Sustainable Practices and Products for Short Term Rental Hosts!

Main Takeaways

  • A recent VRBO study found that 59% of travelers are willing to spend more on sustainable stays
  • There are many small practices hosts can incorporate into their Airbnbs to reduce their carbon footprint and attract guests
  • From amenities to towels, there are multiple eco-friendly purchase options for hosts that will draw in guests willing to pay more!

The benefits of applying sustainable practices to your short term rental business go far beyond helping the environment; it grows your earnings too! VRBO recently conducted a study and found that sustainable practices draw travelers who are willing to spend more. In fact, 59% of travelers are willing to spend more on a short term stay if they know the place they are staying has environmentally aware and friendly aspects. We know incorporating new sustainable practices can be difficult, so we are highlighting some of our vendors and their products that will help make your vacation rental an eco-friendly experience. 

Linens

Standard Textile is our go-to for hosts who need to buy linens in bulk with wholesale pricing. They have many environmentally friendly linens that we have outlined in our HostGPO member catalogue, but right now we are going to focus on their Gradient Towels. The gradient towels are perfect for vacation rental hosts due to their very plush middle that gets thinner near the edges. Towels take a lot of water and a long time to dry, but you will spend less time washing and drying it with this high tech design. It’s a win-win for your business and the environment!  The gradient line will have guests leaving amazing reviews, while you can breathe easy knowing you’re doing your part!

Did you know that there is a correct way to do laundry that increases the longevity of your towels and linens while saving the environment? Adam Pinkow, our linen representative at Standard Textile, imparted some knowledge on members during our live October Town Hall all about linen wash/drying times! He said to always do what the manufacturer recommends on your detergents and washing machines. This means not overpacking your washer because the suds carrying the dirt will not be able to migrate out and will go back into the linens, leaving them a dingy gray color that bleach will not fix. Additionally, do not use super hot water to avoid drying out your linens! This translates to smaller loads with less heat. The cut in water and energy usage will dramatically reduce your carbon footprint.

Standard Textile has thoughtfully addressed sustainability from all angles, from their manufacturing operations to a massive materials recycling program to delivering pre-laundered sheets and terry products that reduce energy consumption to engineering products for a longer service life. More recently they created the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI). The Better Cotton Initiative is a holistic approach to more sustainable cotton production. Licensed BCI Farmers produce cotton in a way that cares for the environment, minimizing the negative effects of fertilizers and pesticides, and caring for water, soil health, and natural habitats. This is what makes ‘Better Cotton’. We highly recommend Standard Textile due to their history and commitment to the environment.

Amenities

One of the major problems the human race faces is the over use of single-use plastics. We recommend environmentally conscious hosts consider purchasing glass or refillable shampoos and soaps, supply a reusable shopping tote, and ensure recycling and compost availability while providing clearly marked bins. We have partnered with Public Goods because they only provide eco-friendly sustainable products. They are proudly “tree-free” with all of their bottles being made out of sugarcane and bamboo. This means everything is biodegradable and will not be sitting in overfilled landfills for the next thousands of years. They are also cruelty-free and offer a variety of vegan food options. Guests today like to know they are helping the environment, especially if they have just gotten off a plane that uses tons of jet fuel. For more sustainable products options from Public Goods; Click Here for their blog outlining all their sustainable practices! 

Furniture

A major contributor to environmental waste is furniture that is thrown out soon after purchase due to it being broken and bad materials. Brands such as West Elm and Pottery Barn use design to do better. They use durable “contract grade” furniture that lasts considerably longer due to it being built for wear and tear. In addition to their furniture, 60% of their product sales support at least one of their sustainability initiatives. These brands sustainably source their furniture wherever possible, sourcing FSC®‑certified, recycled and upcycled materials, creating less waste. They have also committed to planting a tree for every solid wood piece of indoor furniture sold, approximating about 6 million trees planted by 2023. The results so far are about 1.5 billion gallons of water filtered, 68 thousand tons of air pollutants removed and 1.1 millions tons of carbon dioxide absorbed. Shop West Elm’s sustainably sourced furniture and Pottery Barns solid wood pieces.

Paint

Paint is an incredibly important part of every home (duh!). That is why we have partnered with Backdrop. Backdrop offers a high-end, simplified shopping experience with a premium product: a highly-edited color palette to eliminate decision paralysis, a more efficient and eco-friendly way to sample (peel-and-stick adhesive samples), and paint that is low-VOC, low odor & Green Wise certified. Backdrop is also the first-ever Climate Neutral certified paint brand and a percentage of all sales go towards the International Rescue Committee, a non-profit that supports families who’ve been displaced from their home involuntarily.

HostGPO Recommendations

Currently, at HostGPO we are working very hard to partner with different vendors to bring smart technology to our members’ homes. There is a lot to look forward to there in regards to deals and savings, but for now here is what we encourage hosts to look into and implement…

  • Buy washable rugs whenever possible! Instead of replacing your rug and creating more waste, you can easily toss it in the washing machine. Shop RugsUSA washable rugs through HostGPO for a discount!
  • Try offering an EV Charger. This will boost your listing as well as be a major pull for travelers who are willing to pay more. (They can afford a Tesla; they’ll forsure be able to afford a nicer stay).
  • Create a QR code that links to a digital guidebook. This avoids printing guidebooks that guests may take home with them.
    • In the above guidebook list nearby activities guests can walk to or bike to! This not only promotes local businesses, but saves energy.
  • Seal any cracks in the doors or windows to lower energy costs in your home. 
  • Update your listing to highlight any steps you are taking to be more sustainable in the home. This may be a given after reading the above article, but tends to be a forgotten step!

Craving more? Read our Short Term Rental Lingo for Beginners blog HERE or Helpful Online Resources for Hosts HERE.

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