Concern for the environment has pervaded all areas of business, and vacation rentals are no exception. According to Airbnb, 88% of its hosts worldwide incorporate green practices. This includes over 94% of hosts in the UK and over 90% of hosts in North America. Hosts are also seeing the benefits of offering a broad range of unique homes that allow guests to immerse themselves in nature, from eco-lodges in rainforests to cave homes.
Top Tips to Make your Airbnb Vacation Rental Eco-Friendly
Sustainability and impact on the environment are a growing concern for travelers as knowledge of travel’s significant carbon footprint has become common knowledge. According to Booking.com’s Sustainable Travel Report 2022, 78% of global travelers intend to stay in an eco-friendly vacation rental while 46% of global travelers have stayed in a sustainable accommodation over the past year. Meanwhile, 19% of global travelers perceive sustainable properties as stylish and trendy while 16% believe they are perfect for posting on social media. And travelers are spending accordingly–the number of stays at eco-friendly homes on Airbnb increasing by 141%, from August 2018 to 2019. Best of all, environmentally-friendly properties won’t just increase your bookings - they can also meaningfully cut down on costs.
Making your Airbnb property more energy efficient will not only reduce your carbon footprint but also help you save money. Installing LED lighting will reduce your power bill, and because they last a lot longer, you won’t need to change them as often. Smart thermostats and smart lighting can be programmed to switch off when not in use. Opting for clean energy like solar to power at least part of your vacation rental will pay dividends in the long run, as will purchasing energy-friendly appliances.
Installing low-flow showerheads, faucets, and toilets can minimize water use. Just make sure to choose quality appliances that still provide adequate water pressure. Depending on your location, rainwater harvesting is another option to reduce water usage and can be used to water your garden and flush toilets.
Choose to compost food waste left by guests. As a bonus, you can use it for your own garden, or donate it to a local community garden. Minimize paper usage by utilizing digital communication channels and a digital guidebook instead of printed materials. Make recycling easy for guests by labeling the bins clearly.
Opt for glass containers and metal cutlery over plastic items. Provide a water filter and reusable water bottles to discourage guests from single-use plastic water bottles. Choose to refill your toiletries, such as hand wash, shampoo, and conditioner rather than constantly replacing mini-sized plastic bottles. You can even provide guests with reusable shopping bags or partner with a local business to upsell cute canvas bags.
Eco-friendly cleaning products are non-toxic so they are also better for your guests’ health, as well as the earth’s. Guests, particularly families with small children, will also appreciate having products they are comfortable using. They also don’t contain chemical perfumes that some people are allergic to. Opt for environmentally-friendly toiletries, sustainably produced linens and towels, and biodegradable garbage bags.
Plants make great indoor décor. When well-maintained, they are beautiful to look at. Plus they purify the air. Allowing guests the option to water the plants while they stay at your home can also help them feel more engaged and happier in your property, leading to better reviews.
According to the Booking.com report, 52% of travelers deem “lower-to-no carbon dioxide emissions” through their choice of transportation a key part of what constitutes ‘sustainable travel’. Providing your guests with the information they need to use the public transportation in the area, including timetables, maps, and even first hand advice, will enable them to use the eco-friendly options over hopping in a cab. Providing bikes is another option to reduce emissions while also giving guests a more fun way to explore the destination.
Growing a garden that has a variety of plants – not just ornamental flowering plants – will contribute to sustaining insect and plant life in the area as well as impress your guests. Allowing your guests to partake in the fruits, vegetables, and herbs you grow when they cook will also add to the uniqueness of your property. Make sure to include photos in your listing.
Collaborate with local experience providers to offer guests unique and authentic experiences focused on the environment. These can range from helping local environmentalists to protect turtle eggs from poachers to touring a rural farm. Your guests will appreciate your advice and access. You can also partner with providers to provide your guests with special offers and discounted rates that will earn you a commission.
In the current climate, the benefits of making your Airbnb eco-friendly are obvious. There are many steps available to you to make your Airbnb vacation rental more environmentally friendly. From making your property more energy efficient to minimizing waste, they not only have a positive impact on the environment but can also positively affect your bank balance in the long run. However, trying to incorporate them all at once can feel overwhelming and impossible. As a host, you can decide how to begin the process and how to become greener as you embark on your journey to becoming ever more kind to the planet.