Sustainability pioneer and vacation rental tech entrepreneur Vanessa de Souza Lage introduces the world’s first sustainability badge for vacation rentals, offering a simple yet impactful way for property managers to reward eco-friendly practices and gain visibility in a growing market.
In this episode, you will be able to:
- Grasp the crucial role sustainable tourism plays in vacation rentals and the preservation of natural resources.
- Uncover powerful techniques to incorporate sustainable practices in managing your rental properties.
- Familiarize yourself with the vital requirements to secure the Sustonica Badge.
- Develop key communication skills to exhibit your commitment to sustainable efforts to your guests effectively.
- Experience the advantages of sustainability: draw in more guests and reduce your carbon emissions simultaneously.
Vanessa de Souza Lage is a passionate advocate for sustainable tourism in the vacation rental industry. With nearly 20 years of experience, Vanessa has played a significant role in shaping the industry as an entrepreneur and tech innovator. She co-founded Rentals United, a successful channel manager, and has recently launched Sustonica, the first sustainability badge for vacation rentals. Vanessa’s dedication to the environment and the industry has led her to create impactful solutions that benefit both property managers and the planet. Her friendly, approachable demeanor and wealth of knowledge make her an inspiring figure in the world of sustainable tourism.
The key moments in this episode are:
00:00:08 – Introduction
00:01:08 – Vanessa’s Background
00:09:21 – Sustonica’s Origin
00:14:09 – Community Impact
00:17:08 – Sustainability vs. Hotels
00:17:52 – Sustainability in the Hotel Industry
00:19:05 – Simple Sustainability Wins
00:24:15 – Selling Sustainability to Homeowners
00:28:03 – The Growing Demand for Sustainability
00:32:16 – The Certification Process
00:34:58 – Sustainability in Vacation Rentals
00:35:30 – Criteria for Air Conditioning
00:37:41 – Marketing to Children
00:38:43 – Sustainability Chart
00:40:24 – What Direct Booking Success means to Vanessa
00:00:08 - Jenn Boyles
You are listening to Direct Booking Success, bringing you all the information you need for your short term rental to stand out from the crowd. I'm your host, Jenn Boyles. As an owner and manager myself, I know how hard it can be to navigate the hospitality and street. I'm here to help so you too can have Direct Booking Success. Welcome to another episode of Direct Booking Success. I am here with Sustonica's founder Vanessa De Sousa Lage and I am so excited to bring you this conversation. So welcome Vanessa. Lovely to see you today.
00:00:49 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
Good to see you Jenn. Thanks for having me. Lovely to be here. Thank you.
00:00:52 - Jenn Boyles
It's my pleasure. I find you so inspiring and your story so exciting that I knew I had to bring it to the podcast to let everyone know. Let's start with a little bit of an introduction in case people don't know who you are.
00:01:08 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
Okay, so I've been in the vacation rental industry for nearly 20 years. Doesn't make me any younger. I'm an entrepreneur, vacation rental tech entrepreneur. I started off with an Ota back in the days 2006 and was before Airbnb, before Direct Booking Success was doing holiday rentals. And we had at 1.8 thousand online bookable property at the time. It was a lot. Yeah, and that did very well for quite a few years until obviously Airbnb came along with their millions and booking our decide to get into holiday rentals and so we couldn't compete as a medium sized agency. Then moved on to well how do you survive in this very crowded market? Well, we decided that the best way would be to advertise our properties on the big boys that had the money, airbnb and Direct Booking Success and the likes. And so came the idea of the distribution platform. And this is how Rentals United was born. Initially just for us, in order to continue making our commission. But the marketing money would be spent by the big Ota. And that was so successful for us that we decided to open it up to other property managers, other agencies. And this is how Rentals United was eventually created as a channel manager in the rental industry. So I co founded that and I was a CMO for about seven years and left in 2021, late 21, and decided well, what's my next move? And it took a year and a half of putting Sustonica together. I'm very pleased to say that it's the first of its kind. It's the first sustainability badge for vacation rentals.
00:03:11 - Jenn Boyles
Yes, and I can't wait to get into that. Before we do though, I want to go back those 20 years ago. And how did you start an Ota? Where did that idea come from and where were you in life that this seemed like a good idea at the time?
