Why sustainability will be increasingly important for the vacation rental industry in 2023

Sustainability in the vacation rental industry is becoming increasingly important in 2023 and beyond due to the rapid growth of the industry, the pressing concern of climate change, the increasing awareness of consumers, and the demand from local communities and governments.

Here are some key points to consider:

The vacation rental industry is a major contributor to carbon emissions

Climate change is a pressing concern and the impact of climate change is becoming more and more apparent, and it’s important for all industries to do their part in reducing their carbon footprint and mitigating their environmental impact. The vacation rental industry is no exception. A study by the University of Sydney found that Airbnb alone is responsible for approximately 4.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, which is equivalent to the annual emissions of approximately 870,000 cars. This is just one example of the significant carbon footprint of the vacation rental industry as a whole.

Sustainability can help vacation rentals stand out in a crowded market

Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental impact of their purchasing decisions, and many are looking for companies that prioritise sustainability. By adopting eco-friendly practices, vacation rental businesses can attract environmentally conscious travellers and differentiate themselves in a crowded market.

Sustainability can help vacation rental businesses save money

In addition to attracting environmentally conscious travellers, sustainability can also help vacation rental businesses save money in the long run. By implementing energy-efficient measures and using environmentally friendly products, vacation rental businesses can reduce their energy costs and potentially even qualify for government incentives and tax breaks.

Local communities and governments are increasingly demanding sustainability

As the negative impacts of tourism on local communities and the environment become more apparent, local governments and communities are starting to demand more sustainable practices from the vacation rental industry. In response, vacation rental businesses that prioritise sustainability will be better able to build positive relationships with local communities and governments, which can lead to a more stable and successful business in the long run.

So, what can vacation rental businesses do to become more sustainable? Here are a few ideas:

1. Implement energy-efficient measures

This can include simple things like installing energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances, as well as more comprehensive measures like solar panels and geothermal heating and cooling systems.

  • Install energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances: One simple and cost-effective way to reduce energy consumption in vacation rentals is by replacing traditional light bulbs with energy-efficient alternatives such as LED bulbs. Similarly, replacing old and inefficient appliances with Energy Star certified ones can also help reduce energy use.
  • Use smart thermostats: Smart thermostats can help optimize heating and cooling in vacation rentals by learning the preferences of guests and adapting accordingly. This can help reduce energy consumption and save money on energy costs.
  • Insulate and weatherize the rental property: Proper insulation and weatherization can help keep the rental property comfortable year-round and reduce the need for heating and cooling. This can include things like sealing air leaks and adding weather stripping to doors and windows.
  • Use solar panels: Solar panels are a more comprehensive energy-efficient measure that can provide a significant portion of a vacation rental’s energy needs. While the initial investment may be higher, solar panels can save money on energy costs in the long run and have a positive impact on the environment.
  • Consider geothermal heating and cooling systems: Geothermal systems use the stable temperature of the earth to heat and cool a building, and can be a highly energy-efficient option for vacation rentals. While the initial investment may be higher, geothermal systems can save money on energy costs in the long run and have a minimal environmental impact.

By implementing energy-efficient measures, vacation rental businesses can reduce their energy consumption and costs, and do their part in reducing their environmental impact.

 

2. Use environmentally friendly products

This can include things like organic and locally sourced bedding and linens, as well as eco-friendly cleaning products.

  • Use organic and locally sourced bedding and linens: Choosing organic and locally sourced bedding and linens can help reduce the environmental impact of the vacation rental industry in a few ways. Organic materials are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, which can have a negative impact on the environment. Similarly, locally sourced materials can reduce the carbon footprint of transportation.
  • Use eco-friendly cleaning products: Conventional cleaning products often contain harsh chemicals that can be harmful to the environment and human health. By using eco-friendly cleaning products, vacation rental businesses can reduce their environmental impact and potentially even improve indoor air quality.
  • Choose environmentally friendly amenities: Vacation rental businesses can also choose environmentally friendly amenities such as shampoo, conditioner, and soap that are biodegradable and free of harmful chemicals.
  • Consider reusable or compostable products: Using reusable or compostable products can help reduce waste and the environmental impact of the vacation rental industry. This can include things like reusable water bottles, compostable trash bags, and biodegradable straws and utensils.

