In today’s tech-driven landscape, guests don’t just want but rather expect the convenience, security, and personalized experiences that they enjoy at home. From smart locks and smart TVs to voice-controlled assistants, the technologies that people engage with in day-to-day life are now emerging as a given for guests on vacation.
For property managers, this presents both a challenge and an opportunity. Evolving guest expectations mean managers need to step up their game to compete, particularly as many guests prioritize tech-advanced stays today. However, the adoption of smart property technology also presents an opportunity to tap into (and attract back) the growing segment of guests prioritizing these streamlined experiences, which can have a positive impact on revenue.
Research shows that most managers are willing to take the leap, with 85.9 percent of vacation rental companies naming automation as a priority for the upcoming period.
While much of the conversation and decision-making around property management technology typically centers on cost savings and operational efficiencies, it’s worth paying attention to how technology can help create incremental revenue opportunities as well.
Guests who have a positive experience at a rental will be more likely to book again, recommend to friends and family, and leave a positive review, all of which can lead to increased bookings, reduced guest churn, and ultimately a healthier topline. The beauty of short-term rentals is that, with the right technology in place, they can deliver convenience, personalization, and flexibility that other accommodations simply can’t compete with.
Smart locks, for example, can iron out frictions associated with the hotel check-in process, in which guests typically must collect a key card from reception or download a mobile app to check in. It’s no longer viable to expect short-term rental guests to drive up to an office to collect their rental keys; instead, seamless access solutions provide a swift and effortless experience.
Seamless access is a cost-effective investment that gives guests the contactless experience they want, cutting out unnecessary interaction and allowing them to arrive and depart at their convenience.
As well as convenience, today’s guests increasingly prioritize sustainability in their travel choices. Research indicates that 42 percent of travelers were willing to pay extra for a more sustainable travel option in Q1 2023, with accommodation being the most prevalent. Smart thermostats are another quick and easy investment that property managers can make to cater to this growing pocket of eco-conscious guests.
Demonstrating a dedication to sustainability communicates to guests that you are a forward-thinking, high-quality operator. Given that 78 percent of worldwide travelers intend to stay in an environmentally friendly vacation rental this year, showcasing this commitment is a significant advantage. Guests who feel they are actively participating in reducing their environmental impact by regulating energy usage are more likely to feel satisfied with their stay, again increasing the chances of repeat business.
Another key industry trend over the last year is travelers prioritizing trips that focus on wellness and relaxation. Guests looking for a peaceful getaway won’t want to stay in noisy rentals or busy areas and may be more likely to book accommodation that prioritizes low noise levels and respects the community.
While the fundamental function of noise monitors is to prevent parties, property managers can benefit from viewing them through a different lens. Smart noise monitors can help build revenue because they ultimately allow you to rent more nights, simply by ensuring no rental nights are lost following guest parties or get-togethers. But they can also be used to attract guests looking for quiet and peaceful getaways.
While property managers should always disclose noise monitors on listings, it’s also worth explaining why they are there. The type of guests you want to attract to this kind of stay shouldn’t fear them; instead, noise monitors should be presented as reassurance that an operator takes pride in ensuring units are quiet and relaxing spaces.
As of 2023, over 60.2 million American households have embraced the use of smart home devices, and the appetite for technology-driven experiences has extended to vacation renters. From automated check-ins and voice-controlled amenities to immersive entertainment systems and smart TVs, much of the guest experience can today be digitized, and many are willing to pay more for a tech-advanced rental.
In the digital age, where smartphones have become an extension of ourselves, travelers expect the same level of connectivity and convenience in their accommodation. Guests want to feel connected, informed, and entertained throughout their stay. In addition to standard amenities like high-speed Wi-Fi and smart TVs, there are other technologies to consider that can warrant an increase in rental rates.
Whether it’s achieving the right temperature or streaming their favorite music, providing a high level of bespoke attention fosters customer loyalty and can attract new guests looking for a personalized experience. Equipping a rental with smart technology can also warrant higher rates, with 66 percent of guests willing to pay more for rentals with tech-forward amenities.
Today, property managers should view smart home technology as much as a sales tool as an operational means to an end. The right smart home technology investments will instantly elevate the guest experience and help justify higher rental rates, ultimately benefiting the top line. Property managers need to remember that a positive guest experience starts with hospitality— technology is the icing on the cake.
Nate Wysk is a general manager at PointCentral.