00:03:29 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
Right, so my very first business after so I worked for MercedesBenz out of university and decided that corporate wasn't for me and so I set up my own web agency because I was trained at university to make websites. And so I set up my first web agency and took it to Rome. Decided to move to Rome and do make websites for people. This is the very early days of the Internet, and there's very businesses were asking me, so why do I need a website? And then one of my clients was doing apartment rentals in Rome. Okay. This is how I realized, wow, this is quite an amazing business, the amount of money that went through that company. And I thought, well, they're doing it just locally, just in Rome. I thought maybe I could do this worldwide. And this is how it started. And since I had web skills, I was able to build the website and called up property managers all over the world. And what was essence wow.
00:04:35 - Jenn Boyles
So you actually not just a tech entrepreneur, but you're, like, hands on, doing the actual tech from the beginning.
00:04:43 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
Yeah, it was just the two of us. My ex husband in a 25 square meter apartment. Yes.
00:04:52 - Jenn Boyles
I can get why there's an X in that conversation.
00:05:01 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
When we started the agency, we had €1000 budget, and it was a make or break situation, okay, we try this on, or we pack our bags, go back to London, find a job, and that's it. And so the €1000, we invested them in Google because at the time, it wasn't so competitive. And we were in business in the first week and making money in the first week. But this is the good old days of that doesn't exist anymore.
00:05:32 - Jenn Boyles
00:05:32 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
It's so highly complex.
00:05:35 - Jenn Boyles
And you do wonder if the likes of Direct Booking Success, I wonder if they'd come across you in some fashion that this sparked an idea with them.
00:05:46 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
I know that a few because we were the first agency to actually put the photo of the owner or the property manager on the listing and give a bio of the property owner or manager in order to gain trust. And I know that other rental agencies then copied that. Whether Airbnb copied it from us, I don't like it. But, yes, we were the first to kind of say the owner is at the center of the deal. In order to gain trust with who you're going to stay with, we need to be very transparent as to who's posting it. No, it was good old years. Yeah.
00:06:33 - Jenn Boyles
No, it sounds like it would have been really exciting, especially to be you're at the cutting edge, weren't you?
00:06:39 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
Yes, it was exciting. And there was not very many of us medium sized agencies, so yeah, long time ago.
00:06:50 - Jenn Boyles
And then you went into Rentals United, which sounds like such a great way. You obviously are very talented and very clever to be able to have taken what you've done. You realize it would be an uphill battle against the likes of Airbnb and Direct Booking Success. But you think, how can I use what I've created and turn it into something new? Which is where the channel manager of rentals, United, came out of it.
00:07:15 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
Yeah, that's right. It was all about distribution because back in the days, everything was manual. Most of our clients were working with Excel sheets. They would have teams of people manually blocking calendars, manually updating pricing. So it was a real innovation to say, no, you don't need to do this manually. We can actually do it automatically. And I remember explaining to people back in 2015, it's not that long ago, what is channel management and what are the benefits? Yes, if you think about that today, it's crazy. Everyone has last in 2019, it was one in two property managers, hired a channel manager. And I expect this number has gone up massively since. So it was the early days of tech software for VR and yeah, and I think we made quite a name for ourselves.
00:08:13 - Jenn Boyles
Yeah, definitely. I had someone you say one and two in 2019. I had someone yesterday actually ask me, they were adding another channel or two to their distribution. And she said, how do I sync them? And I said, well, what PMS are you using? She says, I'm not exactly. And I said, well, it's time to get professional with it.
00:08:38 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
How many properties does she have?
00:08:40 - Jenn Boyles
I think two.
00:08:42 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
00:08:43 - Jenn Boyles
So still, it would save so much.
00:08:46 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
Time if you want your distribution to be widespread. And this is a good idea because it's very risky to be on just one or two channels as we know. They change their algorithms, they decide, how many stories did we hear of OTAs throwing out a listing for one or another? And if your whole business depends on this, it's very risky. So spread out the risk. And this is where technology comes in handling, for sure.
