Enter this new award for individual vacation rentals and if you are shortlisted you will receive a free Sustonica credit to validate your property
Sustonica just launched the first international Sustainable Vacation Rental Award. This award recognizes and rewards sustainability efforts within short-term rentals across the globe.
Why we have launched the Sustonica Star Award
There are countless awards for sustainability efforts in general, as well as categories within general awards. However, this is the first dedicated award specifically for vacation rental properties. Sustonica built the first sustainability verification from scratch to meet the needs of short-term rentals. During her research, our founder, Vanessa de Souza Lage, discovered that over 200 sustainability certifications exist for hotels but none for our industry. In this way, launching the Sustonica verification naturally progressed to the Star Award. The Star Award aims to reward property owners taking active steps to be more environmentally friendly and make a positive impact in their destination.
The competition is open to single vacation rental properties worldwide that Sustonica has not already verified. These owners will be invited to take the Sustonica test and, if they qualify, they will be able to enter the award.
How does it work?
Entering is a very simple process and is open to individual property owners who have not yet been verified by Sustonica. There is no entry fee, and all entries must be submitted through the official Sustonica website or app. Additionally, you can enter as many single properties as you wish as a property manager.
Here is how it works:
- 30 properties per continent are chosen by our judging panel
- The judges then select 10 per continent as finalists
- These finalists receive the ‘golden key’ and a free Sustonica credit to have their property verified
- The highest rated and auditor-validated property per continent wins
So go ahead and do the test to see if you qualify to enter! All entries must be submitted by 23 December 2023
What are the judges looking for?
Our judges will be looking for property owners who are fully committed to sustainability and are working hard to have a positive impact on people and planet. They will be scrutinizing the following areas:
1. Environmental impact
This should be the easiest and most cost-effective area for a property owner or manager to address, and is often where they start their sustainability journey.
For the Star Award, property owners and managers can demonstrate significant improvements in their environmental policies and actions. Consequently, they may have taken measures to reduce energy consumption in their property or cut back on plastic waste.
Another important area is the water conservation, as so many destinations have experienced droughts over recent years due to climate change. Some amazing amazing water-saving apps on the market can empower your guests to save water during their stay.
2. Minimise negative impact in the local community
A really important factor the judges will consider is the impact of your property and your guests within the local community. We have highlighted many times the growing resentment towards vacation rental properties in destinations across the world. Local residents feel that tourists are creating waste, noise and, in very popular locations, making their local area too busy and crowded. As a result, this is encouraging local municipalities to introduce regulation to limit the number of short-term rental properties.
You can take positive steps to be respectful to neighbours, such as installing noise monitoring apps and clear signage that the property is a vacation rental.
A great way to have a positive impact on your local community is to partner with local businesses for consumables and other amenities. If you are ever refurbishing or retrofitting, make sure that you choose to work with local suppliers. Basically, this approach will reduce your carbon footprint as well as create an authentic and individual style for your property. Furthermore, if you choose to work with local suppliers for guest toiletries and cleaning products who have a sustainability policy, you will be keeping money in the local economy.
Have you ever thought of displaying and promoting artwork by local artists in your property? By doing this, you are giving back to the local community, but also creating a unique aesthetic in the rental.
3. Promote the destination
Preserving culture and heritage is vital for our industry, as people travel to experience a different way of life and get a feel for the unique character of a destination. Consequently, it is very important to make it easy for guests to find local places of interest. A great way to do this is to use your digital guide to highlight local heritage sites and off-the-beaten path locations.
Not surprisingly, sampling different tastes and ingredients are one of the joys of travel. As you will know, travellers are looking for local and authentic culinary experiences. Consequently, this gives you the perfect opportunity to use your digital guide to highlight food stores which sell locally sourced produce.
As well as recognising sustainable actions in rentals, Sustonica is also committed to inspire guests to follow some of the things they see when they are away. We want to help them be more sustainable when they return home, and so your property can be a source of inspiration to them. Eating less meat is important for reducing carbon emissions (think methane from cows!) and so it is really helpful for you to promote local vegetarian, vegan and organic restaurants as well as regular ones in your digital guide. Additionally, growing numbers of consumers are now vegetarians or vegans, so this makes real sense.
4. Clear and transparent communication
One of the compelling reasons to have a sustainability badge like Sustonica’s is to have your commitment validated by a trusted third party. Travellers will be reassured that the property they are booking is taking actions to reduce its impact on the planet and the local destination.
However, it does not end there. Once you have been recognized as a sustainable property, you need to ensure that these values and actions are visible at every touchpoint. You should make sustainability one of your brand pillars and ensure that it shines through your narrative and communication with all your stakeholders.
You should also be totally upfront about the actions you are focused on and not try to hide the areas where you still have a negative impact. Otherwise, this could be seen as greenwashing. Ultimately, you need to share openly what you are doing in your property and destination and recognize that there is still more to be done. The most important thing is that you have started your sustainability journey and that you are doing it for the right reasons. That is, to reduce carbon emissions for the future of our planet and create a positive impact for communities and your guests.
We will soon be announcing the names of the official judges, a panel of sustainability and holiday rental experts from around the world. There are still a few places available on the panel! Interested in becoming a judge?