Make sure you are welcome in your destination with these tips and apps for being a good neighbour
In this article, we will explore why it makes sense to respect the neighbours in the community which is effectively hosting your vacation rental. Then we will share best practices and apps which will help you do this.
Why is this part of the Sustonica criteria?
You might be wondering why respecting the neighbours in your vacation rental’s destination is important for being awarded your Sustonica badge. Well, despite what you might think, sustainability is not just about climate change and environmental impact. It is also about people. Our criteria are closely linked to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as guiding principles. If you look at the seventeen goals, you will see that so many of them are about improving communities. After all, it is people who are going to make the changes needed to achieve these goals. Implementing the Sustonica criteria in your vacation rental will empower you to be part of this effort. Having a positive impact in the local community will be good for your reputation and create a better guest experience.
Why it makes sense to be a good neighbour
On a more practical level, when you are running a vacation rental, the last thing you want is complaints from the locals. Being a good neighbour is becoming increasingly vital to the continued success of any short-term rental. In many regions, particularly cities, the local community are becoming irritated by properties which are let out to tourists. A minority of these visitors do not respect the local neighbourhood. The usual complaints from residents are that they are noisy, not contactable and do not follow local recycling rules. Municipalities are starting to listen to these complaints and introducing regulation to minimise the number of vacation rentals in their city or town.
Read on to find out how to manage the things which turn local communities against short-term rentals with useful advice and apps which can help you respect the neighbours as a vacation rental.
1. Let your neighbours get to know your vacation rental and your good practices
When you are about to start renting out your property, it always make sense to let your neighbours know. If you are local yourself, it is a good idea to introduce yourself in person. That way you can gain their trust and set up a personal rapport with them. You can tell them about the ways you will ensure that your guests respect the neighbours when they are staying in your property.
If you really want to make a good impression on the locals, you could even hold a party in your property before you officially open for bookings. This way, you can invite the neighbours so that they can see for themselves how you are set up. Most people are curious and the chances are that they will want to come along to check out your place! You could even suggest that you would do a special price for neighbours if they ever wanted to rent you property for family and friends.
In summary, if you get the neighbours on your side, it will make your life managing the property so much easier. It will also be more welcoming and pleasant for your guests. They do not want to feel that the neighbours resent their presence when they are renting your property.
2. Monitor and reduce noise complaints with these apps and guest communication
Probably the most common complaint against guests staying in vacation rentals is about noise. According to Rent Responsibly, noise accounts for approximately 75% of neighbour nuisance complaints. Local residents do not want guests to keep them awake all night with partying or loud music playing continually during the day.
However, there are so many actions you can take to mitigate this and some useful apps to help you monitor noise levels.
Pre-warn guests before they book
If your property is in a quiet residential neighbourhood, loud parties would definitely be unwelcome, particularly if you have outside space. You should highlight on your website and in your online listings that the property is a place for those looking for peace and relaxation. It is not a place for partying. This will ensure that you attract the right type of guests.
Remind guests during their stay
You will have plenty of opportunities to subtly remind guests about the need to respect the neighbours. On most booking sites, you will be able to add that parties are not allowed as part of your House Rules. You can also share ‘quiet times’ when guests should keep the noise down. You can put a section in your digital guide letting guests know that you have a good relationship with the neighbours. So you would be really appreciative, if they could help to maintain this goodwill by being mindful of loud noise. Why not suggest places where guests can go, if they want to party or listen to music!
Choose a noise-monitoring app
A great way to be in touch with the noise levels in your vacation rental is to install a noise-monitoring app. This type of tech will alert you (or your property manager) when the noise level in the rental goes above a certain level. You will then be able to contact the guests and ask them politely to tone down the noise. You can continue to monitor and if the gentle approach does not work, then a personal visit may be needed. The last thing you want is to have a neighbour call the police.
Check out these three noise-monitoring apps:
Minut – Monitor sound levels and send automated messages to your guests when they surpass certain levels. You can monitor noise both inside and out
NoiseAware – Pick up on noise before it becomes a problem. Protect your guests’ privacy as the app never identifies specific sounds or records individuals
Roomonitor – Real-time noise monitoring with advanced noise pattern recognition system. The app sends notifications by call, text message, push or email.
DID YOU KNOW? – Monitoring the noise inside your city apartment or townhouse vacation rental can get you 2.5% on the Sustonica criteria! Check out our standard.
Why is it part of the criteria? Noise nuisance is the main cause of complaint from local residents and managing it is one of the most important ways to respect the neighbours
3. Make it clear that your property is a short-term rental and be contactable
When your short-term rental is in an urban environment, it is even more important to respect the neighbours. Being mindful of the fact that they live there all the time will gain you goodwill. If your city decides to limit the number of vacation rentals, make sure that they invite your property to stay.
Best practice is to clearly label your property so that it is identifiable as a vacation rental. The easiest thing is to label the doorbell with the name of the rental as well as the name of the property manager. In this way, the neighbours in the same apartment block or the townhouses next door will be aware that the property is being rented out to tourists.
As mentioned before, also make sure that the immediate neighbours know how to contact you or the property manager. Not only will this create that personal connection, it could also mean that a neighbour contacts you if there is an emergency whilst guests are out.
DID YOU KNOW? – Labelling your city apartment or townhouse as a vacation rental can get you 2.5% on the Sustonica criteria! Check out our standard.
Why is it part of the criteria? It is important that local residents know that your property is a vacation rental and that you are being transparent about the fact. The local community is more likely to welcome you and your guests if you respect the neighbours
4. Ensure that rubbish is dealt with properly and recycling rules adhered to
Something that can really annoy local residents is how your guests handle their waste. In many regions of the world, municipalities have waste collection timetables and recycling rules in place. It is important that your guests adhere to this and take the time to follow the guidelines. There is nothing worse than a vacation rental that has rubbish sat outside on a day which is not a collection day. Or they put their rubbish all in one recycling bin rather than separating it. Local residents will notice this.
Make sure you keep the neighbourhood clean and tidy and respect recycling rules by following these simple guidelines:
- Use your digital guide to tell guests which day rubbish is collected and where they should place it
- Share the local recycling rules and provide clearly labelled bins in the kitchen or utility area (also outside the property if there is no central collection and the property manager has to take waste for recycling to a local centre). Download our colourful labels for your bins here.
- Include signage inside the property to let guests know when to put their rubbish out and how to recycle
DID YOU KNOW? – Providing at least four recycling bins can get you up to 2.75% on the Sustonica criteria! Check out our standard.
Why is it part of the criteria? Having guests who do not dispose of waste properly or do not follow the local recycling rules can have a real detrimental effect on the neighbourhood
Consider the location of your vacation rental though the eyes of a local resident. This will help you will think of so many other things you could do. It makes so much sense to respect the neighbours. Doing this will help to future-proof your business within the destination and make it a more enjoyable experience for guests.
Your real superpower is that you can now be part of keeping the local neighourhood a desirable place for guests. Whilst at the same time showing that you respect the neighbours who live there every day.
Print a Sustainability chart for your vacation rental and list all the things that you do with regard to:
- energy efficiency
- waste reduction
- water conservation
- respect of the community
- promoting the destination