Supercharge your sustainability action with a digital guidebook



With a digital guidebook you can accelerate your sustainability efforts.

Whether you call it a digital welcome book, guest book, or guidebook, you’ve probably heard of the nifty tool that saves short-term rental operators hours of time in their day. Not to mention, helps them to earn five-star reviews from happy guests.

But have you considered how a digital guest book also functions as a tool in your sustainability arsenal? If you’re looking for tech that makes your business more efficient whilst upholding your climate action plan, then look no further.

We’re going to explore how a digital house manual supports you in developing a more eco-friendly vacation rental business, and what individual brands are doing to help their customers go green.

  • What is a vacation rental digital guidebook?
  • How a digital welcome book makes your business more sustainable
  • How different guidebook brands are helping you to take eco action
  • Green hacks for creating your digital guest book

What is a vacation rental digital guidebook? 

A digital guidebook is just like the traditional house manual that you might leave on the coffee table of your short-term rental property. The key difference is that guests access it through their mobile device. 

It contains all the information that your guests need to make the most of their stay, such as:

  • Directions to your rental property
  • Check-in guidance
  • Appliance instructions
  • House rules
  • Local area recommendations

A digital welcome book brings many advantages over the traditional paper house manual.

Serve guests crucial information before they arrive

Send your digital welcome book to guests’ devices as soon as you confirm their booking. They’ll know what to expect (and what’s expected of them) before they even start packing.

Include your personal recommendations for the best local restaurants, bars, and attractions to fuel their excitement. They’ll arrive at your property raring to go and primed for a good impression.

Allow guests to access tips from anywhere

Whether they’ve just landed and want to remind themselves of how to check-in, or they’re out exploring and struggling to remember the name of your recommended coffee spot, guests will always have the necessary details at their fingertips.

This makes it far less likely that they’ll pepper you with questions during their stay, freeing up precious time in your day.

Easily update information 

If something changes, simply log into your online account, adjust the information in your digital guidebook, and save the edits. Your guests will automatically see the most up-to-date info.

Wow your guests with a sleek design

Most digital guidebook providers allow you to include photos, videos, and external links. Some will even include your logo and brand colours. Take advantage of their polished format to demonstrate your professionalism to your guests.

These are just a taste of the benefits that digital guidebooks bring to your short-term rental business. Beyond a reduction in guest questions and an enhanced guest experience, digital guest books are also an invaluable addition to your sustainability toolbox.

How a digital welcome book makes your vacation rental business more sustainable 

A digital guest book adds rocket fuel to your sustainability efforts. It puts you in the powerful position of reducing your own wastage, whilst also encouraging guests to adopt more environmentally-friendly behaviours.

Reduce waste in your short-term rental operations 

A paper house manual needs to be reprinted every time information changes. Every new appliance, every updated dinner recommendation, every change to your check-out process, requires more paper. If you manage multiple properties, you might need to print multiple new versions of your guest manual.

Plus, we all know that guests can be messy, particularly if you target family groups or pet owners. Reprinting pages every time a visitor spills their coffee quickly consumes both time and paper.

A digital guidebook doesn’t require any paper at all. If information changes, you can simply update the content in your online account and immediately serve it to guests via their mobile device. Reduce your paper carbon footprint and ensure that your guests always have the most up-to-date info – it’s a win-win!

Inspire guests to support your sustainable initiatives 

A digital welcome book is the perfect platform for you to shout about your environmental actions. Tell your visitors about:

  • what you’ve achieved so far
  • your plans for the future
  • how they can get involved

By communicating your green credentials to guests, you prompt them to think more deeply about their own environmental impacts. Many of us want to lead more sustainable lives, but are unsure about where to start. If guests see how you’re running your property in a socially and environmentally responsible manner, they might well apply those principles to their own homes when they return.

At the very least, they’ll be prompted to participate in your green initiatives during their stay, and to consider the environmental impact of future holidays. You’ll have a green impact that reaches far beyond your own actions.

Given that 71% of travellers want to try travelling more sustainably in the coming year, shouting about your eco-friendly projects is an essential part of your marketing strategy. Guests will dip into your digital welcome book throughout their stay to access practical property information, making it the perfect platform for showcasing your sustainable practices.

How guidebook brands are helping you to take eco action

Many digital guidebook providers have realised the green potential their product holds. They’re actively helping their customers to embed sustainability into their vacation rental businesses. Here’s how they’re doing it:

Touch Stay

Touch Stay has developed the Making a Difference category in their guidebook templates. This category provides a dedicated space within your digital guest book where you can delve into your social responsibility initiatives.

Touch Stay understands that we’re all at different stages in our eco journeys. That’s why they allow you to customise content to convey your personal projects, or insert their templated content to get you started. 

At the click of a button, you can direct your guests towards the Touch Stay Ecologi forest to encourage them to offset the carbon footprint of their holiday. Alternatively, you can insert topics which focus on your green initiatives, or your support for social and charitable causes.

