Eco-friendly Airbnb ideas for hosts

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The demand from travellers to provide a sustainable, eco-friendly holiday experience is ever-growing. So it’s no surprise that Airbnb owners and those that manage holiday rentals are looking for ways to make their Airbnb a greener place to stay.

The wooden-clad outside of an eco-friendly Airbnb in the UK

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Why run an eco-friendly Airbnb?

According to the Airbnb website itself, over 88% of hosts now incorporate green practices into hosting.

If you’re an Airbnb host, you’re already onto an eco winner – home-sharing uses less water on average than during a standard hotel stay. Add in the fact that staying in a self-catering property puts guests more in control of their own sustainable choices. By staying in a holiday let rather than a hotel, people are able to choose where they shop, what happens to their waste and what resources are consumed during their stay.

So where do you start when it comes to making your Airbnb property more eco-friendly? There are many options to implement, some are more obvious and others less so. In this article we’ve covered some easy ideas, some more involved ones and some eco Airbnb ideas that real-life hosts have implemented in their own properties.

Simple eco-friendly Airbnb ideas

If you’re looking for some quick and relatively easy eco Airbnb ideas, we’ve got you covered. Here are our favourite ways to make your Airbnb property greener and more attractive to increasingly eco-savvy travellers:

  • Install LED lights throughout the home. Not only will it save you money but they last a lot longer, meaning you don’t need to change them as often 
  • Use eco-friendly or plant-based cleaning products. You could even go for a homemade option – check out our post with some amazing uses for lemons for some ideas. Leave the products in the home for your guests to use and appreciate. It indicates your intentions to your guests but also means they do not need to go out and buy conventional products for themselves.
  • Decorate with plenty of indoor plants. Plants purify the air, look great, and are a wonderful conversation starter with fellow plant parents! It’s worth considering whether you want low-maintenance plants or whether you’d like to get your guests involved and ask them to water on a particular day of their stay. A bit like pet sitting for pot plants!
  • Provide clothes horses and a washing line. This promotes air drying of clothes. You could even go one step further and consider not providing a dryer in the property at all. This works well when the house is easy to keep warm during winter or your property is in a particularly dry, warm, or windy part of the world.
  • Recommend thermostat and water temperatures to your guests. Communicating the temperatures and settings that you know keep the property at a comfortable level will prevent people from experimenting and potentially using more energy than required.
  • Leave fun reminders in the kitchen, bathroom and utility area about water use. By keeping any notes or signs light-hearted, people will be more inclined to pay attention and take your advice on board. 
  • Install low-flow taps and showerheads. But make sure you choose good quality appliances that don’t skimp on pressure – the last thing you want is for your guests to spend a long time in the shower because they can’t get the shampoo out of their hair! 
 
 

Got all of those bases covered? Here are some more eco-friendly Airbnb ideas

If you already feel like you’ve gone to some lengths to make your Airbnb property more eco-friendly, these more “advanced” ideas can help you step it up a notch:

  • Provide a water jug with a filter. This will reduce the need for single-use plastic bottles. If you can find a slimline filter jug that will fit in your fridge, even better, as this means guests won’t have to wait for a long time for their drinking water to run cold from the tap.
  • Provide reusable water bottles and coffee cups. If your guests are heading out exploring, encourage them to take a refillable bottle and coffee cup with them for the day. You could even provide a picnic basket or bag, with a selection of reusable items like cutlery and straws. The more convenient reusables are, the more likely your guests are to use them.
  • Refill your toiletries. It can be tempting to provide cute, mini-sized toiletries for your guests, but buying good-quality hand wash, shampoo, conditioner and shower gel in large containers, and refilling when necessary, is a much more planet-friendly option.
  • Make recycling a breeze. Label all inside and outside bins well or consider colour coding. Then provide detailed information for your guests, especially if you have kitchen composting.  
  • Provide canvas or other reusable  shopping bags. You could even collaborate with local businesses and provide branded bags from local shops so that they double as advertising and promote shopping small. 
  • Encourage the use of public transport. If you include timetables, maps, and advice for getting around by public transport, your guests are much more likely to leave the car on the drive. If the local area is set up for it, providing rechargeable travel cards such as Oyster, GoCard or SmartRiders with a small balance and details of how to top up is also a lovely way to make your guests feel at home. Don’t forget to ask your guests to leave them behind for the next arrivals!
  • Provide bikes! Getting around by bicycle can be a great way to explore, so if you have space to provide a choice of bikes for your guests to use during their stay, this could enhance their holiday and reduce their impact all at the same time!
 
Make your Airbnb more eco friedndly by providing bikes for guests
 

Communicating your eco-friendly Airbnb property’s green credentials

When it comes to making sure your future guests know all about the efforts you’ve made to make your Airbnb property as eco-friendly as possible, communication is key.

