10 Eco-Friendly Upgrades That Will Make Your Short-Term Rental Irresistible

10 Eco-Friendly Upgrades That Will Make Your Short-Term Rental Irresistible

Going green can seem like an overwhelming, daunting task, especially for business owners and managers. Where do you start? What is really considered eco-friendly anyway? 

When you’re in the hospitality business, you’re in the business of making people feel at home when they’re away from home.

And that means people want to see eco-friendly changes in the places they stay away from home as much as they do at home. It’s even possible that vacationers and short-term renters expect a higher degree of eco-friendliness from a short-term rental than they practice at home.

I see it as a way to also inspire people to make some small changes in their own lives that go a long way toward preservation without making huge sacrifices.

Here are ten sustainable upgrades that will make your short-term rental guests feel at home while promoting greener living without sacrificing comfort. Some of these changes will even save you money, and you can’t go wrong with more profit in your pocket.

1. Commit to Refillable Elegance with Bottiful Home Refillable Bottles

The sustainable hospitality industry is rapidly moving away from single-use plastics. There was a time, not too long ago, when it felt like Christmas when you checked into a hotel, lodge or short-term rental and you went into the bathroom to find all the small bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion and disposable accessories. How many times did you use your own shampoo that you brought with you and place the small personal sized bottles into your luggage to take it home?

The hotels always have the best smelling shampoos and soaps. And somehow it just felt like luxury to have these little freebies already waiting for you when you arrived. It was a feeling of security to know that if you forgot something, you didn’t have to make a midnight run to the closest drug store and find a random shampoo that would be just ok to use for the week.

But that is no longer a feeling that many people have. We think more about the long term impacts of our packaging choices these days. And rightfully so. But that doesn’t mean we have to give up plastic or give up freebies to our guests.

One of the best options for maintaining a no-single use plastic rental facility is to offer the soaps, lotions and shampoos in refillable plastic bottles. Yes, they’re plastic. When you’re hosting guests in your rental, the last thing you need are claims of injury because someone dropped the glass shampoo bottle in the tub and broke or cut a toe. Plastic really is the safest choice. 

Now you can replace disposable single-use plastic bottles with Bottiful Home's chic, wide-mouth refillable bottles and Bottiful Home’s printed plastic bottles for shampoo, conditioner and body wash. Depending on how frequently you turn over your short-term rental, you can save hundreds of plastic bottles per rental unit per year from polluting our planet each year. They also add an air of thoughtful sophistication to your bathrooms and kitchen. Bulk-buying your personal care products to refill these bottles not only cuts costs but also shows guests your commitment to the environment.

2. Illuminate Responsibly with LED Bulbs

Buying LED light bulbs used to mean dealing with the ugliest bulbs on the planet. That is no longer the case. Modern LED bulbs provide a sustainable lighting solution. They have progressed so much in the last 10 years that they now look like normal bulbs and come with the added benefits of emitting much less heat than incandescent bulbs and last so much longer. They’re so cool to the touch that they’re encased in plastic housings instead of glass.

While you may be thinking it’s not good to use plastic where glass could be used, always keep in mind safety as a top priority. Some items are just safer to be handled when they’re plastic. For everything else, there’s glass. How many times have you had to hold one glass bulb in your hand while trying to unscrew a hot glass bulb with the other hand? Insert plastic, and all is well. No more fears of heat and shattering bulbs.

Lighting is a key component of ambiance, and LED bulbs are the champions of eco-friendly illumination. Using up to 75% less energy and lasting 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs, they're a simple switch with profound impacts—up to 25,000 hours of cost savings and energy efficiency.


3. Energy-Efficient Appliances: A Modern Necessity

Appliances are expensive. If you’re new to the short-term rental game, you may not want to invest in all new appliances. But there are several good reasons to consider the switch, only one of which is going green.

Appliances that bear the mark of energy efficiency can save up to 50% of the energy that their older counterparts guzzle up. This saves a lot of money on your utility bills and also places your rental in the higher ranks of eco-conscious living spaces.

Your guests will love that you’ve provided the best in appliances. But possibly more important that that, because almost all newer appliances have been energy star rated, you will rest easier knowing your liability has been significantly decreased by ensuring your appliances are functional and safe. If your appliances aren’t energy star rated, they’re probably so old that you really want to consider replacing them just for security and safety reasons.

4. Smart Thermostats for a Smarter Stay

Smart thermostats are a no-brainer. Not only are they really cost-effective these days, but they’re so easy to install that you usually don’t need a professional. You can do it yourself if you’re good at following instructions and understand a bit about how wiring works. If not, hiring a pro to install these is quite inexpensive and simple to do.

Smart thermostats offer an average of 15% in annual savings on heating and cooling energy. They fine-tune your property’s temperature to the presence of guests, ensuring comfort while conserving energy—automation at its finest.

And you get the peace of mind knowing that when no one is using your property, you’re not spending extra cash heating and cooling it. You can set the minimum and maximum temperature to whatever is reasonable in the area for that time of year. And most smart thermostats let you program them through an app on your phones, so you don’t even have to be there to adjust it to your needs. And your guests will enjoy being able to control the temp easily during their stay.