00:09:18 - Jenn Boyles
So let's move on to Sustonica. So where did this idea come from?
00:09:23 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
So I went to vulnerable school and in Germany, in fact. And we were taught from very early, very early what it means to be environmentally friendly. And we were asked to think about our waste, we were asked to think about lighting and community, et cetera. So I was lucky enough to have this education and I didn't pull my pants, what it means to recycle. And most of my friends along the way, all these years, I always had that in mind, that sustainable living is normal for me as such. And then I became a vegan for environmental reasons and I've made very many choices throughout my life because of the respect I have for the planet. And so how do after reference to the night, maybe there's a way to combine this with the great connections I have in the vocational industry and to make maybe our industry more sustainable. So in recent video, I looked at making ESG goals for property managers and then I thought, no, this is going to scare them.
00:10:43 - Jenn Boyles
Because when you explain ESG for those.
00:10:46 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
Listening ESG goals, there's environmental, social, governance goals for your business. And usually up until the last two years, these goals were set together by very large corporations where they look at how they produce, how they get the whole chain of people around them that bring them business, how do they run their business. And so you set sustainability goals in lots of different aspects of your business. And this is not just about the environment, it's also about diversity and the community, et cetera. Sustainability is a very, very wide topic and a very complicated topic. As I said, it took me an hour to make sense of it. And so because it's so complicated, especially as g goals and long, you set goals for a year, maybe two years, I thought it's going to be very hard for me to convince people to get into that. People want quick goals. Quick, quick wins. Yes, and quick wins, sorry. And tangible goals. I thought we need to simplify, we need to simplify it. And then I realized where do we have the most impact? And that is in the home. So we get about 415,000,000 tourists going through our 10 million homes globally and here is where we have a power to make sure that these tourists consume less and as well as influence them to make changes to their own homes on their return. And then light bulb moment. This is what I need to encourage people to do. I need to make sure that their homes are mindful of the environment, respectful of the community and offer them a reward for it. And this is not the idea of the badge game. So that's what we are. We're aware of rewarding if you follow very simple criteria that we put together, but that have a massive impact in terms of energy consumption, in terms of waste generation, terms of water conservation and in terms of the community.
00:13:07 - Jenn Boyles
Yes, because I was looking you've got a test on your website and I did it the other day and I knew there would be energy conservation, minimizing waste, water conservation. But I was actually surprised about the community impact and I thought what a great because of course that was part of being sustainable but also it's reaching a different type of guest, somebody who wants to not just come into the local area but immerse themselves in the local area and living there. Can you give us a little bit more about the community impact part?
00:13:48 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
Yes, so it's part of our criteria because community impact is obviously part of sustainability and we have this wonderful opportunity as vacation rentals and I think Airbnb really helped push that aspect of vacation rentals forward, which is immersion, as you say, in the local experience. Living like a local. Airbnb came up with this and this was very clever and positions us already as being we're way more sustainable than hotels, not just because of the energy waste generation, but also because we disperse tourism and we allow smaller communities, remote communities, to thrive on the tourism that we bring. So I thought our criteria needed to emphasize this. And so you get percentage points when you recommend local heritage sites so that these local heritage sites may survive in the long run. Bring people to it, show what the wonderful sites you have in the area. So we make sure we continue to protect them. Things like this is the one that I love, is bringing local artists in your inside the home, having painting sculptures and making sure that you say, who is this painting by and where can you purchase it from? And so we encourage to support local art. Then what else do we have in that criteria? Vegan restaurant. Obviously being vegetarian, vegan is very much helping the environment. Part of the devastations that we have is because we eat so much meat. So encourage people to try local vegan restaurants, encourage people to try to local vegetarian restaurants, et cetera. He said about eight points in that.
00:15:46 - Jenn Boyles
Yeah. I love it because in the marketing side of things, we're marketing for Direct bookings. How we can stand out is by becoming that local expert and being that go to person knows, because who is going to know better than you? Your local area, right? You live there, you work there. It's that. So I love the idea of bringing artists in. We've talked about it. I know Direct Booking Success as a way to showcase your local area, but I had never thought of it from the side of being more sustainable.
