March 18, 2022
Tech to Engage Vacation Rental Guests
Creating guest delight in the home and on your website.
The vacation rental industry as a whole has been slow to add smart technology, despite customer demand, and the ability to increase guest delight. Which gives short-term property managers like you the opportunity to stand out from the crowd. Adding smart technology, both to your home and to your website, can modernize your guest experience and offer more opportunities to engage with guests across the buying journey.
Because we know the guest adoption of smart home technology is on the rise—it’s estimated that about 63 million residential homes have some form of smart technology, from speakers to security systems to fancy WiFi-enabled appliances. So it makes sense that travelers would desire (and even expect) to see a similar adoption of smart technology in vacation rentals. Here are a few of the most popular tech solutions for your vacation rentals.
In the Home
The most obvious place to add tech solutions is directly inside your vacation rentals. Smart home technology adds a level of convenience for your guests and can give your properties an updated feel which can be a strong differentiator in a competitive market. With the added benefit of improving operations and reducing support, here are a few ideas to consider.
More and more guests are looking for a contactless check-in and checkout experience, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. While the fear of illness may have faded, the desire for flexibility remains. With keyless entry, a guest immediately receives the appropriate code when their check-in time begins. They can arrive at their vacation rental whenever they want, and will always have the code on their phone, saving them the hassle of remembering a physical key.
Keyless entry can also save your staff an enormous amount of time. With a keyless vacation rental, you don’t have to coordinate how guests can pick up their keys after hours, regularly change lockbox codes after each checkout, or rush to a property if/when a guest accidentally locks themselves out.
Smart Home Technology
There are several ways you can add smart technology inside your vacation rental without going all-in. Common smart home items are a great place to start, like a Smart TV that includes all the popular streaming services, smart speakers, and AI-powered devices like Alexa.
You can also get more specific with guest-first software. Xplorie, for example, partners with property managers and local vendors, tour companies, and attractions to provide discounts and free experiences to guests that stay in your rentals. You can purchase Xplorie-enabled, voice activated assistants like Alexa that can offer your guests activity options quickly and easily, supporting local businesses and giving your property management company an edge in the market.
In-Home Guest Services
Another great tech solution for vacation rental guests is a virtual in-house guest services device, like one from YourWelcome. These tablets can be fully customized for your rental with contactless check-in, virtual concierge services, and in-home instructions and recommendations. Similar to Xplorie, you can add local guide books, discounts, recommended activities, and links to business partners, too.
Tablets like this also create an opportunity to glean more information from your guests, including their email for future direct marketing, reviews and feedback about their stay, and even direct booking options to encourage guests to come back!
On Your Website
As we said above, technology like the YourWelcome tablet also offers opportunities to engage your guests in ways that directly impact your business. The right technology solutions can make for a better user experience on your website or anywhere where a user may interact with your brand, turning lookers into bookers and potential guests into regular customers.
A virtual guest services agent can be a great way to immediately engage guests, particularly those who may have questions or would just prefer to speak with someone directly. Just remember to keep your response times as prompt as possible—nothing is worse than a chatbot that puts you on endless hold.
A vacation rental chatbot can be a great way to improve your guest experience. By providing immediate answers to questions, you can make sure that your guests have all the information they need to enjoy their stay. In addition, chatbots can help increase conversions by guiding guests through the booking process. By providing a seamless and convenient experience, chatbots can help you attract more guests and improve your bottom line.
NPS Surveys and Reviews
Gathering guest feedback is vital to improving your customer experience, both through reviews and surveys. Strategically check in with your guests at regular intervals, like post-booking, in the middle of their stay, and right after checkout. You can send surveys about cleanliness, about the smart home technology that they’re using, and whether they’d be likely to book again or recommend your property management company to someone else.
Direct Links on Social Media
Recently, social media has made it easier than ever to integrate links to products into Instagram stories and on TikTok. This is the perfect opportunity to push direct bookings to your website by linking to specific properties in your social media feed. You can even include special discounts or hints about particularly good rates. Not only does this increase your engagement on social media and improve your brand awareness, but it adds an extra layer of ease to the guest experience. And it taps into the spontaneous traveler, filling in gaps in your calendar that otherwise may have remained empty.
Including more technology solutions in your vacation rentals can enhance the relationship between you and your guests, meeting their need for a modern, white glove-esque experience that they crave.