Sustainability is changing the short-term rental industry



How sustainable initiatives are influencing the short-term rental sector’s future


As we come to understand the stark reality of the climate crisis, it’s all too easy to succumb to a feeling of paralysed helplessness. If the big players – the governments and the corporations – aren’t doing their bit, what power do we as individuals have?

And yet, what if we told you that the big players in the short-term rental industry are taking action? In 2022, organisations such as, Expedia, and Travalyst all launched groundbreaking sustainable initiatives.

If you’re a short-term rental operator looking for a ray of hope to serve as inspiration for your own green journey, you’ve arrived at the right spot. This blog will take a look at the good news we can already report, and at what we can do in 2023 to build on the sustainability progress we’ve made.

2022: short-term rental sustainability breakthroughs

In 2022, vacation rental professionals saw a significant drive towards a more sustainable rental industry. Let’s take a look at a few of the most notable eco developments to emerge over the past year.

Travellers are demanding a more sustainable industry 

In recent years, and Expedia have used their platforms to gain insight into travellers’ attitudes towards climate change. Each year, guests express a greater desire to stay in environmentally-friendly accommodation.

The 2022 Sustainable Travel Report gathered data from more than 30,000 travellers across 32 different countries. It found that:

  • 71% of travellers wanted to make an effort to travel more sustainably
  • 78% intended to stay in sustainable accommodation at least once in the coming year
  • 38% actively looked for information about an accommodation’s sustainable credentials before they booked

Similarly, Expedia’s 2022 Sustainable Travel Study, which spoke to 11,000 participants across 11 international markets, found that:

  • 90% of consumers look for sustainable options when travelling
  • 70% have avoided a travel destination because they were sceptical that the commitment to sustainability was sincere
  • 50% would pay more for accommodation if it were a more sustainable option

Globetrotters want to see more sustainable travel options out there, and they’re willing to put their money where their mouth is. Your green initiatives are more than a responsible choice for the planet, they’re an asset to your business.

Short-term rental associations are organising around climate action

It’s not only guests who are giving their opinions on eco initiatives. The Global Short-Term Rental Sustainability Research Project is gathering data from across the globe to refine sustainability best practices.

The project is asking vacation rental operators about their current action on sustainability, and their attitudes towards future efforts. It will use the results of this survey to create a resource that short-term rental operators can use as a benchmark for their eco action. 

The aim is to collate data from short-term rental operators across the world in order to generate powerful, consistent guidance on meaningful climate action. We will report on the findings when they are published in the spring.

Travalyst is streamlining sustainability data for guests 

When trying to make more sustainable choices, travellers often come up against a wall of conflicting information, misleading claims, and confusing badges. Travalyst wants to establish accurate, consistent sustainability information, and clearly communicate it to consumers.

 Travalyst is working with organisations such as:

  • Expedia Group
  • Google
  • Skyscanner
  • Tripadvisor
  • Visa

Through these partners, they’re standardising how we present data across platforms that consumers are already using. So, whether guests are searching for accommodation on Google or, they’ll see the same (reliable!) information, presented in the same way.

Sustonica’s sustainability recognition specifically serves vacation rental homes 

Sustonica is the very first green accreditation created by and for the vacation rental industry. It has three tiers of badges based on how many points you score on their standards.

You can display the badge on your website, listing, social media, and even in your rental. Much like Travalyst, Sustonica wants to create a transparent, trusted sustainability indicator for the growing number of travellers who are prioritising the environment.

Take Sustonica’s test today and see if you’re already eligible for their certification! has enhanced its Travel Sustainable badge

In 2022, updated their Travel Sustainable badge to give guests greater clarity about the precise steps accommodations are taking to go green. You can now qualify for one of three separate levels, and your listing will explain this to travellers.

If you hold a third-party sustainability certification, also signals this to users. These steps aim to:

  • empower guests to more effectively explore sustainable travel options
  • reward operators who can evidence that they’re taking meaningful eco action had already established its Travel Sustainable initiative in 2021. By further developing it in 2022, they signal that they’re invested in a long-term commitment to their sustainable solutions.

More vacation rental events are going green

Short-term rental conferences and trade shows set the agenda for the entire industry. That’s why it’s so important that industry events tackle their own carbon footprint, as well as encouraging attendees to take action themselves.

The good news is that Green VR Events is forging ahead with a practical playbook that guides event organisers through strategies to make their event more sustainable. Over the past year, Green VR Events has brought on board some game-changing vacation rental conferences:

  • The Book Direct Show
  • Scale Rentals Show
  • Vacation Rental World Summit
  • Avantio
  • Book Direct Success Summit
  • GuestyVal
  • Vitur Summit

In 2023, each of these events is taking significant steps to green their operations, and they’ll be encouraging you to do the same. Crucially, they’re putting sustainability on their agenda so that attendees can learn and take action themselves.

