Starting a sustainability plan

In an era of growing environmental consciousness, the luxury rental industry stands at a crossroads. How can we balance the desire for opulence with the need for sustainability? Can we create properties that not only exude luxury but also minimise their environmental impact and contribute to the well-being of local communities?

The answer is YES. The first step is to acknowledge that starting a sustainability plan is not a daunting task but rather a journey of continuous improvement. By adopting small yet impactful changes, property managers and owners can transform their properties into beacons of conscious luxury. This sets a precedent for others in the industry and contributes to a more sustainable future for all.

Why starting small is the key to success

Starting small is often the most effective way to achieve a more sustainable goal. It allows you to test the waters and make adjustments as you go. Without overwhelming yourself with a long list of changes. Additionally, small changes can have a surprisingly big impact over time. For example, switching to LED lightbulbs can save you money on your energy bills. Using reusable water bottles or mineral-packed filtered water can significantly reduce your plastic waste.

You have probably already started

You may be surprised to learn that you have already taken some steps towards responsible practices without even realising it. For instance, many luxury rentals use organic products or display local artwork or ensure to get most of their food ingredients from the local farmers market, all responsible choices. When such practices, voluntary or market-driven to match guests’ expectations, are combined with transparent communication and awareness, they epitomise conscious experiences and practices that will convert your guests into your Ambassadors. the dream of any hospitality expert.

Bring your guests to visit your local organic farmer’s shop. Source Kenny Eliason – Unsplash

How to start your sustainability plan?

The best place to start is with a small action that is relevant to your property or portfolio and will enhance the guest experience. Maybe you could focus on marine conservation for a coastal location by removing single-use plastic and getting involved with a conservation project. Or you could support your employees by helping in their community with donation schemes of unused food or creche facilities for children. Choose actions which feel achievable and resonate with your brand. In this way, you will be sure of some quick wins and be confident to share your responsible actions with all your stakeholders.

A sustainability plan is not limited to eco-friendly practices. It also encompasses actions that generate a more positive impact on your surrounding community, your employees, your suppliers and creative ideas to elevate your guests’ experience

Responsible tourism and business success

Starting a sustainability plan is not just about doing the right thing for the environment – it will also be good for business. Responsible tourism practices can improve your property’s reputation and attract a growing number of environmentally conscious guests. Additionally, they can save you money on your energy bills, water usage, and waste disposal costs.

Here are some of the main areas to consider when starting on your sustainability plan.

Reducing consumption

Responsible practices can help luxury rentals minimise their environmental impact by reducing overall resource consumption, such as water and energy usage. This aligns with the hospitality industry’s growing commitment to environmental stewardship. According to a study by the Carbon Brief, the hospitality industry accounts for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Importantly, 70% of those emissions stem from energy consumption. By implementing energy-efficient appliances, smart thermostats, and water-saving measures, luxury rentals can significantly reduce their carbon footprint.

Reducing costs

A commitment to sustainability goes hand in hand with cost savings. Incorporating sustainable practices into luxury rentals can lead to significant reductions in energy and water bills. For instance, switching to energy-efficient appliances and adopting water-saving equipment can significantly lower operating expenses, without compromising the guests’ experience.

A study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that commercial buildings, including luxury rental properties, that adopt energy-efficient practices can reduce their energy costs by an average of 30%.

Reducing carbon emissions

Sustainability efforts can also help luxury properties reduce their carbon footprint, contributing to a more secure and safe future. This aligns with the growing consumer demand for environmentally conscious businesses.

For example, converting to an energy supplier with renewable sources, promoting eco-friendly transportation options, and implementing waste reduction strategies can significantly lower carbon emissions. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that the hospitality industry is responsible for 3% of global carbon emissions. By adopting responsible practices, luxury rentals can play a crucial role in mitigating the effects of climate change.

A private EV charger in your home has become a sought-after facility. source Freekpik

Attracting impact investors

Focusing on sustainability and measurable impact is essential for the future of humanity. Consequently, it is increasingly attracting impact investors who are seeking to support companies that prioritise environmental and social responsibility. A study by Fairfield Market Research found that the impact investing market is expected to reach $4.5 trillion by 2030.

By showcasing their commitment to sustainability, luxury rentals can increase their appeal to impact investors. This increases their chances of potentially securing valuable funding for a sustainability plan, leading to increased prosperity for their business and the planet.

Attracting and retaining top talent

In addition to attracting investors, sustainability can also enhance a luxury rental’s ability to attract and retain top talent, particularly among individuals who value social responsibility and environmental consciousness. According to a survey by Cone Communications, 70% of millennials are more likely to buy from companies that are committed to social responsibility. By prioritising sustainability, luxury rentals can attract and retain a highly skilled and motivated workforce.

Enhancing the guest experience:

Making conscious luxury part of your brand will undoubtedly enhance the guest experience. This will encourage good guest reviews as well as encourage repeat visits and referrals. For instance, showcasing cutting-edge green building techniques and technology as well as offering sustainable options like organic food make a positive impression on guests.  Promoting local experiences and supporting social initiatives helps guests feel immersed in the local culture, a key reason for travelling. A study by Accenture found that 86% of travellers are willing to pay more for sustainable travel experiences.

Become a Conscious Luxury Leader

By embracing sustainability, luxury rentals can set themselves apart as leaders in the conscious luxury movement. This will inspire others in the industry to adopt similar practices and be part of a collaborative effort to create a better world. This approach can establish a competitive advantage and position your brand as a pioneer in environmentally and socially responsible practices. According to a report by Deloitte, conscious luxury is expected to be a major trend in the coming years, driven by consumer demand for environmentally and socially responsible brands. Luxury rentals that embrace sustainability can capitalise on this trend and lead the industry to a more sustainable future.

Raising awareness of responsible tourism is every professional’s duty. Source Floride Guidebook – Unsplash

Being sustainable does not mean being perfect

It is important to remember that being sustainable does not mean being perfect. A sustainability plan is about making a difference in the areas that your brand has an impact. This will be different for every business. If we all do this, everyone can play a small role, adding up to a huge difference. 

“We have clearly identified that medium to large scale property managers are keen to consider a rigorous yet more bespoke framework of practices that would be a better fit for their company mission and the specificities of their portfolio. The QALIA sustainability management system and validation process provides them with the right tools to engage in their journey.”

Check out the QALIA Framework for ideas of where best to start your sustainability plan.

It is also important to use the concept of conscious luxury to communicate your sustainability efforts to your guests. This should be done through your website, social media, marketing materials, and signage. You might offer incentives to guests to help them uphold your responsible initiatives and make the conscious choice the intuitive one. 

Starting a sustainability plan is the first step towards creating a conscious luxury property that is both environmentally friendly and financially beneficial for you and the surrounding community. 

Remember, sustainability is not a destination but a journey. As you progress, you will find that sustainable practices actually impact every part of your business, from procurement to hiring and cleaning practices.

So, what are you waiting for? Start small, make a difference, and join the growing movement of conscious luxury. You will be surprised at how rewarding it can be.

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