00:16:23 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
Yes, but it is part of it. Supporting your local community is definitely part of sustainability.
00:16:32 - Jenn Boyles
And I know you mentioned hotels and of course I've always sort of thought and what you've just said about vacation rental, holly Let being a more sustainable option than staying in a large hotel. Now, I grew up in hotels. My father is a retired hotel manager. And I remember those days of you using that towel once you just throw it on the floor and you walk away and you come to your hotel room later on and everything is perfectly done. Everything had been changed, all the sheets, all the towels was like pristine again. And then the hotels came into the conserve water and minimize waste and whatnot. And we're only going to do your sheets every second day and if your towel hanging up, we're not going to change it. Encouraging people to keep that. So did you look at hotels at all with what they've been doing in the year last few years? I guess I don't even know how many years ago that would have been.
00:17:35 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
But I tell you, I go to hotel conferences and do speak to hoteliers and hotel. If you say the word sustainability, they're like really away? Yes. Why? Because it's very complicated. But obviously have buildings, they have huge lawns to be watered, they have safety regulations, that means keeping the lights on, et cetera. So unless they're built in last few years with environmentally friendly features in mind, it's very hard, very costly for them to make changes to the way that they're on the building. It's tough, from what I hear from auditors, to really get hotels on board. And this is exactly what we wanted to avoid in the vacation rental industry. We wanted to make sure that it's not costly, it doesn't cost you tens of thousands of dollars to get certified. It is easy to understand you don't need to have huge team behind you in order to make it work, et cetera. So the hotel business of sustainability is way more complicated than ours. So, yeah. Answer your question?
00:19:02 - Jenn Boyles
Yeah, definitely. Because you were talking about cost and there are things that can be done that don't cost anything. Can you give us some ideas of some of those things where people who are wanting to get started, they know that this is an important issue, what can we do that big wins, right?
00:19:25 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
Yeah. So the biggest win that you can do, it doesn't cost anything, is to call your energy company and say that you want to run on 100% renewable energy, okay? And that's literally a phone call. And that doesn't cost more than nothing. And they're obliged to say yes. If they don't have it, then it's a question of switching, which is a bit more time consuming, but can also be done. So that's a huge way if you run 100% on renewable energy, and in our criteria, it's 15.72% and you need 20% to get the bank. So you're practically there by just doing that.
00:20:10 - Jenn Boyles
Did you say you only need 20%? Did you say you only need 20%?
00:20:15 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
That's right. So you need 20% in order to get in. And then every year we ask you to increase by at least 1%. So the idea is that you get into a frame of mind of sustainability. We don't make it extremely hard for you to enter it, but we do want to see progress every year. And so another quick win will be to change your toilet paper and the rolls of paper that you give in the kitchen, kitchen rolls to recycled paper. And that usually costs less. So that's a very easy thing to do then, if you can look into organic cotton towels, which can also be gotten these days. Cotton is very dreadful. How they farm cotton is dreadful. So we all could switch then your toiletries. This is one that keeps on getting me. So many people offer the small single plastic toiletries and it looks wonderful because it has their brand on there, et cetera. But these things will stay 100 years in landfills. They don't decompose and it's just deadly for the environment. So change that immediately invest, and I'm not talking a huge investment here, into two bottles that you can hang in your shower with a shower gel in it and a shampoo gel in it, which will also save you money because those little shower gel things, they caught. And then make sure that the shampoo that you put in it and the shower gel that you put in it is free of microplastics.
00:21:59 - Jenn Boyles
00:22:00 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
And if we all did that, if the whole world would stop using microplastics to shower, then we will probably change the face of our sheets.
00:22:13 - Jenn Boyles
They put these microplastics in because they can fill it up cheap. It also makes hair look shiny. Not necessarily clean, but it's shiny. So how can we find out what is in a bottle of shampoo or shower gel?