5. The Sustainable Shopper's Choice: Reusable Grocery Bags

Many people will eat at restaurants when they’re away from home. But there will always be guests who want to purchase groceries and prepare meals themselves. For those guests, they will love to have reusable grocery bags for carrying their groceries from the market to their rental.

Since reusable grocery bags are often stronger and hold more volume and weight than disposable grocery bags, they’ll also be a nice benefit for guests who want to walk to nearby attractions and shops and purchase goods to bring back to the rental. Be sure to tell your guests where you keep the reusable bags so they can make use of them!

When your guests use the reusable bags, they contribute to saving an astonishing 500 grocery bags per bag annually. It's a simple addition that carries considerable weight in the battle against plastic pollution.


 6. Recycling & Composting: The Zero-Waste Goal

Not everyone is going to want to practice composting. It can be inconvenient and, if not done well, may also be a little stinky or seemingly unsanitary. But for the guests who enjoy composting for the benefits it provides the planet, you may want to consider leaving a composting bin with instructions under the kitchen sink, if possible.

Make sure your instructions are very clear on what can and cannot be composted and what to do with the composted material at the end of their stay. Also, be sure to provide a clean composting receptacle for each stay or compostable bags that are easily removed and placed in an outdoor receptacle.

Most of your guests will likely be accepting of recycling options.  To make it easier for your guests to recycle, provide both a trash and a recycling can inside the home, clearly marked as to which is which, or just outside the door to make recycling as convenient as possible. Be sure to leave a list of items that may be recycled in your area either in your guest welcome book or on top of the recycling bin or both places. Most items that get thrown in the trash at recycling plants instead of being recycled are items that can’t be recycled in the area but were placed in the bins by uninformed, well-intended individuals.

By providing recycle and compost bins, you can help reduce average household waste due to recycling by 60%. This easy step shows guests you care about the environment and encourages them to participate in your sustainability efforts.


7. Luxurious Slumbers with Organic Cotton Bedding and Linens

You won’t find any arguments from guests on going organic with your linens. Not only are they the greener option, but they’re often the most luxurious and allergen-free option as well. If you’ve managed property for long, you know the fewer allergens the better. This means providing your guests with bedding fibers that won’t irritate even sensitive skin types and are easy for your cleaning crew to clean, replace and fluff.

Organic linens can be more of an investment, but this is one place to splurge. Your guests will thank you, and you’ll get an opportunity to give them a comfortable experience while marketing your green efforts. Make sure you tell your guests about your hypo-allergenic practices and organic linens in advance. They’ll love this added benefit.

Organic cotton uses 88% less water and 62% less energy to manufacture. Offer your guests the chance to wrap up their day in the soft embrace of organic bedding and linens—it's a luxurious, guilt-free comfort they will surely appreciate.

8. Solar-Powered Exterior Lighting: For Nights as Eco-Friendly as Days

Solar powered exterior lighting is a no-brainer for going green. Not only do you save money on utility costs, but you get to impress your guests with a well-manicured and well-lit property. Whether your guests are showing up at night or just walking the property at dusk, they’ll appreciate the safety and convenience of having exterior lighting that comes on automatically at dusk and turns off at dawn.

You’ll love the convenience of knowing your property is well-lit even when no one is there and not having to program the lights. Plus solar lights are very inexpensive, long-lasting and cheap to replace on an as-needed basis. Use solar lighting to light up a pool area or outdoor fire pit. Use them to line a walkway to the front door or a path to the lake. There are so many great ways to use solar lighting to amp up the comfort of your property without a single cent spent on electricity.

Fully powered by the sun, solar exterior lights reduce energy use for outdoor lighting by 100%. They offer a twofold benefit: enhancing safety and ambiance while eliminating electricity use for exterior lights.

9. Clean and Green with Non-Toxic Supplies & Products

Transitioning to non-toxic cleaning supplies and products significantly reduces the impact of cleaning solutions, water treatment and cleaning supplies packaging on marine life and provides a safer environment for guests with sensitivities or allergies. It's a thoughtful upgrade that won't go unnoticed.

You can go fully allergen and toxin free these days. There are plenty of products now offering greener cleaning solutions. If you really want to go green, just arm your cleaning company with white vinegar, baking soda and rubbing alcohol. Between these three natural products, you can get almost anything clean and bacteria and germ-free. And you won’t leave behind any residue. Families with pets and kids that hang out mostly on floors will love this green approach. Highlight this benefit in your welcome book.


10. The Warmest Welcome: A Green Welcome Kit

Round off your green upgrades with a green welcome kit. Include tips on reducing energy and water usage, local places accessible by bike or foot, and a list of all the eco-friendly features of your property. It's not just a guide; it's an invitation to join you on a journey towards sustainability. When you include all the actions you’re taking on your property to set a greener example in your property listing and your welcome book, your guests will more apt to follow your example and give you better ratings too.

These upgrades are not only about making a statement or following a trend. They're about taking meaningful action towards a more sustainable future. And as guests become more eco-conscious, these features can set your property apart, making it not only a place they'd love to stay at but also a choice they can feel good about.

Implement these green upgrades and watch your short-term rental stand out in the crowded market. It’s not just good for the earth; it’s great for business too. It's an excellent way to inspire guests and reinforce your position as an eco-friendly host.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.