A lot of people skim-read before shortlisting, so make sure that the green section of your listing is really prominent – perhaps separated by a heading, or written as a bullet-pointed list to draw attention to it. Your efforts deserve to be shouted about!

It may also be a good idea to tell people the journey you’re on towards becoming even more eco-friendly as an Airbnb host. Demonstrating you have goals, as well as showcasing what you’ve already done shows a commitment to the long-term “green-ness” of your property, rather than just a box-ticking exercise.

When your guests arrive, make sure any information they need is clearly laid out in a manual – including recycling details, and what’s provided in the cupboards to help them have as green a stay as possible.

Real-life hosts give us their own eco-friendly Airbnb tips

We spoke to some Airbnb hosts who have already taken measures to make their properties more eco-friendly, so you can take inspiration from people who know what it’s like running a holiday rental property.

Green Airbnb by the sea

Amber Leach, who owns and runs an Airbnb apartment in Plymouth, Devon says “We use eco-friendly products for our guests as well as green cleaning products. We shop locally for the milk, bread, and chocolates that we give our guests. We also try to buy second-hand furniture where we can. We encourage our guests to use public transport and offer free collections from local bus and coach stations. We also wash on the eco setting on the washing machine and air dry the washing when we can.”

Amber’s eco-friendly Plymouth Airbnb

 

Keeping an eye on the little touches in Essex

Jade Bartholomew runs an Airbnb property in Essex alongside her SEO agency. She says “I think it’s important that as hosts, we consider the disposable nature of a one-night stay. For example, we use dryer balls in the wash, instead of laundry sheets, which can save time (10-15 minutes per load!) and save on energy consumption – especially when you have back-to-back bookings!”

Jade also understands that those homely touches make all the difference for her visitors: “Guests expect little touches, it gives them a home from home. Often, this would include plastic cotton buds, or miniature, plastic shampoo and conditioner. We provide our guests with vegan-friendly soap, shampoo, and conditioner, which I take to a local store to top up! Plus, they smell way better than those chemical ones!”

As Jade’s property also offers breakfast, she commented “With breakfast cereal, we choose reusable plastic containers and top them up at our local store too, saving on all the paper and plastic packaging again!  It really isn’t that hard when you put your mind to it, the guests love it and everyone is happy, including the planet.”
 

 

Lightbulbs, insulation and much more in Bournemouth

Charlotte Simmonds owns a flat near the beaches of Bournemouth. She’s made a huge effort to make sure the property is as eco-friendly as possible.

Charlotte’s list of changes she’s made in her property includes:

  • Where possible all lightbulbs are LED.
  • A new boiler has been fitted to ensure economical energy use as the previous boiler was old and inefficient.
  • The flat has cavity wall insulation.
  • Recycling box and food waste bins are provided in the flat and clearly labelled.  Bags for the food waste bin are provided to make it easier for the guests.
  • The flat was already partly furnished and all appliances were there when we bought it, but any additional furniture items or small appliances we bought were purchased second-hand where possible.
  • I added some of my homeware products to the flat for decorative purposes.  I used seconds from my own business’s homeware range which could otherwise have been thrown away.  I find that asking local businesses if they have any seconds available is a great way to get cost-effective items that might otherwise go to waste.
  • We purchased enough bedding and towels to ensure we never need to use the tumble dryer to dry bedding and towels between guests.  It is always line-dried outside or on an airer inside if it’s raining.
  • We have a selection of bus timetables and a taxi number in the flat and have lots of local things that people can do that are walkable or a bus ride away, listed in the welcome pack.  Often our guests arrive in their car at the start of their holiday and barely use the car whilst here.

 

Bread and pastries for Charlotte's lucky Bournemouth guests

 

A shining example in Hertfordshire

Bethnal and Bec, a cluster of luxury self-catering studios in Hertfordshire is run by Vicky and Chris Saynor. Not content with simply being more eco-friendly with their holiday rental business, the couple embodies what running a sustainable business really means.

In 2021, they were nominated in the National Recycling Awards for Recycling Excellence, as well as embracing hot composting, hosting a colony of bumblebees in their on-site bumblebee villa, and so much more. The way they communicate the efforts they’ve made is exceptional too, with the property’s website having its own dedicated sustainability page.

One of Bethnal & Bec’s gorgeous sustainable studios

 

Your eco Airbnb ideas

Do you run an Airbnb property or holiday rental that has some super-green credentials? Or maybe you’ve visited somewhere that has impressed you with its sustainable efforts. We’re always on the lookout for more ideas (and places to add to our holiday to-visit list!), so please send your photos to us on Facebook or tag us on Instagram.

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