00:22:30 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
Yeah, this is wonderful app. If you want to put it in the notes of the show, I will give you the app name. Beat the microplastics, it's called. Recently, as I learned more about microplastics, I went to the supermarket in order to buy from my own household, poo and shower gel free of microplastics. And so I went around and I kid you not, I had to go through five different supermarkets, scanned about 100 products, they all had microplastics. And I finally found a little places, shampoo and shower gel without microplastics. So it's not a super easy job. If you go to the supermarket, I think it'd be easier online to buy. Maybe in the UK, you guys are more advanced, but certainly in Spain, it was quite a challenge. And so this app, you use it, you scan it and done. And now that I know about it, the idea that I've been showing my children with, just like I'm so against it. Not just for the health, but not just for the environmental benefits. Both of the health benefits.
00:23:44 - Jenn Boyles
Well, that's it. The fish ingest it. We're eating the fish. I will see my daughter drinking the bath water. She's probably plastic already.
00:24:02 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
There's quite something. Your daughter.
00:24:05 - Jenn Boyles
Oh, she's a riot. Now I can hear people. So we sort of covered the idea that this doesn't have to cost a lot of money to make these changes.
00:24:15 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
Okay, what about solar panels? We don't ask you to install solar panels. Yes. If you have them, great, but we're certainly not the idea. Right, this is not the idea. Simple changes, which we call them, too.
00:24:30 - Jenn Boyles
Yes. Okay, so what about your homeowners? So if you're a property manager and you have homeowners, is there a way that we can sell this idea? It sounds horrible to have to sell sustainability, because we should all be interested in it, but in this sector, money talks, right? People want to make profit. So how can we sort of position this that the homeowners are going to want to be on board with it?
00:25:04 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
Right. So it's a question of aside from the moral obligation, obviously, but it's a question of promising visibility. You would get more visibility. So I have many property managers that tell me that their owners complain because on the property management website, they may rank the algorithm makes it so that they don't rank properly, et cetera. So this is a way of that some of my property managers have sold it on. If we are putting this new filter on and you will be page one, number one for this new filter, which is sustainable property or eco friendly rental, et cetera, this is for the larger property managers. This is what they've done. And then it is a hugely growing market. And why? It's not because you got to think away from ecotourism. It's not that we want to send tree houses. No. It's because consumers are way more aware of what's going on with the planet and we are making changes in our own homes. And so as a result, when we arrive in this just happened to me recently. I rented a holiday rental in Tel Aviv and I wasn't able to recycle. There was only one bin. There was a little shampoo vodka. The none of the lights were lead. The fridge was so old, it was on all the time. And I felt guilty. I felt literally guilty. And this is if this is removing the guilt from your customers, from your guests, and I tell you the effect of that is the profitability of your rental. Because from the five star review that I wanted to give for this whole experience that I had with the property manager, the booking site, the customer service was amazing. I was almost sat with them after hours and they were so nice and they found this amazing property with a huge terror as well. And then it went from five stars to guys, come on, what is this? I can't even separate my bottles for my plastic. I really please. So it went from five stars to one star. And I think this is what we're going to see more and more. So it's a question of visibility or getting inside the filters and are eco friendly and it's a question of profitability, without a doubt.
00:27:38 - Jenn Boyles
And it's what more and more guests want, isn't it?
00:27:42 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
Yeah, we have the studies. Expedia has almost wonderful job. They have access and book, not comic. The study was 33,000 people. So it's survey. And it says that 80% class want to stay in eco friendly accommodation this year. And this is one that I love. 60 plus percent say they would feel more comfortable staying in a holiday rental that had a sustainability badge.
00:28:10 - Jenn Boyles
00:28:15 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
We're there. It's not a question of should we do it, should we not do it? No. It's like you don't have a choice, really. You don't have a choice if you want to please those guests. Property managers are doing such an incredible job these days. We're so professional we're like how we do the booking or where the site, the after booking, the emailing, all automated, normal double bookings. And then that's our thing. The whole thing crushes down on itself because we haven't thought about simple things that we all expect today.
00:28:49 - Jenn Boyles
And I think in that study, did they not say that guests will pay.
00:28:53 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
More to stay in a yeah, just the expedia study. Expedia says that 50% will be willing to pay more for sure.
00:29:06 - Jenn Boyles
So even if they physically won't, when the push comes to shove, they actually wouldn't pay more. We're not saying to up your price, but it means that 50% or whatever it was, these people are really passionate about it. And when they're on a website and they see you've got a badge and the other property doesn't, which one are they going to?
