How to build a sustainable vacation rental business

People are waking up to the fact that more needs to be done in order to protect our planet, and with COP26 approaching, we will soon find out what the leaders of the world have planned for tackling climate change.

Now more than ever is the time to focus on bringing sustainability to the forefront of what you offer as a Property Manager and really emphasising your commitment to enacting change.

Vacation rentals offer a valuable solution to helping in the reduction of emissions when it comes to accommodation for travel.

Sustainable travel and eco-friendly vacation rentals are highly sought after, and by outlining your approach to sustainability, you will appeal to those who are looking to be more eco-friendly when it comes to their travel and booking choices.

Sustainable vacation rentals: an emerging trend

Climate change is being talked about more and more in the media, and of course, that’s a good thing. More awareness is leading to more travellers expecting their vacation rental to be sustainable.

Furthermore,’s Future of Travel report reveals that:

  • 44% of US travellers want to travel more sustainably in the future.

  • We should expect to see a more eco-conscious mindset in 2021 and beyond.

  • COVID-19 has increased travellers’ awareness about their impact on the environment and local communities. 

  • Almost two-thirds (63%) expect the travel industry to offer more sustainable travel options.

  • 46% of travellers believe in the importance of reducing waste and recycling their plastic.

As we can see from the data, there is a real demand now for sustainable travel. This puts Property Managers in a prime position to fulfil this demand, whilst also doing their part to help reduce emissions caused by the travel industry.

What can Property Managers do to build a sustainable vacation rental business?

There are plenty of things that Property Managers can do in order to make their business and portfolio more sustainable.

We asked Bob Garner, eco-expert and owner of Casal dei Fichi (winner of the 2020 Shortyz Eco Award) for his advice on what Property Managers can do to make their operations more sustainable:

bob garner is a volunteer at Tourism declares

I think my best advice to property managers is just get started because starting can be the hardest thing.

Pick off the easy low hanging fruit first as this will motivate you to do more and build your confidence. Remember we are all on this sustainable journey so don’t worry where you are, learn from others who have already taken some eco steps.

Have a look at my ten-point Roadmap for Hosts and Property Managers. This covers some of the things you can do to get started or further develop your environmental sustainability.

Here are further changes you should consider making:

1. List with environmentally-friendly OTA’s

By listing your properties on niche OTAs that specialise in eco-friendly accommodations, you’ll be able to target travellers who value sustainability and are actively looking for eco-friendly accommodation options.

Here are some eco booking sites to consider listing on:

  • Ecobnb – has 10 sustainability criteria that accommodations need to meet in order to get listed. These include 100% renewable energy, organic or local food, car-free accessibility, ecological cleaning products and more than 80% waste recycling.

  • Green Pearls – offers sustainable vacation rentals worldwide. Properties listed on the platform are assigned scores on factors like environmental protection, local/authentic experiences, giving back and cultural commitment. 

  • Fairbnb – is committed to ethical travel and donates 50% of its revenue to fund local community projects. The platform has strict sustainability policies and allows property managers to participate in a more equitable tourism model. 

  • Bookitgreen – eco-friendly accommodations throughout Europe for sustainable travelers. Their accommodations are engulfed in nature and vary from cottages and organic farms, to hotels and apartments.

2. Switch to green energy

Electricity generation is one of the biggest contributors to climate change. Our electricity consumption is huge, and we depend on burning fossil fuels to produce this electricity, leading to the pollution of our air, land and sea. 

Green energy is becoming more widely available and accessible to all, with many energy companies offering green energy alternatives. By simply switching your tariff, it is possible to use and create energy without producing any emissions.

The environmental and economic benefits of using renewable energy include:

  • Generating energy that produces no greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels and reduces air pollution.

  • Diversifying energy supply and reducing dependence on fossil fuels.

3. Cut down on single-use plastics

Plastic is a serious problem, with 8.3 billion tonnes being produced since 1950 and 300 million tonnes being wasted each year.

Property managers should look into switching out all single-use plastic packaging to biodegradable, zero waste or recycled alternatives. This means seeking out eco-friendly suppliers for guest toiletries and cleaning products.

Encouraging recycling is also an excellent way to reduce plastic waste. According to Forbes, most Americans do not recycle due to finding the process confusing and inconvenient, so make it clear what can and can’t be recycled.

4. Invest in smart home technology

Smart home technology allows property managers to remotely monitor and control the energy usage in all their properties. The benefits include maximizing efficiency and reducing energy bills.

Considering all of the perks that come with this technology, paying a higher price upfront is almost definitely worth it. Your investment now will lead to improved efficiency, and will eventually end up saving you more than you initially spend.

Smart thermostats and automated operating systems like Operto, can help you manage your energy consumption.

Although it may seem small at first, the most important thing you can do is commit to being a part of the solution and take simple steps to adapt your business and encourage sustainable travel.

Superhog signs up for the Tourism Declares initiative

Tourism is a truly global community, and that’s why every Host, Operator and Guest has a major part to play in making changes to how they travel, operate and live, in order to help reduce the total carbon footprint of the travel industry.

Here at Superhog, our mission is to provide protection to Hosts, Operators and Guests, and that mission also extends to protecting the environment.

You can find out more about Tourism Declares and our declarations by visiting our Climate Action Plan.

We urge you to also consider declaring at and follow @tourismdeclares on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin.

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