The last few years have seen a dramatic increase in vacation rental trends. Once a luxury that only some families could afford, vacation rentals now cater to singles, couples, groups and families, all at a fraction of the cost of a hotel room. As industry interest increases so does demand on individual owners and property managers to step-up their games. Not only that, but the market has changed so much that in order to compete, managers must think beyond everything they know. Take a look at what’s changed:
Top Vacation Rental Trends for Property Managers in 2017
Vacation Rentals Attract Even More Attention
The travel industry has spoken. Vacation rentals are here to stay … in a big way. Recent years have seen Expedia purchasing HomeAway in 2016, Airbnb acquiring smaller travel startups such as Trip4Real, and rumors of Priceline interested in buying TripAdvisor. These transactions mean big business for online travel agencies – especially with those trying to compete with these giant listing sites.
Ideas: Smaller companies and individual rental owners have several options when it comes to competing in the industry. Three options include:
- Join large listing sites to gain more online exposure.
- Migrate into larger property management companies.
- Amp up individual marketing and website initiatives to compete.
There are pros and cons to the above; however it’s clear that competition will rise, as well as the time and money needed to invest in vacation rental success. The most successful property management companies will not only compete but build long-standing relationships with their homeowners and guests. Read 3 effective ways to target your customers.
Property Managers Must Meet Demand
With the continued rise in vacation rental interest, this also means property managers are in more demand. Personal touch and customer service must extend well beyond guests’ needs because these guests expect no less. Property managers can no longer just ensure the check-in and check-out process is seamless. Guests now want to know they are appreciated and receive better accommodations, especially those familiar with the hotel experience.
Ideas: There are dozens of ways to deliver personalized service to each guest. Vacation rental managers should strive to provide the best experience possible, leading to recurring visitors and five-star reviews. Rental managers and owners can easily meet the demands by:
- Effectively managing check-in, check-out and turn-over processes.
- Working with local top-rated cleaning and maintenance companies.
- Sending and stocking a welcome book and basket in each rental.
- Addressing concerns and before they become a problem.
Increase in Guest Experience
Among the top 2017 vacation rental trends concerns guests. Even though it starts with the ideal rental, the rise in guest experience has become crucial to the travel industry. Everyone from newlywed 20-somethings to Baby Boomers want more than a good price. They want to immerse themselves in the trip and experience everything the destination offers visitors.
Ideas: Many owners and managers think personal rental investments are perfect just the way they are, but is it time for a change? Is it time to update, remodel, add a pool or hot tub, upgrade linens and towels, or maybe just offer additional perks if they book with you?
Other ideas include programs like Xplorie, sending a thank you note and gift card after check-out, and distributing free merchandise with branding on it. As property managers, exercise creativity, have fun and try new things often, showcasing the seasons and local flair.
Once the big details are addressed, it’s time to work on reviews. People enjoy writing reviews and bragging about their wonderful experience. However, they also enjoy complaining when things go wrong. The key is to control as much as possible, perform better than the competition and strive for five-star reviews. Those who work on these items will not only achieve more success but also outshine their competition. Learn how reviews can make or break rental income.
Apps: A Must for Both Guests, Managers
There’s an app for it. Mobile technology has skyrocketed the last five years, and travelers want an app that’s reliable and provides them with all the information they need for a successful trip. Imagine having an app that allows check-in and check-out, suggests the best things to do, integrates with guest perks, and allows guests to report problems or leave reviews, without ever having to speak with someone.
If you think an app doesn’t apply, consider this: Every major vacation rental website has one. Apps even extend to grocery stores, banks, online retail, fitness regimens, rebate programs, educational services, etc. Vacation rental apps have become a must for both guests and managers, as they provide one place to do everything the user needs.
Ideas: Use apps to monitor day-to-day operations, receive notifications about important issues, update a rental, scan documents and more. Guests should be able to book, read more about the area, find restaurants and attractions, save on activities and plan adventures. When paired with a software platform, apps can help both guests and managers have a better experience, saving time, money and stress.
Mobile Response Software With Online Booking
Just as users want a travel app, online booking has become the preferred method for making arrangements. Generation C – also known as Connected Consumers – have flooded the online marketplace. No matter what age group and demographic managers target, Gen C is the most active audience in most industries. Gen C isn’t an age group; it’s the group of people who are connected to their technology and use digital media to do everything – from planning vacations to researching products to successfully managing businesses.
Why is this important to vacation rental managers? If you don’t have a website, you’ll lose these customers. If you don’t have a website that offers online booking, you’ll loose even more. And last, if the website isn’t mobile-friendly, you won’t reach the largest current consumer market. Without strong web and mobile processes, managers will miss out on increased bookings and revenue.
Ideas: Invest in a mobile-ready website that is easy to use and offers direct online booking. This ensures managers reach large audiences and offer current and potential guests everything they need for a successful vacation rental experience.