By The Hospitable Team
Vegan tourism is on the rise, and as the consumer surveys and industry reports we discuss in this piece show, it’s a trend that’s worth embracing. Even if you’re not vegan yourself, you can create a vegan-friendly, plant-based stay for the many guests that form part of this growing community.
There are a number of things you can do to differentiate your stay and make yourself stand out as a vegan-friendly host, both for plant-based travelers as well as other guests who are simply curious about the lifestyle or are looking for a holistic wellness experience.
We spoke with Linsey Minnella, co-founder of the booking platform Vegvisits, “a website that revolutionizes the way vegetarians connect with like-minded people.” Since creating the platform with her husband in 2016, the site has grown to feature listings in over 80 countries.
Discover Linsey’s expert insights and recommendations on vegan stays and how you can create and market a short-term rental that attracts plant-based guests, vegan-curious travelers, and people looking for wellness experiences during their vacation.
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Vegan tourism: The business opportunity and guest expectations
Creating a vegan, plant-based stay isn’t only a way to adopt sustainable tourism. There’s increasing demand for vegan-friendly stays and experiences throughout the travel industry.
Who’s your audience?
While vegan travelers obviously make up a significant portion of the vegan tourism market, that’s not where the opportunities end. According to Linsey, people who are vegan-curious are also likely to book this type of stay.
This includes people who are edging towards becoming vegan or who are looking for an introduction to the vegan lifestyle. And there’s practically no better way to get to know plant-based living than to actually stay with someone who practices veganism.
But it goes even further than that. Linsey points out that a growing number of people began traveling for wellness purposes following the pandemic, planning detox retreats and plant-based getaways.
These individuals are also a big player in the vegan tourism market. As we discuss below, these guests give you the opportunity to offer additional activities and services that create a unique guest experience, providing you with a variety of upsell opportunities in the process.
The vegan lifestyle: More than being “cruelty-free”
For many, being vegan is more than just a dietary choice: It’s a lifestyle. Linsey emphasizes that while some make the choice to go vegan for health reasons, there are plenty of others who do so for general wellness or environmental and ethical reasons.
Because it can be such an all-encompassing life choice, many vegans seek out a community they can relate to, both at home and when they travel. But it can be challenging to travel as a vegan, and plant-based folks often feel that it’s difficult to meet their lifestyle choices while they’re on the go.
That’s why creating a stay that makes your visitors feel at home and helps them connect with the local area, is a key part of designing your vacation rental for vegan tourists.
Market trends in vegan tourism
The Statista Global Consumer Survey on diets and nutrition in the U.S. in 2022 reports that 15.5 million people in the US follow a vegetarian-based diet, 2 million of whom are vegans.
A 2019 Nielsen survey found that 62% of Americans would reduce meat consumption based on environmental concerns. And according to a 2020 GlobalData survey, 76% of global respondents identified that they were influenced by how ethical, environmentally friendly, or socially responsible a product or service was.
Veganism and plant-based lifestyles are increasingly commonplace, and they’re making their mark on the travel industry. There are now more vegan travel options than ever, with new eco-friendly resorts and fully vegan hotels—like LA VIMEA in northern Italy and Villa Vegana on the Spanish island of Mallorca—popping up year after year.
And tapping into this booming vegan tourism market isn’t just good for the environment—it can also be good for your profits.
According to a 2021 Global Wellness Institute report, an international wellness tourist spends an average of 35% more than an average international tourist, and for domestic wellness tourists, that figure skyrockets to 177%.
Because so many vegans and plant-based folks are interested in wellness as a key element of their trips, there’s a big business opportunity out there if you start catering to these types of travelers.
How to create vegan-friendly vacation rental stays in 7 simple steps
In the words of Linsey, “there are easy things every host can do to make their stay more vegan-friendly.” Even if you’re new to the vegan tourism game, you can take a few key steps towards making your accommodation more welcoming for these types of travelers:
- Make it easy for your guests to cook vegan meals
- Ensure all your toiletries and cleaning products are cruelty-free
- Deck out your rental in vegan decor
- Keep energy use to a minimum
- Offer extra services that cater to your guests’ related interests
- Provide local insights and recommendations
- Be a friend to your guests
See our recommendations—informed by our conversation with Linsey—on how you can create a vegan-friendly stay, attract a wider range of guests, and build a more sustainable business.
1. Stock your kitchen with vegan food and condiments
One of the hardest parts of traveling for vegan and plant-based folks is finding nourishing meals that meet their dietary needs. The first port of call is to stock your kitchen with vegan staples and condiments to make it easier for guests to cook fulfilling plant-based meals.
When someone is on vacation, they don’t want to have to buy a whole jar of mayonnaise, which they’ll probably just have to toss after their weekend-long stay. That’s why it’s essential to stock your kitchen with vegan condiments.
This includes things like vegan mayo, tahini, nutritional yeast, and vegan spices, which will make it easier for your guests to cook and eat well without breaking the bank.
On the flip side, avoid keeping any non-vegan food in your pantry or fridge. Pay attention to detail here (honey, for example, isn’t vegan-friendly).
And if you provide any staple foods in your home, like milk for coffee or bread for toast, also be sure you’re using plant-based/vegan options.
2. Supply vegan toiletries and cleaning products
While it may not be exactly what you think of when you hear “vegan products,” it’s also important you provide vegan and cruelty-free toiletries and cleaning supplies.
