The 2020’s travel trends were not of those types that come and go every year. Still, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic initiated some megatrends long-lasting to write a new chapter in the worldwide hospitality industry’s future. The landscape of guest experience has hugely changed over this year with the gradual emergence of two principal demands: the need for automation and contactless technology and more sustainable travel and eco-friendly vacation rentals and hotels.
In our blog post The Contactless Future of Guest Experience, we discussed how the great demand for automation and contactless technology during the pandemic would continue in future to accelerate the shift of the industry towards a mere contactless business.
This post will analyse the second major 2020 requirement and picture the industry’s future shaped by the demand for more sustainable travel and eco-friendly vacation rentals and hotels.
Increased Demand for Sustainable Accommodation
The pandemic has tremendously reformed peoples’ concerns, priorities, and preferences. Besides, governmental regulations and measures to flatten the curve like lockdowns and social distancing and the health concerns caused by the worldwide public health threat has highlighted environmental and social issues more than ever.
People have witnessed the catastrophic consequences of the degradation of the environment on their lives, and have become more aware of their surrounding environment and the impact of their behaviour on their natural landscape. As a result, social responsibility and environmental issues are becoming a core priority in whatever humans do.
This consciousness has extended to people’s travel demands and preferences as well and caused some terms like green travel, sustainable vacation and ecotourism come into the light. As a result, today vacationers can search for green hotels and eco-friendly vacation rentals and choose their ideal lodgings from the endless list of environmentally friendly choices. People prefer low-carbon holidays such as staycations, domestic and non-flight travel to minimise their guilt when they take a flight. Moreover, volunteering during holidays is gaining unprecedented popularity, especially among the millennials.
Hospitality and the Environment
As touristic spots are usually located in outstanding natural beauty, and pristine wildlife and unspoiled habitats attract travellers, tourism has always been a game-changing industry in environmental discussions.
On the one hand, the hospitality business has facilitated extensive developments, employment and economic growth in many urban and rural destinations.
On the other hand, the presence of buildings and tourists have destroyed the local environment. The additional energy and water usage and generating great deals of waste, emissions, and chemical disposals by the tourists have led to land and air contamination. Moreover, the irregular land-use along coastlines and unbalanced building regulations for recreational activities, roads, parking lots, and service areas have caused deforestation and destroyed wildlife habitats.
How Can Hospitality Contribute to Saving the Planet Earth?
As the key players of the hospitality industry, hoteliers and vacation rental managers should do whatever they can to reduce the environmental impact of their hotels and properties and take a further step to raise awareness of cultural and ecological values.
Reduce the Environmental Impact of Hotels and Vacation Rentals
The preference for eco-friendly accommodation by vacationers has called for the classification of hotels based on their environmental impact. It has also given birth to hotel respected certification programs, such as Green Key and LEED certification and the development of many green vacation rentals worldwide, which support the environmental, social and economic principles of sustainable tourism.
Going green means reducing the overall influence of a business on its environment, including taking any measures that conserve the earth’s resources such as energy efficiency programs and waste management.
Of course, the demand for sustainable hotels and serviced apartments does not mean no request for hot water showers, pleasantly heated rooms, sufficient supplies of fresh food and drink, freshly laundered linen, complimentary toiletries, regular housekeeping and swimming pools and Jacuzzis. It turns out that a hotel or vacation rental can be eco-friendly without giving up on any of its amenities, providing their guests with stellar guest experience only by operating some smart in-house green programs.
Why Should Your Vacation Rental Go Green?
Many accommodation providers are taking environmental management seriously and employing more and more ecological practices to
- reduce waste and conserve energy;
- help preserve their local communities, countries and the earth;
- promote a green image to attract guests, enhance their guest experience and generate 5-star reviews;
- and cut down their energy bills and expenses to maximise their ROI.
How Can Your Vacation Rental Turn Sustainable?
