This time last year, I would bet that the majority of vacation rental operators were incredibly uncertain about what the future held in 2021. Fast forward to today, and we not only have a much clearer picture of the state of the industry, but we also have a huge amount of optimism not only for vacation rentals but for travel as a whole. Using insights gained from our customers at Breezeway, and through discussions with my wider network within the industry, I’ve singled out three predictions for 2022 from a property operations perspective.
Tech Integrations Will Be Key for Operators to Fully Automate Their Property Care
Travelers continue to expect more quality and service during their stay, and owners are demanding more visibility and attention to how their properties are managed. The right subset of complementary tools can help managers better position their operation to delight their guests, scale their business, and boost their profitability.
Today, 53 percent of operators are using at least four different software systems to operate their business. That percentage is projected to increase as the vast majority of managers feel that implementing additional tools like property care software, noise monitoring, and smart locks will positively impact their business. Integrated technologies that drive service can course-correct the trajectory of a client’s brand experience (for both guests and homeowners).
As we move into 2022, operators who can easily extract data and signals from interfacing software tools will free themselves from manual data entry and cross-checking of work. This requires selecting software that aligns with your business model, aids the different functions of your company, and can push and pull data back and forth between other solutions. It’s this sort of automation that allows operators to focus on delivering more powerful guest experiences.
The Rise of Self-Managed Supply Will Accelerate the Industry's Emphasis on Quality
As interest rates remain low, and online travel agencies continue to decrease the barriers to self-manage, more and more consumers are purchasing, operating, and renting vacation rentals. While an influx in supply is great for the continued growth of the vacation rental category, it also makes it harder for quality vacation rentals to shine through at booking.
Establishing and promoting your vacation rental brand requires following a protocol of standards that will help professional managers stand out in our crowded market. As consumers flock to vacation rentals and have quality, safe, and predictable experiences, they will, in turn, trust our industry and continue to choose short-term rentals as their preferred accommodation type.
Property Safety WIll Be Synonymous With Operations
Over the last few years, the meaning of “vacation rental safety” has converged with quality and cleanliness—particularly the latter during the pandemic. But in reality, property safety encompasses a lot more and includes operational processes and standards used to review property elements to reduce risk and initiate preventative maintenance. In the past, operations have not fully embraced safety in this holistic way. Yes, maintenance is addressed, but in a reactive fashion when something goes wrong, when new regulation occurs, or to lower insurance premiums.
In 2022, embedding safety inspections and regulatory requirements within operational programs will become an easy way for managers to not only provide better guest experiences but also help distinguish their brand in a crowded market. For example, operators can get credit by marketing their dedication to safety at booking by including keywords and displaying rigorous property preparation procedures, as well as offering owners additional safety services.
A large part of safety and operations is also keeping up to date with regulatory requirements. The rise in popularity of short-term rentals means a larger spotlight of scrutiny—and in ways we’ve never seen before. Many governments have local and state ordinances that surround details pertaining to taxes, health and safety, and licenses required for renting. Many of these restrictions intensified through pressure from neighbor complaints, town meetings, and media coverage. These regulations will only get tighter in 2022, and managers should tighten their safety programs to demonstrate their commitment to safe and responsible renting.
Jeremy Gall is the founder and CEO of Breezeway, a property care and operations platform for hospitality providers. Gall previously founded FlipKey, which TripAdvisor acquired in 2013.