Sustainability is a huge talking point in whatever line of work you’re in, with experts warning that worldwide CO2 emissions must be cut by 45% by 2030 if we’re to meet net zero in 2050. Unpredictable obstacles have hindered this progress too, COVID, war in Ukraine and now a cost of living crisis, that takes attention away from work around sustainability. Now with only seven years to go, many people are nervously looking around as to what to do for the next steps. This includes how short term rentals and impact sustainability.
There’s a huge demand for short term rentals and sustainable options, with a study in 2022 from Booking.com finding that 78% of global travellers intend to stay in a sustainable property at least once over the year ahead. However, 38% of travellers said they are actively looking for sustainable properties, and 40% of travellers say that they have seen one over the past year. This begs the question, are property managers doing enough to ensure that their properties and businesses are sustainable?
Short term rentals and sustainability: What are the OTA’s doing?
As with many sectors, guidance and leadership should come from the top, and the short term rental sector is no exception. In 2021 Airbnb committed to reaching net zero by 2030 and last year announced that their global offices have achieved 100% renewable energy, meaning that they match their office electricity output with 100% renewable energy purchases.
Meanwhile, other big industry players such as Expedia and Booking.com have noted the impact that travel has on climate change, with both announcing plans and roadmaps to help them achieve net zero, although with differing timeframes.
This is a step in the right direction, but how does this trickle down to the property managers?
Eco-badges are an indicator for OTA’s to signal that a property is sustainable, but these can mean a variety of things. For example, Booking.com has a three-tiered system that ranks a property’s sustainable efforts, and uses what is essentially a checklist to score them. This can include things as basic as bio-degradable toilet paper, or as advanced as a wind turbine.
One new initiative that has recently been announced is the launch of Sustonica, the first official sustainability accreditation for vacation rentals. This is open to all property managers, no matter what OTA or platform they may list on, and will act as a universal indicator of sustainability for properties. This is a great step in the right direction, but there is still some guidance needed on what constitutes a sustainable practice.
That’s where Bob Garner comes in, who has recently launched EnviroRental, the sector’s first information hub for sustainability. Bob reached out to us to ask if we would be able to assist with the launch on a pro bono basis. At Abode Worldwide, we feel strongly that the sustainable message needs to get out there and we were very happy to support EnvironRental in its journey to help property managers and hosts green up their businesses.
Bob’s view is that there needs to be more direct action taken, lots of people in the sector are talking about sustainability, but not many are actually willing to do anything. This could either be through common misconceptions, such as that it costs a lot for businesses to be more sustainable, or from priorities being elsewhere.
Bob started EnviroRental to act as the focal point for this information and wanted to spread news of it far and wide – which we were more than happy to assist with. Through the press release announcing the launch, comments featured in key publications such as Skift, podcast appearances and a thoughtful bylined article in PhocusWire, we helped to amplify the news that EnviroRental was a much needed resource for the industry.
It’s clear that there’s a long way to go with our sustainable journey, but it’s important to make everyone feel that they can make a difference. Bob said that it’s more important for lots of people to be doing a little effort, than a small number of people doing a big effort, and we think that rings true. Many are beginning to wake up to the issues at hand, and with the right guidance, we can help to plan for a better future.
Aaron is a PR Account Executive at Abode Worldwide. He brings his journalistic background and passion for communications to support our team with media relations and client services.