As the global climate crisis gradually getting the attention it needs, it's time to catch up on implementing sustainable practices. To tackle Covid-related challenges and grasp the opportunity of taking a greener path, Morvan Le Boulanger, Olala Homes’ Project Manager, shares his insights for the upward trends in the post-Covid era, as well as the successful sustainability endeavours the company has taken. Read on to know the new opportunities for STRs and tips to make more sustainable choices.
Photo by Olala Homes
How has the travel market changed in 2021?
In the post-covid era, with new trends emerging, we also see an acceleration of the existed trends since the outbreak of the pandemic. Domestic tourism is obviously on the rise, driven by geographical proximity and simplicity of access. Destinations with a major domestic demand have been doing much better than the ones essentially filled by international tourism.
Photo by Olala Homes
What are the opportunities for STRs?
Among these, we can as well see that the vacation rental industry is resilient and the latest reports show that the supply, which was affected during the crisis, is growing back again. It comes without saying that the Covid-19 crisis has generated a demand for a more independent type of accommodations but there are also a few other factors.
A growing sense of trust and transparency
Trust, as the supply is more and more operated professionally, follows health and safety protocols, and is powered by digitalization. Secondly, customers have gained more visibility as the industry is more standardized. Guest can now compare apples to apples hence take an appropriate decision.
Flexibility is king
During this period, flexibility has been a key factor of STRs' success, and Olala Homes is no exception: allowing guests to modify their plans and to communicate quickly is more needed than ever. For instance, Olala Homes has rolled out a new function, powered by Zendesk, that helps us send out confirmation requests on Whatsapp and reduce the time for replies. Though the change has been an operational challenge, all our working processes and communication flow have been updated accordingly to be as smooth and fluid as possible.
Contributing to a more sustainable future
There is also a strong call to action, coming both from guests and ourselves, to shift toward a more sustainable path. Ecotravel has always been Olala Homes' vision for the future. We have been actively playing a positive role in our communities, especially this year, from improving our working place to reducing energy consumption.
Sustainability vs. travel comfort: Have the cake and eat it, too
Being environmentally friendly is typically misrelated to sacrifices, such as comfort and service. At Olala Homes, we believe that our industry can rely on an entire ecosystem with developed creative technologies and processes to improve the comfort of our guests while reducing our carbon footprint. We have to think that 95% of our guests are willing to cooperate. And that is exactly our vision: technology and education. We want to engage this discussion with our guests, educate and raise awareness about these issues, but not make them feel guilty. If we achieve that, we won the battle. And that is also cost-effective by the way!
From intention to action
The first thing to do is to contact your local or regional tourist board. Depending on the size of your business, you may not have the resources (time, budget, skills) to handle this on your own, and you wouldn't know where to start. From my experience, Barcelona Tourist Board has been super helpful and has provided great guidance. (Thanks to their help, Olala Homes is now on the way to become Biosphere certified!) The second thing to do is to understand your impact on society and the environment. Each business has its own specifications and generates its own waste or pollution. You need first to have this on your radar and prioritize your work. There is no deadline for that, the road to sustainability is a long journey that never stops!