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We live in a society in which we are all growing more and more conscious of the world in which we live and the impact we make upon it. Recent news of motor manufacturers moving away from gas-guzzling cars towards cleaner electric vehicles are indicative of this change. Indeed there is a trend towards sustainable holiday letting businesses installing electric vehicle charging points to cater for increased demand. These trends have also permeated visitor opinion and purchasing behavior when it comes to booking a holiday cottage. Building a sustainable holiday letting business will increasingly become good businesss.
Recent research has found that guests actively seeking sustainable holiday letting accommodation are still in the minority. Importantly this research also illustrated that a holiday home with sustainable credentials does add extra appeal to potential guests.
When combined with the fact that sustainable no longer has to mean expensive – and quite often leads to cost savings over the medium to long-term for the holiday homeowner – the idea of building a sustainable and eco-friendly brand for your holiday cottage can become quite appealing. For example owners who have embraced the use of LED lighting have seen a reduction in electricity use.
We’ve been taking a look at Visit England’s ‘Sustainable Tourism Management Good Practice Guide’. The guide outlines ways in which you can improve the ways in which you work sustainably as a holiday homeowner, and become more green in practice.
Understanding your current position and developing a plan
When it comes to being green, the first step is to increase the knowledge you have of what you’re already using and where. This should involve monitoring your meter readings and fuel deliveries to identify the current level of consumption and where savings can or could be made. A great tool for highlighting the potential for improvement and developing a plan of action can be found at Better Tourism – Securing a sustainable future for your business.
If you don’t already do so, be sure to let your energy and water providers have regular and accurate readings as these can significantly lower bills. Live a good distance from your property? Ensure the task is delegated to someone to undertake on a regular basis.
Communicate with your guests
Getting it right when explaining your sustainable credentials to guests can be tricky; you don’t want it to come across as too technical and you definitely don’t want it to come across as preachy. Ensure you explain the changes that have been made, and most importantly, how they impact and improve your guest experience.
For example, if you’ve insulated your holiday home, explain what this means to your guest in the winter (particularly if your cottage is stone walled or of original construction and therefore may be perceived to be pretty chilly in January), not what it means in terms of your exceeding building regulations, its millimeters in thickness or how they should do the same themselves!
Get the guests involved in your sustainable holiday letting business
If you can, get the guests involved in your efforts. Clear communication is the key here too; do they know what they need to recycle and where within your holiday home? If they’re staying for a week, do they know when the recycling collection is made? Consider communicating this in your holiday let welcome folder.
Make this as obvious and as easy as possible for them to do, and if you’re attracting families, think of ways and games you could create to get the little ones involved in the effort. Things that are fun are more likely to be done.
Remember it doesn’t stop at the front door
It can be easy to think of sustainability as being contained within the four walls of our holiday homes. When in reality it can and perhaps should extend to the garden and grounds of your cottage. Consider using plants and shrubs that are in keeping with the local environment. Perhaps encourage wildlife through bird boxes in order to create the perfect holiday haven. Water butts can also be a handy addition in reducing the mains water that you use on the garden.
For more tips on how you can be a little greener please take a look at: VisitBritain – Maximising your Sustainability.
Boshers offer specialist holiday home insurance to owners across the UK. Need an insurance quote for your holiday let? Give us a call on 01237 429444.