00:29:27 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
Exactly. Which one are you going to? Exactly? One says sustainable, one says not. Which one are you going to go for? It goes without saying, really. It's about time. And I think the OTAs will just like today, you can't advertise on an Ota if you don't have a license. If you're in a country, that means a license. I think this is what's going to happen with sustainability. You won't be able to advertise unless you have certain measures in place. That means that you are respectful of the environment and the community. We will be forced also legislation, the local government, they're all looking into how can we do this? How can we minimize waste? How can we minimize the impact of tourism today that want to think long term? Not the ones for the quick win the ones for a long term. They need to start getting ready today for sure. And I'm really happy because I think we came and our process and our criteria came just at the right time because people I need to be sustainable. I need to do something. What? We laid it out very clear. There's a path. You just follow it, get your badge, everybody can know that you're doing something. And it was very much needed just on time.
00:30:45 - Jenn Boyles
Yeah, it is the right time, isn't it? So I'm going to urge everyone listening to go to Sustonica online and to take the test because if it's 20% that was needed, you'll get there quite quickly. But it will also give you ideas that you may not even have thought about other ways. And they don't all I think actually most of the things I saw didn't cost money. Just takes a little bit of effort.
00:31:13 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
00:31:15 - Jenn Boyles
Yes. Buy a drying rack, exactly.
00:31:24 - Jenn Boyles
So once they've taken the test and they see where their property sits, what is the next step for them?
00:31:31 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
Okay, so you then would sign up with us. You would purchase validation credits from us. So €49. It's €49 per property per year. So you purchase these credits, you say, I have two properties. €98. And then you submit some documentation, things that we cannot see when you take photos. So, for example, your renewable energy contract latest invoice would upload that you as a property manager may not have access to that. So you just forward is a very simple forwarding method. You just send to the owner and they can upload it themselves. And then you go and do the photo tour. The photo tour takes about 15 minutes on average and there's a form. And for all the criteria that you have, we ask you to take a photo of it. So that then gets sent as you finish, gets sent to the auditor, which is an external company, and they verify that the information is correct and then send us a message saying, yes, you can issue the batch. So we're the steam owner as such and we have an external auditing company that takes care of it. All of this included in the 40 annual. So we're practically an NGO at this age. Everything goes into operations because we have a mission and a very clear mission manager to make a huge impact, not just in the 10 million homes that the vacation rental industry has, but also this wonderful opportunity to influence our guests from all around the world.
00:33:16 - Jenn Boyles
And it is worldwide, isn't it?
00:33:18 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
It's a worldwide it is worldwide, absolutely. We have clients from everywhere.
00:33:24 - Jenn Boyles
I know that. Just talking about the types of properties, you're focusing on bricks and mortar right now, aren't you? Your apartments and houses, cottages not quite. So the Glamping unique boats that's coming, isn't it?
00:33:41 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
That's coming. As we learn these, we're making our processes faster every day. Also as we're learning about all the different criteria and things that you can do. I mean, this took the criteria that you see today is virtually 2.1, but within 2.1 is hundreds of iterations. Feedback from auditors, feedback from university professors, et cetera. So it's very time consuming and requires a lot of research for us to go into a new segment within vacation rentals. But we do have requests on all sorts of different types of properties, including houseboats pretty much every day, glamping tree houses right now, hotels as well, room B and B's. Today we cannot do it. So we take properties that have.
00:34:43 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
Properties that have a kitchen. There has to be a kitchen in order to apply. So apartments have to have a kitchen combo room and for villas and cabins, et cetera, we take home. As long as they have a kitchen. And there's a different criteria if they have a pool or not, right? Because that's pool is what it is. We're not going to stop having pools. We're not going to stop having air conditioning. I know we want our guests to be comfortable. It is not about making them uncomfortable. It's about continuing to have a very high standard, but taking care of how we run the standards.
00:35:21 - Jenn Boyles
But you can also offset it if. You have air conditioning, you're not just say, take it out, but you could offset it with other things that you're doing in your property. Yeah.
