At home, tech is an integral part of life – so it follows that guests want this from their vacation ‘home from home’ too.
Summer 2021 is all about the vacation rental. Holidaymakers the world over are packing their bags and setting off for a ‘home from home’ vacation experience by choosing to stay in short-term rental accommodation rather than a hotel or resort.
But what’s driving this uptick in popularity of the vacation rental? Issues of safety and security remain at the forefront of course – with the appeal of a socially-distanced, contactless stay, a key factor this summer. But alongside this, there’s an even greater force at play: the smart revolution.
Smart home technology is innovating at pace. The short-term rental industry has been quick to adopt tech solutions to support the delivery of high operational standards cost-effectively in the pandemic marketplace, while meeting changing guest needs and expectations. Afterall, today’s guests, particularly the digitally native Millenial and Gen X travelers, expect to be teched up during their short-term rental stay.
At home, tech is an integral part of life – so it follows that guests want this from their vacation ‘home from home’ too. In fact, our recent PointCentral customer research showed that a lack of basic smart home tech applications on arrival (think connected locks and thermostats), sets the whole trip off on a negative note, which can be difficult to recover from.
No doubt, smart home tech will be a real differentiator this summer. Here are three key smart features property managers can adopt to boost vacation rental bookings:
Nobody likes to waste their vacation stuck in a line-up. And nowadays, nobody wants to stand next to strangers checking in either. Short-term rentals are getting on board with keyless entry solutions and curb-to-couch property access to maximise their guests’ vacation time, facilitate socially distanced check-in/out procedures, and generally enable guests to have frictionless access to their unit and throughout a community without having to worry about lost keys. Property managers are building in digital processes as standard – sending guests all documents electronically with e-signature options, digital guidebooks and access codes for properties ahead of arrival.
Smart temperature control devices in short-term rental properties ensure that guests have a comfortable stay by adjusting the thermostat ahead of a guest’s arrival so that when they walk through the door the property feels just right – creating a good first impression.
These smart thermostats should be linked up to the PMS system, like in hotels, so they generate savings when the property is unoccupied,efficiently cool a home to a comfortable level before check-in time, and give guests control while they are in the unit (an owner adjusting a thermostat mid stay is a fast route to a negative review).
Further savings for owners are made possible by door/window sensors, HVAC analytics and min/max settings, which provide some basic protections against absurd electric bills or overworked HVAC systems.
Rigorous cleaning processes
It goes without saying that guests want, and will continue to want, elevated cleaning standards in place in their short-term rental. Managers have quickly realised that getting their behind-the- scenes operational processes working perfectly is now non-negotiable.
Some connected locks that enable the direct-to-home check-in can also enable self-checkout. Not only is this convenient and safer for guests, it also allows cleaning crews and inspectors to better utilize their time by knowing exactly which units are ready to be cleaned and inspected. Date and time stamps on entry also let managers know exactly when cleaners got to a property.
In addition to smart locks, tech-enabled solutions like Breezeway are enabling them to deliver on this front. Property care tools ensure that cleaning visits and checks are followed exactly each time and documented digitally. No corners are cut and the guest will notice the difference in how their vacation home is presented on arrival.
How smart are you?
So summer 2021 is not just about any vacation rental – it’s about the smart vacation rental. Tech innovations have come a long way over the past year and the short-term rental sector is harnessing the benefits of these solutions and passing them on to both their guests and owners. Smart tech will continue to power the sector this summer and beyond.
Sean Miller is president of PointCentral, a subsidiary of Alarm.com and the leader in enterprise property automation solutions for long-term and short-term managers of single-family and multifamily rental properties. Mr. Miller has almost 10 years of professional experience with B2B and B2C IoT/home automation technology.