Check the labels of any shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and soap that you provide to ensure these products aren’t tested on animals. The same goes for your cleaning products, like dish soap or multipurpose cleaners.
Some popular brands that produce vegan and cruelty-free products include:
- Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day (dish soap, household cleaners, skin products, detergent)
- Method (dish soap, household cleaners)
- Nature’s Gate (hair products, skin products)
- Beauty Without Cruelty (hair products, skin products)
3. Outfit your rental with vegan decor
If you’re going to welcome vegans into your home, you need to be conscious of all the furnishings you use to outfit it. With this in mind, be sure to keep your decor and furniture vegan-friendly and cruelty-free.
That means no leather couches or armchairs, no wool throw blankets, no goose down duvets, and no beeswax candles. Instead, choose sustainable and cruelty-free decor options like furniture made from recycled materials and soy-based candles.
If you really want to get into the details, use cruelty-free paint on your walls. Not only will you be creating a more comfortable and welcoming stay for your vegan guests, but you’ll also be doing your part to make your vacation rental greener.
4. Keep an eye on your energy usage
Since veganism and plant-based living are so strongly related to the matter of sustainability, you want to make your vacation rental as environmentally friendly as possible. One way to do this is by being conscious of your energy consumption.
Use energy-efficient LED light bulbs, and install low-flow showerheads. If you manage your property remotely, it’s also a good idea to invest in a smart thermostat solution that allows you to set the temperature and turn the heating/cooling on right before your guests arrive.
5. Cater to your guests’ related interests
A great way to go above and beyond in the vegan tourism market is by providing services that interest the type of guest you cater to. As we’ve mentioned, veganism is a lifestyle choice for many, so you can tap into that by partnering with local providers and organizing activities and events.
This could include vegan cooking classes, yoga classes, and guided meditations. Depending on where you’re located, you can get even more creative, offering a tour of an organic winery or a nearby animal refuge.
6. Provide curated local recommendations
It can often be hard for vegan travelers to find restaurants and attractions that mesh with their lifestyle and needs, which is where your expertise comes in. Share your local recommendations with your guests and let them know the best spot for a vegan meal or what the must-see attractions are that make your area unique.
You can even provide your guests with a guidebook that contains these recommendations, or schedule an automated message after your guest checks in that lists the best bars, restaurants, and activities in the area.
7. Make yourself available for conversation
Many vegan tourists look to meet like-minded individuals and form bonds during their travels, and you can certainly help make this possible as a host. If you rent out a room in your house, be conversational and friendly with your guests during their stay.
And if you run your property remotely, you can use a guest experience messaging tool to make yourself warm and available to your guests, helping make their stay that much more memorable.
In Linsey’s words, “we get reviews that say ‘I arrived as a stranger but I left as a best friend,’ or guests that say they’ve made a friend for life.” Travelers from the vegan community often seek opportunities to make real connections during their trips, and as a host, you can play an important role in helping them do that.
Marketing your vegan short-term rental stay
The vegan tourism market is growing, and you need to do everything you can to make your short-term rental stand out from the rest.
According to Linsey, using detailed imagery can be a powerful way to do this: “Really good pictures really help, and you can see their impact when comparing them to listings that only include one picture.”
The more quality pictures you include in your listing the better: Include images of the bedroom and general property of course, but also showcase the exterior of the home and the surrounding area.
Another great vacation rental photography tip is to use images to highlight the additional services you provide to your guests, like yoga and cooking classes.
Also, look to be detailed in your listings. Between your descriptions and imagery, you should create a story that helps your target audience envision how their stay with you will be.
Finally, don’t be afraid to promote your listing! Publish your listing link in vegan Facebook groups, especially location-based ones where your rental is located (just about every big city nowadays has a vegan Facebook group).
And share your listing on your own social media accounts, whether it be on your Instagram stories or Twitter feed. In Linsey’s words, “get as many eyes on it as possible” to help spread the word about your vegan short-term rental and get more bookings.
Vegan tourism: Better for the environment, better for your business
As the data shows, vegan tourism is increasingly popular and it’s here to stay, so making your short-term rental more comfortable and welcoming for plant-based travelers opens it up to a large, growing market of potential guests.
Remember, it’s important to go beyond stocking your fridge with vegan condiments if you want to truly tap into this opportunity. Many vegan travelers look for an all-encompassing wellness escape, as well as the chance to build connections within the vegan community.
Get creative and design a truly memorable experience for your guests. Create a descriptive listing, offer personalized activities, and share curated recommendations to establish yourself in this exciting travel scene.
Less work for you, a better stay for your guests
Start today with a 14-day free trial.
Making your property more environmentally friendly allows you to future-proof your business. We spoke to Deborah Labi of The Green Path Podcast about a number of ways that you can make your short-term rental more eco-friendly.
While it’s generally thought to be financially advantageous, investing in sustainable practices can be costly, and there’s no guaranteed return on investment, which can make implementing a sustainable strategy complex. See how making your STR more sustainable, environmentally conscious, and socially aware can impact your vacation rental business.
Quynh Vu went from being a full-time pharmacist to a short-term rental host managing six properties across three states with her husband Tri in just two years. Quynh and Tri switched to automation with Hospitable.com, which was a complete game-changer.