Last Wednesday, Breezeway’s Founder & CEO, Jeremy Gall, participated in HOST’s virtual panel to discuss how property management is changing. Jeremy was joined by Tomer Rosenblum of Guesty, Cherry Wang of Homelike, Moriya Rockman of Smiling House, and moderator Lavina Liyanage of the UK STAA & onefinestay to cover topics ranging from pricing, occupancy, guest communication, travel trends, and operating tips for the next 3-6 months. Weren’t able to catch the session live? We’ve recapped the top 3 takeaways for you below.
Property Manager → Hospitality Provider
A growing trend in the industry (which started well before COVID-19), is the identity shift from property manager to hospitality provider. Guest expectations for vacation rental experiences continue to climb, and in order to meet these lofty demands, managers have taken on more work by incorporating personalized concierge services into the stay. Prioritizing the human elements of your brand (welcome gift, pre-arrival messages, post-arrival presentation) is a core element of this new ‘hospitality provider’ role, along with automating away burdensome operational tasks (e.g. field staff scheduling, checklist building). Doing so allows more time and energy to be dedicated to the guest experience.
Property Managers have Pivoted to Accommodate Mid-Long Term Stays
A silver lining to the pandemic has been the ability to work remotely. For many families and travelers, this has offered the flexibility to relocate temporarily, and explore drive-to destinations for longer periods of time. Vacation rental managers have reaped the benefits of this trend, steadily seeing an increased length of stay, and a shorter booking window. In April 2020 the UK saw a 40% increase in length of stay compared to April 2019. In response to this trend, managers are offering length-of-stay discounts up to 22% for a 30-day stay in an effort to provide even more value to guests. In addition to price breaks, providing a comfortable working environment is critical to long-term guests. Managers can appeal to remote workers by turning an extra room into an office, ensuring the internet connection is strong, and marketing these amenities in property listings.
Communication is Key
While travelers have chosen vacation rentals as an appealing accommodation type amidst COVID-19, communicating the cleaning and safety measures you’re taking is a must. These important details can be incorporated into property listings, a dedicated COVID-19 landing page on your website, or automated pre-arrival messaging that explains contactless check-in instructions and other critical information in your market. Guests are leaning on technology more than ever, and expect managers to quickly respond to any requests they may have.
Quick Tips for Managers over the Next 3-6 Months
- Market the cleanliness of your properties
- Focus on hospitality services
- Be flexible (adapt to new trends)
- Provide a true “home away from home”