Tourism giant Booking.com recently released its annual Sustainable Travel Report, based on the opinions of 33,000 travelers from 35 countries. Climate change and an uncertain economic situation after several years of the COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping the way people see their role in saving the planet for future generations.
All of this directly affects the tourism industry. Booking.com has prepared a comprehensive report that includes some interesting statistics that may be useful for vacation rental owners and managers. Find out everything you need to know about Booking.com’s Sustainable Travel Report 2023 and what you can do as a host to meet the needs of your guests.
3 highlights from Booking.com’s Sustainable Travel Report 2023
The fact sustainable tourism is on the rise is nothing new. For many years already, we have all become more aware of the problem of climate change. The increasing frequency of natural disasters and activist protests around the world, from peaceful to violent, mean that this issue is not going unnoticed. Numerous studies on current travel trends, such as HomeToGo’s for 2023, clearly show many travelers are looking for more sustainable and environmentally friendly options, from lodging to transportation choices.
Fully understanding this important trend can help us transform the short-term rental industry accordingly. Based on Booking.com’s annual report, we have selected 3 key aspects that vacation rental owners and hosts must keep in mind if they want to develop their business and help save the planet.
1. General awareness and willingness to act vs. high costs
The data are clear: the majority of travelers surveyed, up to an average of 80%, confirm that more sustainable travel is important for them.
In addition to the demand for green solutions, there is also an awareness of the urgency of these alternatives. 74% of those surveyed believe that it is time to act now and make more sustainable choices to preserve the planet for future generations, up from 66% the previous year.
However, supply does not currently meet demand. Not only are there not enough green options on the market (according to 51% of respondents). The few sustainable solutions available are often too expensive, as 49% of people said, a figure markedly up from last year’s survey.
This leads travelers to face an uncomfortable choice. Give up a well-deserved vacation because they cannot afford the sustainable option or decide to travel anyway?
2. The rise of the responsible traveler
This brings us to the second key point of Booking.com’s annual Sustainable Travel Report, namely the rise of the so-called “responsible traveler.”
This term is used to describe those tourists who are aware of their ecological impact and actively work to reduce it during their vacation. From small daily actions, such as avoiding the use of single-use plastic and using reusable shopping bags, responsible travelers try to combine their desire to travel with respect for the environment.
Here are some statistics extracted from the Booking.com report:
- 67% of guests turned off the air conditioning when they were not in the property.
- 60% reused the same towels several times.
- 55% opted for the reusable water bottle while on vacation.
- 77% turned off lights and appliances when leaving the property.
- 45% recycled their waste during the trip.
- 43% planned their sightseeing so that they could travel by foot, bicycle or public transportation.
3. The growth of sustainable tourism
Booking.com’s Sustainable Travel Report 2023 highlights a third trend of great importance to vacation rental owners and hosts. This is the growth in popularity of a new form of sustainable tourism that seeks to go far beyond: regenerative tourism.
While the former seeks to reduce the traveler’s environmental impact, the latter seeks to give back to the land and locals that have often been damaged by mass tourism. Think of places like Venice, where the living conditions of locals have been degraded by the huge number of people who flock to the city each year.
According to the report by the booking site Booking.com, 66% of respondents say they want to leave the places they visited better than when they arrived, while 69% want the money spent on their vacation to go to the local community.
How can travelers and guests participate in sustainable tourism? For example, by buying from small independent stores (43% of respondents said this), participating in tours and activities organized by locals, and traveling in the off-season to avoid overcrowding (43% of respondents said this). What can you, as a vacation rental owner, do to keep up with this travel trend?
How vacation rental hosts can meet the demand for sustainable, responsible and sustainable options
Booking.com’s report shows how climate change is profoundly revolutionizing the travel industry as more and more travelers are aware of their environmental impact. The best solution for all hosts and vacation rental owners who want to grow their business is to meet the demand for more responsible and environmentally friendly options.
So what can you do? Here are some tips.
First, make sure your vacation rental meets basic green standards, such as recycling waste, providing reusable tools (silverware, glasses) and avoiding energy waste. Use sustainable brands and, if you offer breakfast included, use local, zero-waste products.
Take a look at municipal facilities and incentives for transitioning to environmental sustainability, such as installing solar panels.
Show your commitment to the environment
According to Booking.com’s report, 44% of travelers don’t know where to find sustainable options. So if your vacation rental property is taking green measures for the environment such as agro-tourism, rural lodging, B&Bs or something else, be sure to state it clearly. Write it in your listing description on booking sites, show it on your direct booking website and on your social media.
You could also create a video for your vacation rental that specifically explains your sustainable offer. Make sure that people looking for these options are able to find your vacation rental.
Offer discounts and economic incentives for those who choose sustainable options
Regardless of their desire to be greener, many tourists find sustainable options too expensive. So why not offer them an economic incentive to book your sustainable vacation rental?
In recent years, several rental properties have provided discounts for guests who chose not to have their towels washed every day. Some hosts add extra fees for those who do not want to recycle waste and discounts for those who decide to book in the off-season, avoiding crowding the resort. You could also strike a deal with a local bike rental store and offer a discount to guests who select this transportation option.
Highlight local green options
Local food and craft stores, activities organized by locals, nature walks: illustrate sustainable options on your vacation rental listings, on your website, and in your digital Guest Guide. Give tips on how to use public transportation and where to buy tickets, and direct them to sustainable options.
Share these offers and activities on your vacation rental’s social media as well.
Conclusion: sustainability can grow your vacation rental business
Sustainable tourism is a trend that, fortunately, is here to stay.
As a vacation rental owner or host, you can do many things to become more eco-friendly. A growing number of guests will be more than happy to book your vacation rental rather than another that does not make the same effort to preserve the environment. Not only will you be doing your part in reducing climate change, but you will also be able to increase your short-term rental business.
To help you manage your vacation rental, consider using a channel manager such as Smoobu. This allows you to synchronize your calendars in real time and automate several manual tasks, such as communicating with your guests. Want to learn more? Start our 14-day free trial and try Smoobu’s channel manager.
Table of Contents
- 1 3 highlights from Booking.com’s Sustainable Travel Report 2023
- 2 How vacation rental hosts can meet the demand for sustainable, responsible and sustainable options
- 3 Conclusion: sustainability can grow your vacation rental business