00:35:30 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
So air conditioning, what we have in the criteria is obviously you get quite high points if you don't have air conditioning because air conditioning is tough. But we obviously understand there's very many areas in the world where guests just wouldn't be comfortable with air conditioning. We like to see a fan. We like to see fans included, because fans distribute the air from the air conditioning. And so you may need less air conditioning. Right, that's the idea. It's the same with a drying rack. We ask for drying rack because you may have a dryer, but then you're not forced to use the dryer. You can use the drying rack. And the same with the echo. You may use fan instead, which uses a lot less energy.
00:36:17 - Jenn Boyles
Yeah. And the weather is different throughout the year for both of those things. So you don't need to be using the dryer and the air conditioning all year round.
00:36:25 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
Yeah, that's right. Anyway. Yes.
00:36:28 - Jenn Boyles
So once you get your badge, then you can go to town and be marketing. You can be telling it, put it plastered all over your website, your listings, your social media, even putting the information inside your house or your cottage, saying, yeah.
00:36:48 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
I think half the battle is communicating it to guests that come to your rental. And interestingly enough, I've had so many people come to me, Vanessa, we offer recycling, but I guess they put everything in one bill. So what do we do here's where clever communication and comes in. So what I've learned from this very interesting course that did at the University of Surrey, communication for Sustainability is that marketing to children inside the home. So what happens is that it's way more effective to message to do your communication around kids language because children see it more as a game and they're more likely to convince their parents that it's the right thing to do. And then the parents are proud because the children are learning. And so there's this strange environment of instead of teaching the parents teach children. And so we're facing these stickers that we're going to put on our website freely to download that you can place on each of your at least four bins. And that has a message to children, a funny message to them to learn or to recycle and encourage them to do it. So let's see if that works. And there's many other ideas of things that you can do. We ask also in the criteria to have your sustainability chart inside the home. And that sustainability chart is printed like poster or as a stand, and it lists all the things that you so proudly do in the rental. And this is very powerful. And as we exhibited that in Spain just last week in this conference, this was the item that had the most photos. So property managers were crazy about having a chart that really shows, what do we do? So if you don't have that, it's very simple to do with us. Obviously you guess it after you get your badge, but you can also print it out yourself and just make a nice poster of all the things that are inside the home that make it more sustainable.
00:39:04 - Jenn Boyles
I love that idea of marketing to kids because I know we were talking about my crazy daughter and plastics microplastics, and I think if I told her that there was plastics in the shampoo, she'd just freak out. She really would be upset. So I think that I will be talking to her and we will be going to the shop to see what we can find that doesn't have it, because it is, it's a serious thing. And these microplastics, it's something that I know you said how annoying you find it, and it's in our makeup, it's in everything and it's finding something that and the more we stop using them, then maybe that message will get through to the big companies. So I love all of these tips that you've given and just going through your test on the website gave me more look inside of all the other things we can do that I hadn't even thought about. They don't cost money. I think this is an amazing initiative and like you said, it's the right time, right time and place.
00:40:13 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
That's right. We have to do something. The world is changing.
00:40:18 - Jenn Boyles
00:40:19 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
We need to change with it. Yes. No choice. That's it.
00:40:24 - Jenn Boyles
There is no choice. Brilliant. Well, thank you so much for coming on. Before we go, I want to ask you, what does Direct Booking Success mean to you?
00:40:34 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
So Direct Booking Success means to me that you have communicated your values so well that you attract people with the same value. That would be success to me.
00:40:49 - Jenn Boyles
That's lovely. Yeah, I really love that answer. Okay, where I'm going to put you're going to give me the app name and I'll put that in the show notes. I'll put a link to your website in the show notes as well. But where can listeners connect with you?
00:41:06 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
So on the website, very easy. And they can also email me directly. I'm very happy to answer any questions. My email is Vanessa@systemica.com Easy.
00:41:15 - Jenn Boyles
Brilliant. So we'll put those links in the show notes. And thank you Vanessa, so much for coming, sharing your story and also telling us how we can be more sustainable.
00:41:25 - Vanessa de Souza Lage
Cheers, Jenn, thanks so much for having me. Thanks for giving me a voice. Thank you.