Episode 2 of “The Green Sauce” sustainability podcast

Learn from Saskia Weber, Head of Sustainability at Interhome, a leading property management company in Europe

We are excited to share the second episode of our new sustainability podcast for the vacation rental industry.

This first series of “The Green Sauce” is designed to empower property management companies who are keen to make sustainability one of their brand pillars. You will be able to learn from Heads of Sustainability of short-term rental companies who have environmental and social goals in place. They will share their experiences and best practices for balancing profitability with responsibility, making sustainability a crucial part of business success.

The podcast is hosted by CEO and Founder of Sustonica, Vanessa de Souza Lage. She brings in-depth industry knowledge together with a passion for sustainability.

Listen to the podcast with Saskia and Vanessa or watch on YouTube


Meet Saskia Weber, Head of Sustainability at Interhome

We are delighted to welcome Saskia as our second guest on “The Green Sauce” sustainability podcast. Interhome is one of the largest property management companies in the world. It has 13 offices in Europe and a portfolio of 40,000 holiday homes in 28 countries.

Saskia has been with Interhome (part of the Hotelplan Group) for thirteen and a half years and became Head of Sustainability in summer 2021. Her role was created during that year in response to two commitments made by the Hotelplan Group. Firstly, the group signed the Glasgow Declaration as part of the tourism industry’s commitment to take climate action during COP26. Secondly, the group signed up to the Science Based Targets initiative which sets a framework for companies to reduce, measure and monitor their carbon emissions.

The group already had some ambitious goals and was receiving increasing demand from its clients to address environmental issues. Saskia began to work with other businesses within the group and in early 2022 they began to roll out specific actions.


Listen to or watch this conversation between Vanessa and Saskia and be inspired to take actions relevant to your own brand.


1. Why is sustainability important for a property management company, and why is it advisable to have a Head of Sustainability?

For Saskia, sustainability was just a part of her job to start and then became full-time in 2021. A key part of her role is to work with her colleagues in the group to implement the commitments mentioned above. These include measurement and reporting to be able to provide evidence of progress. Most importantly, though, Interhome guests are asking questions about environmental and social issues which need to be answered. In this case, property owners require support to ensure that they are providing the sustainable initiatives that guests are looking for.

It is clear to see that Interhome is taking sustainability very seriously. Saskia now has one employee working with her, and there are team members in all the other offices who include sustainability as part of their role. The Board is entirely on side about making sustainability an integral part of their business model and making the necessary investment.


2. What are Interhome’s greatest achievements to date?

Saskia tells Vanessa about the first project they undertook as a group in Austria to encourage biodiversity and attract our favourite pollinators, the bees. Listen to the podcast to discover what that project was and how they involved guests in it.


Listen to or watch the full podcast to find out the first sustainable action which Saskia was part of implementing.


3. How do you monitor and measure your sustainability initiatives?

As a property management company, it usually makes sense to start with your own operation and offices. This is exactly what Interhome did. They looked at office supplies such as printers, plastic, and lighting. As Saskia emphasises, you have to be doing the right things yourself before expecting the same of your property owners.

As a property management company, your largest carbon emissions will come from the properties in your portfolio. Interhome has created its own framework of 12 criteria including solar panels, green energy and LED lighting. The owners then were invited to go through the criteria to check what they had in place at their property.  If they achieved 7 out of the 12, they were awarded a Green Tree.

This will be the first year that Interhome will be able to report on their carbon emissions. In order to do this, you first need to know where you are starting from and set a benchmark to measure against for future years.


Listen to or watch the full podcast to discover how Interhome are managing their carbon reduction goals and the budget they have allocated to sustainability.


4. How do guests respond to your sustainability initiatives?

Interhome is actively promoting sustainability to its guests via newsletters and, of course, its framework for property owners.

On the Interhome website, guests can see the Green Tree for holiday homes, which have 7 out of the 12 sustainability features. There is also a filter for “EV charger”, which is becoming increasingly important in Europe. In addition, travellers have the option to book via a local office or the Customer Service Department. Consequently, all of these team members have been trained how to handle sustainability questions.


5. How do you engage and educate your owners about sustainability best practices?

Interhome operates with a single point of contact for the property owner who visits and inspects the rental. The questions within the Green Tree framework are now part of that visit. This has really helped to introduce sustainability to Interhome property owners and allow them to gauge where they are at already.

In order to help owners further, Saskia’s team are developing information sheets to empower them to communicate with guests with confidence following a streamlined approach.

Interhome has also introduced support for long-standing owners who want to install technology like solar panels. Consequently, they offer a loan which can be repaid from the rental income.


6. Looking to the future, how will sustainability regulations affect Interhome? Do you think that the short-term rental industry is lagging behind when compared to hotels?

Saskia talks about the future Green Claims regulation due to come into effect this year in Europe. She believes this will have a large impact on businesses. At the moment, there are no common standards for sustainability labels. Consequently, Saskia warned that many companies who have created their own criteria may no longer be valid.

Another complexity is the disparity of sustainability labels from one country to another. Many countries have their own labels which are only recognised within their specific country.

It is much more difficult for holiday homeowners (or maybe easier!) as there is not the vast choice as there is for hotels, where there are over 200 sustainability labels.


A good reason to choose Sustonica: it is a global label specifically for vacation rentals and verified by a third party auditor.


Listen to the podcast with Saskia and Vanessa or watch on YouTube


Did you miss our first episode with Claire Binns, Head of Sustainability at Sykes Holiday Cottages? Listen here or watch on YouTube.

If this episode of our sustainability podcast has inspired you to learn more, please subscribe to “The Green Sauce” and access all our episodes!

In our first season, Vanessa will be talking exclusively to Heads of Sustainability from various short-term rental companies around the world. These guests are at the forefront of integrating environmental and socially responsible practices into their business models. 



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