The recently published Travel Advisor Travel Trends for 2011 makes for interesting reading with statistics showing that those considering renting a vacation home has risen from 39% – 47% since last year’s survey. All good news for vacation rental owners but the best part of the report is the nuggets of information we can use to better market our properties and attract more rental guests. Here’s one you could act on right now:
“47 percent will take eco-friendly factors in to consideration, such as their carbon footprint or “green” hotel policies, when making travel plans in 2011”
Do you have a green policy? Do you mention the efforts you make to be eco-friendly on your listing? If not, now is the time to let potential guests know what you do (and what they can do) to create a greener environment at your location.
Here are some ideas:
Clearly show in your listing you have thought about the environment
You could write a couple of lines that describe your environmental policy in the listing, such as the following:
“We love and respect our local environment and hope our guests will too. We recycle; only use environmentally friendly cleaning products and use energy efficient appliances. When you select our property for your vacation, you’ll be contributing to a greener world”
Write a set of green guidelines for your rental guests
Don’t expect your guests to arrive all gung-ho for going green. They are on vacation and will often dispense with the environmental actions they may take at home. You will need to spell out what you want them to do with garbage; that fans, lights and electrical items should be turned off when not in use; and what can and cannot be sent down the sink and toilets. Give them a reason for doing this – explain a bit about what you are doing as part of your own environmental actions – as this may encourage them to get involved too.
Provide the means for guests to recycle garbage
This means offering a clear set of instructions for separation (in accordance with your local requirements), and providing recycling boxes and clear bags. If you regularly compost then encourage your guests to dispose of their organic garbage correctly. It is quite acceptable to say there will be a fine for not recycling in areas where it is mandatory, because your guests’ failure to do so, may mean you having to sort their garbage after they have left. Just remember they may come from an area where this is not a standard practice so you are expecting them to do something they are not used to.
Put up a clothes line and provide clothes pins
Suggest in your guide that it is more environmentally efficient to dry clothes outside in the summer rather than using an electric dryer, and that that they should do this where possible. Also ask that they only use the washer when they have a full load.
Provide the environmentally friendly cleaning products you want them to use
Lead the way and provide the products you want your guests to use. If you don’t and you are asking for them to clean before they leave, it’s likely they will buy the cheapest products available locally which may not be what you want going down your septic system. And on that note, if you use a specific type of toilet paper such as one-ply, you should supply that as well as letting them know they should not use any other variety.
Think about your own commitment to responsible renting and see if you can make a difference as an owner. Who knows – it may rub off on your guests.