Making a Difference in Villa in the Vineyard’s Touch Stay digital guidebook

Make a difference with Touch Stay’s “Local Area Guide”

Each Touch Stay guidebook also includes a “Local Area Guide” which you can use to spotlight green businesses and encourage visitors to support the local economy. Highlight your favourite independent coffee shop, point guests towards the grocery store with locally-grown veg, or even map out their green transport options.

Use your guidebook to involve guests in your climate action plan. Tell them what you’re doing, and explain how they can get involved during their stay (and beyond). You’ll see the rewards in the positive feedback you receive from guests, and in your growing reputation as an eco-conscious vacation home operator.


Enso Connect

The Enso Connect guidebook is contained within their Boarding Pass solution, which offers the chance to channel funds towards eco initiatives through sustainable upsells. One available option is the Carbon Offset Upgrade, which encourages guests to offset their carbon emissions through a small fee added onto the cost of their stay.

In addition, you can add the Sustainable Transport Rental template, which allows you to connect guests to bicycle, e-bike, and even boat rental companies in your area. They can explore to their heart’s content, without adding to their carbon footprint. 

You can even create your own custom upsells, allowing you to encourage your guests to donate to a charity or initiative that’s close to your heart. In this way, Enso Connect makes it easy for you to offset and reduce your guests’ carbon emissions, and easy for your guests to make the greener choice.

The Carbon Offset Upgrade available to Enso Connect customers

Enso Connect highlights that the guidebook itself is an opportunity to showcase local businesses and guide guests through sustainable actions. For example, some of their customers have curated “Recycle Right” sections in their guest guides, walking guests through recycling procedures in the area.

Local burger recommendations in an Enso Connect guidebook

And finally, if you’ve completed third-party sustainability certifications or signed up to external eco commitments, Enso Connect allows you to showcase these logos in your guidebook, cementing your eco credentials in the eyes of your guests.

Enso Connect’s smart home integrations 

Enso Connect is also working on integrations with various smart home devices, such as climate control systems. They’ll soon be able to offer operators energy-saving automations designed with vacation rental businesses in mind.


Hostfully also allows short-term rental operators to upsell carbon offsets via the Marketplace feature in their guidebook. This feature becomes available when you select one of Hostfully’s paid subscriptions. You simply connect your guidebook to your payment processor (most likely Stripe or PayPal), and from here you can start upselling sustainable add-ons to your guests.

Hostfully suggests that you also use this feature to connect guests to environmentally-conscious tour operators and local vendors. This way, you advocate for other sustainable businesses and encourage your guests to support the local economy.


Create an “Eco” tab in your Hostfully guidebook

The Eco tab in The Quail’s Nest Retreat’s Hostfully guidebook

Hostfully’s content is entirely customisable, leaving you free to include as much information as you like about your sustainable initiatives. They suggest creating an “Eco” tab where you:

  • promote green local businesses
  • explain your eco principles
  • illustrate how your property is already eco-friendly, and what you plan to do in the future
  • walk guests through the ways in which they can reduce the environmental impact of their own stay

Stephan Osmont, Hostfully’s own Co-Founder and CTO, uses his guidebook to talk about everything from oyster shell recycling to the wildlife you can spot on the property. With complete freedom to tailor the sustainable content in your guidebook, the sky really is the limit.

Green hacks for creating your digital guest book 

Whichever provider you choose, here’s how you can ensure your digital guest welcome book supports your sustainable mission:

Use templated content 

Both Touch Stay and Enso Connect provide templated guidebook content to help you implement and communicate green initiatives. They’ve provided this content to make it as easy as possible for you to start on your green journey, so use it!

Look to the future 

If you’re just starting to move towards sustainability, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Don’t think that you have to implement a raft of changes overnight in order to immediately insert them all into your guidebook.

Start with one or two easy changes and steadily work your way up from there. You can also use your guidebook to talk about what you will do in the future. This shows your guests that you’ve got a climate action plan in place, and that you’re serious about making long-term changes.

Prompt guests to spread the word

One of the best ways your guests can support your environmental initiatives is by getting the word out. Urge visitors to tell their friends and family about the wonderful green stay they had with you. Your guidebook can help you to do this by:

  • linking out to your social media pages
  • directing guests towards review pages
  • highlighting your referral scheme

This strategy benefits you because word spreads about your sustainable short-term rental business. It also benefits the planet because it exposes more travellers to eco-friendly accommodation options and green strategies they can adopt in their own homes.

Start your green journey with EnviroRental

EnviroRental was established to collate all the tools that short-term rental operators need to meaningfully green their businesses. We know that many rental professionals are serious about limiting their environmental impact, but we also understand that it can be difficult to know where to start.

That’s why we’ve built the EnviroRental Sustainability Roadmap (using Touch Stay’s guidebook technology!). Wherever you are in your sustainability journey, you’ll find actionable strategies to help you take your next step.

Explore the Sustainability Roadmap today to discover all of the tips, guidelines, and tools you need to implement a purposeful, feasible climate strategy.

Explore More EnviroRental Resources