Ethical tourism is a growing trend. As we explored in our post about the ethics of Airbnb, people are becoming more concerned about the environment and more interested in having a positive impact on the places they travel to.
So what does all this mean for you as a property owner or host? It means that taking initiatives to make your property eco-friendly and responsible isn’t just great for the Earth, it’s great for your bookings, too.
Here’s what you can do to make your vacation rental more eco-friendly and more appealing to ethical tourists.
How Earth-friendly is your property? There are a lot of simple measures you can take that, along with saving you money as a host, save resources and protect the environment. Consider the following:
Graywater refers to household waste water that can be reused for things like watering the garden. Graywater tanks can easily be installed to collect water from washing machines, showers, kitchen sinks, etc. This is perfect if you have a lawn or garden that needs irrigation.
Separating waste into different bins for glass, plastic, compost, and so on ensures that things are recycled as best as possible. Since different places have different recycling systems, be sure to make it clear to guests.
Replacing old bulbs with modern, energy-saving technology is the greener way to go. A LED light, for example, will use 75% less energy than an incandescent one.
Ecological cleaning products
There are many situations where a good home-made baking soda and vinegar solution will work just as well as a chemical-based one. Environmentally-conscious travellers will be glad to know that things like laundry detergents are eco-friendly or that kitchen sprays are organic.
Reusable shopping bags
Part of the appeal of vacation rentals is being able to go grocery shopping and use the kitchen to prepare your own food. So how about keeping a store of reusable shopping bags that guests can take with them to the supermarket? Over the course of a year that could be dozens of plastic bags saved.
Single-dose products like miniature shampoos and soaps add up, over time, to a lot of packaging waste. Opting for refillable containers that can simply be topped up after each guest is a more eco-friendly option — and can also save you money by buying things in bulk.
Beyond taking measures to protect the environment and make your property more sustainable, there are other ways to directly appeal to ethical tourists. Here are a few ideas worth keeping in mind:
Go local with your guidebook
Responsible travellers care about the impact they’re having on the local community. Help them help your area by filling your guidebook with recommendations of locally-owned restaurants, stores and activities. That way your guests are not only getting an authentic local experience, but any spending they do will also go back into the community.
You might also give recommendations for things like where to rent bicycles, or where to shop for organic produce and eco-friendly products (local farmer’s markets for example).
Share your culture
Whether via guidebook and materials you have at your property or by offering to give guests a verbal introduction, it’s worth sharing information about your community’s local culture and heritage. This fosters greater appreciation and helps tourists understand how to interact with their surroundings.
By considering the environment, the local economy, and your community and its culture, you can foster a more eco-friendly and ethical vacation rental property. One that not only appeals to the new breed of responsible tourist, but that also has a positive impact on the world around it.
What do you think about ethical tourism? If you have ideas to add, we’d love to hear them in the comments.