When people first started to book vacation rentals on Airbnb and similar channels, they were primarily motivated by choosing the property with the lowest price.
But, as the shared economy continues to grow and evolve, so do travelers’ needs and expectations. While it was once acceptable for a host to simply offer up a mattress on the floor in a spare bedroom, that is no longer the case.
Price is still a large motivation for guests who choose to rent vacation properties, but that’s not the only factor that determines their travel plans. Vacation rental guests enjoy having more space, access to a kitchen, a yard for their pets, interaction with their host, and a more authentic travel experience…but they may still expect the hotel experience in amenities and level of service.
This may be happening as a result of hotels and vacation rentals converging upon one another, as major hotel chains begin to diversify into the shared economy and with OTAs displaying hotels and short-term rentals side-by-side. Or it could be because Airbnb has been pushing its hosts to provide higher quality service over the years - exhibited by their Airbnb Plus and Superhost programs.
But whatever the reason for travelers’ increasingly high expectations, as a property manager, you have no choice but to keep up. So, how do you provide a hotel experience without spending a fortune in the process? These tips will help you get started!
Three ways property managers can meet guests’ hotel experience expectations
Provide a vacation rental concierge service. If you want to truly wow your guests, offer them a vacation rental concierge service for a true hotel experience. Just as a hotel concierge would, you can provide such services as making restaurant reservations, suggesting a local spa, arranging transportation to or from the airport, recommending local activities, or offering grocery delivery, among other offerings.
In addition to your all-encompassing welcome book, consider employing technology to make concierge recommendations and bookings for you. Some services utilize voice activated, smart home devices to give guests tips only the locals know; where they should go shopping, and information about their stay like check out information.
Leveraging advancements like these should make lasting impressions and replicate the services of even the most luxurious hotel’s concierge.
Simplify check-in and check-out. One area in which you can easily create a hotel experience for your vacation rental guests is by streamlining your check-in and check-out process. Your guests have been traveling for a long time to reach your property, and they want to get in and settled as soon as they arrive. Making the check-in process as seamless as a well-run hotel can set the tone for your guest's stay and leave a lasting impression.
Create a brand. Your brand is determined by a combination of factors...
- Visual elements like a logo, color pallette, and a branded vacation rental website
- Tone of voice and verbal expressions you use on your website and across listing channels
- The level of service and quality of amenities you provide your guests
All of these factors work together to invoke a certain emotional reaction or feeling when guests stay with you. You may not need to go as far as hotels do with their branding, but there are some simpler things you can do to create brand standards that will determine your property’s personality and how your guests feel.
Remember, a positive emotional experience will lead to repeat bookings, positive reviews, and referrals! Here are a few ideas to help you develop a brand for your vacation rental from scratch:
- Name your property. Something like “Serenity Homestead” will form a stronger connection with a guest than “4 bedroom bungalow close to town.”
- Create a visual brand. Hire a designer or use Squarespace’s logo maker to create a logo and other visuals for your website, Facebook Page, and other marketing outlets. Consistent use of these design features across your social media channels, and in the materials you leave for your guests will help establish a visual brand.
- Define your brand values. This isn’t something you have to share externally, but simply writing down what sets you apart from competing properties will help you to provide your guests with a consistently positive hotel-like experience.
All of these things together create a set of brand standards that will help you to remain consistent with each and every guest.
There are many ways you can work on improving guest experience at your vacation rental property, and ensuring that you’re doing all you can to provide a hotel experience will only help you to impress everyone who decides to stay with you.