test to see if your property already qualifies for its sustainability label!
2. Enhance your profitability through savings
Many businesses still see sustainability as a cost – a strategy needing large investment. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, there are so many actions you can take which are very inexpensive, such as offering a reusable shopping bag to encourage guests to avoid plastic carrier bags.
However, the most important aspect of sustainability is reduction. You have the opportunity to reduce energy consumption and water use, thus making significant cost savings. This is particularly pertinent in these times of volatile utility prices.
One of the effective places to start saving on your energy bills is to install smart home devices, which can monitor and regulate the temperature inside the property. Other simple actions include changing lightbulbs to LED or providing and sun screening.
DID YOU KNOW? – Providing sun screening can get you up to 0.64% on the Sustonica criteria! Check out our standard.
Why is it part of the criteria? Allowing the sun to enter a room can significantly raise the temperature inside and increase the need for air conditioning. This leads to higher electricity consumption and carbon emissions.
When it comes to water, there are some simple ways to reduce usage by guests and implement prevention methods. For example, the installation of flow reducers on taps and shower heads is an inexpensive intervention but can really reduce water usage. Another significant cost-saving method is to take preventative measures by fitting a leak detection device. This will quickly pick up on any leaks and avoid subsequent damage when left undiscovered.
DID YOU KNOW? – Having a leak detection system can get you up to 11.93% on the Sustonica criteria! Check out our standard.
Why is it part of the criteria? A leak detection system can prevent significant water loss by identifying issues early. The EPA estimates that fixing easily corrected household leaks can save an average household approximately 37,854 litres (10,000 gallons) of water per year.
Consequently, you can see how forward-thinking vacation rental operators are implementing a sustainability plan to leverage significant savings and increase their profitability. Having a sustainability label like Sustonica’s can help you progress faster and showcase your commitment.
3. Ease your compliance concerns
There is no doubt that environmental regulations are increasing in all parts of the world in an effort to combat climate change. In addition, there are more cases of local regulation aimed at vacation rentals, particularly in cities and regions that suffer from overtourism.
Another area which is receiving increasing scrutiny is the use of misleading claims about sustainable practices, referred to as ‘greenwashing.’ In 2020, the EU undertook an assessment of 150 claims about products’ environmental characteristics. They concluded that over half (53%) provided “vague, misleading or unfounded information”. Fear of being accused of greenwashing might be discouraging you from sharing your sustainable achievements. This is not good for our industry. We all need to play our part in creating a more responsible vacation rental sector.
Therefore, having a sustainability label like Sustonica’s will help you comply with local environmental regulations or guidelines, which could become stricter in the future. A certification gives you the credibility that your sustainable actions have been verified by a third party.
4. Enhance the guest experience
Travellers today are looking for more than just a getaway from home or a week in the sun. They are seeking out enriching, memorable experiences and insights into different cultures and customs. As a short-term rental owner or manager, you have the unique opportunity to create this type of experiential stay. For example, you can create a sense of your destination in your property by showcasing local artwork or introducing guests to the culinary scene in your digital guide.
DID YOU KNOW? – Showcasing local artists can get you up to 3.13% on the Sustonica criteria! Check out our standard.
Why is it part of the criteria? Providing local artists with a place to promote their artwork is a great way to give back to the local community as well as bringing character and individuality to your short-term rental
Most of us have incorporated some sustainable actions into our own lifestyles, such us recycling or using a reusable water bottle. Your guests will have done the same. So, if they stay in a property which has no recycling bins or provides guests with water in plastic bottles, they are likely to notice. Therefore, it is so much better to provide them with recycling guidelines and a water filter or details of nearby refill stations. These easy-to-do actions will make the right impression and show your guests that you care.
DID YOU KNOW? – Having a water filter can get you up to 3,00% on the Sustonica criteria! Check out our standard.
Why is it part of the criteria? Having a water filter in your property will remove the need to buy bottled water, both for you and your guests. Filters eliminate unpleasant tastes, odours and more than 100 potentially harmful substances.
5. Safeguard the environment and tourism
Being in the tourism business, we have a vested interest to protect the destinations we promote. We have all seen the effects of climate change, whether that be from flooding, wildfires or just extreme temperatures. Travellers can be alarmed by an extreme weather event they see in the news and decide to avoid that area. You may well have had first-hand experience of this, when a traveller decides to cancel a booking due to these concerns.
Being involved in environmental projects within the destinations where you operate will show your concern and willingness to be involved. This could take the form of creating experiences for guests which allow them to be involved in conservation projects.
A key motivation for travellers is the desire to immerse themselves in the local culture and history of a destination. Local heritage sites need tourists and the income they generate to survive. However, these sites need to be managed carefully to ensure their preservation. Being involved more directly could empower you to be part of the future of a heritage site and allow your guests to feel the same.
Another way to involve your guests is to share volunteering opportunities in the destinations where you operate. This is an impactful way for guests to feel that they are giving back to the community. In addition, you could also give extra days of paid holiday to your own staff. In fact, there should many different types of volunteering opportunities available. From helping serve food to families in need to taking part in a beach clean-up.
DID YOU KNOW? Having a list of local volunteering work available can get you up to 3.13% on the Sustonica criteria! Check out our standard.
Why is it part of the criteria? Having a positive impact on the local environment and playing an active role in the local community will impress guests and the local neighbourhood.
In summary, being involved in the local community in the way described will ensure a positive future for the destinations where you operate.
A sustainability label brings so many benefits to your vacation rental business and its properties. It becomes an important and empathetic part of your brand identity.