1. Use Smart Rental Home Solutions
Thanks to the achievements of technology and the presence of numerous remote control and energy-saving smart devices, vacation rental managers can control their vacation rental’s energy consumption and reduce bills. Some examples of these devices include:
Many hosts complain about their guests leaving the air-conditioner on its full power when they go out in summer. Smart thermostats and temperature control devices like SENSIBO and TADO help the vacation rental managers control their AC or heating remotely anywhere and anytime via a mobile app and save great tones of energy and reduce their cooling and heating costs.
Some of these smart devices have the ability to connect to your occupancy calendar and collect your check-in and check-out data to adjust the temperature for your guests and welcome them with pleasant weather when they arrive and turn the heating or cooling system off when they leave.
Smart Light Systems
With the help of smart lighting solutions, vacation rental managers can check that lights aren’t left switched on after their guests leave their property. They can also program them to leave a few lights on during the low seasons in order not to reveal that the property is vacant and work as an economical security measure.
2. Use Renewable Resources
Another bright idea is to use renewable energy generators such as solar panels or wind power to generate hot water and electricity. These systems will add up to your property’s value and your guest experience and pay for themselves in the long run.
3. Use Recyclable Products or Cloth Alternatives
Use water glasses and coffee mugs instead of plastic or paper glasses and bottles of water. Eliminate unnecessary paper consumption. Replace real tableware instead of disposable plates and utensils for serving meals. Provide reusable shopping bags to show your guests you are concerned about minimising your environmental footprint.
Run a recycling program for your home by demanding your guests to separate their wet and dry waste. You can also take an extra step by having divided bins for plastics, paper and glass.
5. Save Energy
Buy no tank water heaters instead of traditional tank storage water heaters to have on-demand hot water available when used. These heaters are more expensive than the traditional water heaters but last longer and save money on your energy bill.
Use programmable water sprinklers for watering your garden with fewer amounts of water and save on your water bills. Install water-saving kitchen and bathroom fixtures and energy-saving windows.
6. Choose Energy Efficient Appliances
Make your home energy-efficient by replacing outdated appliances with the new ones with low energy use. Have a minimal interior design and dismiss unnecessary appliances that your short-term guests are unlikely to use.
7. Run Regular Home Maintenance
Keep down energy waste by checking that all the items in your vacation rental home work properly. Check for leaks and breakages and make sure your home isn’t letting the heat or cool air out. Sometimes, just making little adjustments to your facilities can save great deals of energy.
8. Contribute to the Local Communities
Use locally-sourced supplies and organic materials to protect your local environment and support the businesses inside your niche. Let your vacation rental benefit the vicinity it is located in.
9. Raise Awareness of Cultural and Environmental Values
People travel to learn something. Whether it’s learning a new skill or cuisine, a new language or culture, travelling is an excellent opportunity to learn many new things and find new ways of doing things. People go to different destinations to appreciate the beautiful scenery. So, vacation rental managers can take advantage of this chance to educate their guests about their local environment and the importance of protecting the earth.
10. Make Your Guests’ Vacation Fun While Learning
Spice up your guests’ stay at your property by devising some fun environmental activities. Provide a compost bin in the garden and let them compost their own wet waste. Give your guests a chance for gardening by keeping an organic garden at your yard, which uses rainwater infiltration.
Provide some educational flyers and brochures in your property to teach your guests cultural and environmental values. Give them some tips on how to travel responsibly and invite them to participate in ecological programs run by the local community.
Hoteliers and short-term accommodation providers need to discover the post-pandemic hospitality world’s future trends to adapt, innovate, and keep up with the changes to succeed.
The travellers’ enthusiasm in taking sustainable vacations that causes minimum disturbance to the surrounding environment has brought about an exceptional, mutually profitable situation for accommodation providers. They can kit out their properties with smart energy-efficient appliances to boost the value of their rental property, reduce their energy costs and service fees, and minimise their impact on the environment.