Sustainability awards are rewarding operators’ eco efforts

A growing number of awards are recognising the work that short-term rental operators are putting in to reduce their environmental impact. 

Winning, or even being shortlisted for, one of these awards generates invaluable publicity for vacation rental owners and managers. It also signals to eco-minded guests that you’re the right accommodation for them. You can display the award badge:

  • on your website
  • in your listings
  • in your email footer
  • on your social media

Why not check out which sustainability awards you might be eligible for? Most are easy to enter, and all bring some serious kudos if you’re selected for the shortlist. We’re seeing more and more of these awards spring up, and we hope to hear of more in the future.

EnviroRental is signposting sustainability for vacation rentals

Last but definitely not least, EnviroRental was launched at the beginning of 2023! Our mission is to remove the hurdles you face when you decide to take sustainable action.

Many short-term rental operators understand the gravity of the climate crisis and would like to reduce their environmental impact. The difficulty we often face is a lack of clear information about practical steps we can take. It’s all very well knowing that we need to change how we operate, but where do we start in practice?

Right here! EnviroRental has collated a treasure trove of sustainability resources, from webinars and measurement tools, to your very own Sustainability Roadmap. We’ve assembled everything you’ll need to determine what your starting point should be, and precisely where your next step will take you.

Check out the EnviroRental Sustainability Roadmap today to access clear, actionable strategies that will get you started on your path to sustainability.

2023: maintaining the sustainability momentum

There’s a lot of exciting stuff currently happening in the short-term rental sustainability space, with everyone from large organisations to individuals creating the resources we need.

However, this doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels. According to the United Nations, we need to reduce our greenhouse gas production by 45% by 2030, and reach net zero by 2050. That means we have just seven years to drastically cut our emissions.

Let’s take a look at what steps we can take this year to ensure we continue heading in the right direction.

Share your sustainability data

In order to make eco-friendly choices, short-term rental operators and guests alike need to be able to access transparent, accurate sustainability information. They need to know:

  • how to measure their emissions
  • what reduction in emissions they should aim for
  • when they should be aiming to achieve that reduction
  • which strategies will be most effective
  • what support is available to them

So, if you’re invited to take part in an environmental sustainability survey, to be the focus of a case study, or to share your green journey so far, take the opportunity! By sharing details about your own sustainability action, you help organisations such as Travalyst and the Global Short-Term Rental Sustainability Research Project to hone their tools.

Create your own Climate Action Plan

A Climate Action Plan is simply your record of how you’re going to create a more sustainable vacation rental business. In it, you’ll probably look at the:

  • reasons for which you’ve decided to create a Climate Action Plan
  • green initiatives you already have in place
  • changes you plan to make
  • targets you hope to achieve
  • timescales in which you want to apply to those targets

This is a really good way of clarifying your thoughts around sustainability efforts and how they fit into your short-term rental business, before launching into effective action.

If you’re looking for more detail on how to write your plan, check out our article that guides you through creating your own Climate Action Plan.

Get recognised for your green practices 

Sustainability certifications are another useful tool that can help you structure your thinking around climate action. You won’t need to start from scratch when planning what steps to take, and in what order to take them. You can simply work your way through the certification’s required actions, and then receive a badge to prove that you’re up to standard.

Choose green vacation rental events

We can encourage more short-term rental industry events to go green by choosing to attend the ones which have already done so. If organisers see that sustainable events are attracting more visitors, they’re likely to consider making their own event more eco-friendly. Your choices have real power!

Plus, by heading to sustainable events, you automatically reduce your own emissions. Don’t forget the online events; their emissions are obviously much lower, and you cut out any emissions associated with your travel.

Spread the word and stay in the loop 

One of the most significant things you can do is also one of the easiest – spread the news about sustainability! We can see that progress is happening, and it’s up to us to make sure that we don’t lose momentum.

Now is the time to make sure that you’re:

  • following people who are talking about sustainability – amplify their articles, posts, and voices; educate yourself about what needs to be done.
  • using your own platform – if you have the opportunity to write an article, appear on a podcast, speak at an event, or even post to your social media, take the chance to draw attention to climate action
  • including green information in your marketing – honestly and openly talk about what you’re doing now, and what you plan to do in the future; use your marketing to inspire guests and other operators to make sustainable choices.

We all need to shout as loudly as possible to ensure that our focus stays on the sustainable action that we must take.

Get started with your Sustainability Roadmap today 

Today, you only need to do one thing. Access the EnviroRental Sustainability Roadmap in order to determine where you are in your green journey, and what your next move will be.

Inside, you’ll discover a step-by-step guide to embedding sustainability into your short-term rental business. Whether you’re just starting out on your environmental journey, or you’re simply looking for the next step, there’ll be clear, actionable strategies to support you.

Created by vacation rental operators, for vacation rental operators, it’s the one-stop-shop that answers all of your sustainability questions.

Explore More EnviroRental Resources