How Vacation Rental Software Can Help You Become Eco-Friendly

Nov 24 2022

Get tips on how to use Hostfully to optimize your vacation rental business and make more profit.


What’s in this article?

Business owners in all industries are waking up to the fact that going green is essential for profitability and sustainability and not just a set of buzzwords or a marketing strategy. Technology is not only improving the bottom line and making life easier for vacation rental property owners—it’s playing an important role in combating the challenge of being eco-friendly. It also attracts more guests that care about sustainable travel. Here’s how you can get on it and be the proud owner of an eco-friendly vacation rental.

Sell carbon offsets through your Guidebook Marketplace

Before your guest even checks in, you should be leveraging the power of tech to reduce your carbon footprint. For example, the old-fashioned paper guidebook, left for guests to find on arrival, should already be a thing of the past. This is where digital guidebooks can be doing a lot more for your short-term rental business than you think.

Modern digital guidebooks offer everything the guests need to know at the touch of a link without downloading additional apps. They can be sent to your vacation rental clients before they arrive at the property, and actively used to add value to your offering through the Marketplace feature. An innovative touch such as using Marketplace to offer your guests the chance to buy carbon offsets for their air travel would be a great tool in your eco initiative. You can also use the marketplace feature to promote tours from local companies that share the same commitment to sustainability and positive social change. Similarly, you can upsell products from local vendors you’ve vetted.


link to article on offset carbon in vacation rental business

To set up a Marketplace, you’ll need a digital guidebook provider and a payment processor like Stripe or Paypal. When a guest makes a purchase (carbon offsets, local tours, products) you’ll receive a notification and the payment. You can then manually contact the vendor in question. Or, you can automate the process with integrations like Zapier.

So how about it? Go green and try out Hostfully’s Digital Guidebooks. You can get one free, forever! Click here:

Switch your guidebooks to paperless

A genuine green initiative is more about concrete actions than just marketing buzzwords. Printed guidebooks not only use a lot of non-renewable resources, but they’re also a missed branding opportunity.

When guests explore the local area, they’ll open your guidebook with your company logo, and the entire look and feel customized to your branding colors. It’s a powerful reminder for your guests that they’re staying with professionals.

So you won’t just save paper and ink. With digital guidebooks, you’ll offer a dynamic, configurable solution that works on mobile devices or desktops, improving your guest experience.

Promote eco leaders in your area through the guidebook

The digital guidebook should be leveraged as a useful, interactive tool. Build relationships with eco-friendly local businesses, and use it to recommend them. Our digital guidebooks are customizable, so you could set up an “Eco” tab for this—you’ll likely gain from their customers getting to know you as an environmentally aware business too.

It’s a reliable way to place eco-considerations right at the core of your offering. You could even let your eco-conscious clients speak for themselves, leaving their recommendations for green businesses in the area for others. It’s a win-win-win-win for you, your guests, the local businesses, and the planet.

digital guidebook banner

The Property Management Platform as a tool to drive your green initiative

A solid Property Management Platform (PMP) will include features that will significantly make your operations greener. PMPs do this with integrations with third-party software that will not only reduce your carbon footprint, but save you time and effort.

Smart thermostats and lights linked to your central calendar

Smart thermostats can be linked to your central calendar via the Property Management Program. The thermostats will adjust the temperature remotely for changes in the weather, and the PMP will adjust for when the property is unoccupied. The integration from the thermostats to the PMP takes into account booking information to adjust the temperature based on your settings. Some models of thermostats can even alert you if your guests leave a window open while they’re out, for example.

As an added bonus, smart thermostats will also monitor the temperature of vacation rental properties when guests are there and lower energy costs when they leave the property.

Smart lighting, also controlled centrally through our PMP, become energy-efficient by ensuring nothing is left on when the property is vacant. This will help cut down on your energy bills.

And thanks to our partnership with companies like Operto, SmartLock and Lynx (which are integrated with our PMP), those same software providers can also handle guest-entry management through smart locks. Streamline your operations, save money and make a positive environmental impact at the same time with our PMP’s intelligent tools. A smart home really is the way of the future.

PMP-managed smart locks eliminate in-person greetings

You can also use the PMP to eliminate in-person greetings at check-in. This will save a lot of time and make a positive impact on your carbon footprint by cutting out unnecessary travel by car. Modern vacation rental property clients are accustomed to letting themselves into properties and no longer expect to be greeted in person. In fact, many even prefer it.

Our case study on smart locks demonstrates their benefits on security, guest experience and energy expenditure.

List on eco-friendly sites

We’ve already seen how important optimized distribution is to maximize occupancy. Of course you need to be visible on Airbnb, Vrbo, and all the well-known sites, but you need to cover more specifically targeted sites too. With channel manager partners like NextPax and Rentals United you can list your properties on eco-friendly sites. Both are integrated into our PMP, meaning you’ll cover every possible channel and make your offering visible to clients who want their vacation rental experience to be as green as possible.

By attracting eco-conscious travelers, you’ll have better chances at selling some of your eco-friendly upsells. These travelers are also more likely to see value in the small steps you took to be environmentally friendly. That translates to higher average daily rates.

Other OTAs include Responsible Travel and Ecobnb.

Sustainable technology options

There are a number of non-software tech options that you can also consider. These don’t break the bank and also make a positive impact on your bottom line. Do your research into the options available and think broadly about where you could implement them:

    • Rainwater can be harvested and filtered without energy being expended, saving on your water bills. Greywater can be reused too, with the right system in place.
    • Solar power and wind power have shown considerable returns on the original investment over time, and they’re a sustainable, renewable source of energy. Moreover, net metering rules in many US states mean you’ll be compensated for excess power you contribute to the grid. If you can’t install solar panels or wind turbine, consider switching to a provider that generates renewable energy from those sources.
    • LED and CFL bulbs, for a small initial outlay, burn brighter, last longer and are energy-saving compared to traditional light bulbs. With lower energy consumption, you’ll spend less on bills.
    • Charging stations for electric vehicles (EV) may be worth looking into, especially if you have multiple properties close to one another (to make the expense worth it). Services like EVmatch and Ok2Charge can help you offset costs and even rent out your station!

Keep an open mind, and examine your vacation rental business for where tech can make an impact. You may be able to help your bottom line and you’ll certainly be able to make an impact on your carbon footprint with sustainable practices.

Optimized and greener—tech is the key

From the start of the vacation rental process, through the experience to check-out and beyond, tech holds the key to optimizing your operations and making your business greener. Don’t be left behind using out-of-date, inefficient and wasteful methods; leverage technology’s power and use eco-friendly practices to become a sustainable accommodation and homeowner in the rental industry.