By using environmentally friendly products, vacation rental businesses can reduce their environmental impact and potentially even improve indoor air quality for guests.

 

3. Promote sustainable tourism:

Vacation rental businesses can encourage guests to participate in sustainable tourism practices, such as using public transportation and supporting local businesses.

  • Encourage the use of public transportation: One way vacation rental businesses can promote sustainable tourism is by encouraging guests to use public transportation instead of private vehicles. This can help reduce the carbon footprint of transportation and also support local public transportation systems.
  • Provide information on local attractions that are accessible by public transportation: By providing guests with information on local attractions that are accessible by public transportation, vacation rental businesses can make it easier for guests to experience the local area in a sustainable way.
  • Support local businesses: Encouraging guests to support local businesses, such as restaurants and shops, can help reduce the environmental impact of transportation and also support the local economy.
  • Promote environmentally friendly activities: Vacation rental businesses can also promote environmentally friendly activities in the local area, such as hiking, biking, and nature walks.

By promoting sustainable tourism, vacation rental businesses can encourage guests to reduce their environmental impact while traveling and support local communities.

4. Educate guests

Vacation rental businesses can educate guests about the importance of sustainability and how they can play a role in reducing their environmental impact while traveling.

  • Provide information on eco-friendly practices: Vacation rental businesses can educate guests about eco-friendly practices by providing information in the rental property, such as how to conserve water and energy, and how to properly dispose of waste.
  • Share information about local sustainability initiatives: By providing guests with information about local sustainability initiatives, such as recycling programs and conservation efforts, vacation rental businesses can encourage guests to support these initiatives while they are traveling.
  • Encourage guests to offset their carbon footprint: Vacation rental businesses can also encourage guests to offset their carbon footprint by participating in carbon offset programs or donating to organizations that support sustainability initiatives.
  • Share tips for reducing environmental impact while traveling: Vacation rental businesses can also provide guests with tips on how they can reduce their environmental impact while traveling, such as choosing sustainable travel options and supporting local businesses.

 

5. Get a sustainability certification

The vacation rental industry is a unique and rapidly growing sector, and as such, it requires its own specific sustainability standards. Traditional hotel sustainability standards may not be fully applicable or adequate for the vacation rental industry, as vacation rentals often operate differently and have their own unique set of challenges and opportunities.

For example, vacation rentals may not have the same level of staff or resources as hotels, which can make it more difficult to implement and maintain sustainability practices. Additionally, vacation rentals often have a higher occupancy rate and shorter turnaround time between guests, which can make it more challenging to implement energy-efficient measures and use environmentally friendly products.

A vacation rental industry-specific sustainability standard can help address these challenges and provide a clear and comprehensive framework for vacation rentals to follow. It can also help vacation rental businesses save money and attract environmentally conscious travelers, as it provides a clear and recognizable way for them to differentiate themselves in the crowded market.

This is where Sustonica comes in. Sustonica is the first sustainability certification specifically designed for the vacation rental industry. It provides a comprehensive and transparent framework for vacation rentals to follow, covering areas such as energy efficiency, water conservation, waste management, and community engagement. By obtaining Sustonica certification, vacation rental businesses can demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and set themselves apart from competitors.

The vacation rental industry needs its own sustainability standard in order to address the unique challenges and opportunities it faces. Sustonica provides a comprehensive and transparent framework for vacation rentals to follow, helping them save money, attract environmentally conscious travellers, and differentiate themselves in the crowded market.

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By prioritising sustainability, vacation rental businesses can not only attract environmentally conscious travellers, but also save money and build positive relationships with local communities and governments. With the increasing demand for sustainability, it’s clear that it will be the number one focus for the vacation rental industry in 2023.

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