This article comes from Touch Stay user Bob Garner. Bob is a long time Touch Stay customer and a climate change advocate taking positive steps to encourage his guests and wider community to offset their environmental impact.
As the world wakes up to the pressing need to better protect our environment, it’s more important than ever to bring sustainability to the forefront of your vacation rental business. In fact, being more eco-friendly might actually help you inspire and attract more guests.
Eco-friendly vacation rentals are becoming increasingly sought after, meaning your approach to sustainability may already be deterring or attracting guests. This has been proven across many tourism surveys that reveal that sustainability is becoming an increasingly important consideration for travellers.
So, how can you use your Touch Stay guide to showcase the positive environmental aspects of your business? Using the Making a Difference category of your guide is a great start. This section of the guide can be used to explain the steps you take to increase sustainability in your property – and how your guests can play their part too.
Sustainability trends in travel
There are a number of converging factors that are driving an increased awareness of sustainable travel and a demand for more eco-friendly stays.
Relentless news reports about dramatic shifts in our climate, along with articles explaining how travellers can make their holiday more environmentally sustainable are starting to shift consumer behaviour.
In fact, repeated surveys 1 reveal that travellers now expect to see some green aspects in their vacation rental.
69% of travellers expect the travel industry to offer more sustainable travel options.
- Booking.com traveller research 2021
Your Touch Stay guidebook is your environmental ally
Using the Making a Difference category on your Touch Stay guidebook is the perfect way to highlight the eco-friendly aspects of your vacation rental. It allows you to include details about what you’re doing or plan to do as part of your sustainability commitment, while allowing you to communicate it succinctly to your guests.
For example, you may have some eco initiatives that you want to remind your guests about before they arrive, such as sustainable products you supply, plastic-free water available on site or eco tours.
You can even use your guide as a sales tool to help convert some of the more challenging enquirers. For example, if a potential guest looks at your guide and sees you are proactive when it comes to sustainability, the trends show that they might be more easily swayed in your favour. After all, whoever got criticised for being green minded?
Get ahead of the competition
Remember: this is a fast moving trend, and your competition will also be considering eco-friendly vacation rentals angle. From a commercial point of view, this makes it more important than ever to stay ahead by shouting about your green credentials proactively and effectively.
Make your Touch Stay guidebook work harder for you
The Making a Difference section of your Touch Stay Guidebook can also help you to display your wider eco credentials. This will give more meaning and authority to your eco initiatives and efforts.
For example, you can reference things like:
- eco-focused press you have received
- extracts from reviews mentioning your sustainability
- certification badges that have audited your efforts
- eco awards that you have won
Tailoring your Making a Difference section
Naturally, you’ll want to tailor the Making a Difference section based on your personal approach to this topic and the branding of your business.
For example, you might be relatively new to leveraging your environmental attributes and want to let your guests know what you are doing and that you’re aware that the topic is becoming more important. This might include talking about:
- energy consumption
- your approach to single use plastic.
Or, you may have already baked your environmental initiatives right through your business, meaning you have a longer list of steps that you have taken.
In either case, the Making a Difference part of your Touch Stay guide is the perfect place to communicate that you’re aware of the sustainability issue, and that you know how important it is to take real action.
What to include in your Making a Difference section
When it comes to filling out your “Making a Difference” section there’s really no limit. However, if you haven’t yet made a huge amount of headway with your sustainability plans, you can also flag up the environmental attributes that you plan to implement in the year ahead.
Why not start by making a list of what you could include? You might surprise yourself when you learn what you’re already doing!
Environmental attributes for eco-friendly vacation rentals
Here are some topics to consider:
- Rainwater capture
- Green pool cleaning systems
- Low maintenance garden planting
- Eco friendly building design
- Toilet paper
- Refillable dispensers
- Eco products
- Cruelty free products
- Re-use of products
- Organic produce
- Composting and recycling
- Green tariff from your electricity supplier
- Low energy lighting
- Power saving initiatives e.g. energy efficient appliances, energy timers, thermostats, etc.
- Specialist systems e.g. heat pump, solar panels, electric car charger, etc.
Your bespoke approach
- How you’re limiting single-use plastics
- Tree planting schemes
- Carbon offsetting schemes
- Eco guest gifts
- Eco awards won
- Press articles mentioning your green initiatives
- Any certifications you have received e.g. Green Tourism, Green Pearl, Green Key
- Commitments you have made e.g. membership of Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency
- FSC approved paper use
- Eco friendly web hosting/search engine used
- Initiatives to support local community
- Eco tours
- Eco transport nearby
Environmental sustainability is an essential part of my holiday rental business. You’re more than welcome to check out my Touch Stay Guide if you’re looking for some inspiration.
Written by Bob Garner – Casal dei Fichi