In the coming months, guests will want professional, predictable, and safe places to escape to from their quarantine. As stated in Part One, the 'new traveler persona' combines expectations for safety, cleanliness, and amenities, and elevates the standard for high-quality accommodations. In addition to these shifting behaviors, the size and quality that vacation rentals offer will make the accommodation type the most attractive travel option over the next year. In fact, vacation rentals offer the guest an entire single-family home or condo, which promotes social distancing with decreased proximity to other guests. Vacation rentals also have a longer average length of stay than that of hotels, which translates to fewer people entering and exiting the premises and more confidence in a clean property.
Leaning Into Professionalism to Take Action Now
For managers who already leverage ‘professionalized’ housekeeping and inspection programs for different event types (back-to-backs, owner stays, standard departure, etc.), there are still calibrations that can be made to ensure an airtight process. For example, providers can increase the frequency at which they ‘deep clean’ a property, and consider taking extra precautions to supplement housekeeping checklists and protocols (e.g. wiping down high-touch surfaces, swapping in CDC recommended cleaning products, replacing reusable supplies, etc.). This decision might add to your operational burden, but doing so will give your brand a lift and build more confidence that guests will experience a sanitized, clean, and disinfected home when they walk through the front door.
Customer service is a core competency in the vacation rental business, and the expectation for proactive client communication becomes heightened in times of uncertainty. What guests and owners really care about is what you’ve done to ensure the property’s quality, safety, and cleanliness. The programmatic communication of cleaning procedures reassures guests and helps demonstrate the full value of your services to owners. Managers can highlight the efforts they’re putting into ensuring guest safety through listings on their website, blog posts, social media channels, email marketing, text messages, guest and owner portals, and other channels. Strategic client communication separates the professional managers from the rest of the pack and is critical to reinforce a trustworthy brand.
In addition to upgrading housekeeping and communication protocols, managers can use this downtime to take inventory at each property and ensure that each room contains items and amenities to satisfy the modern guest of 2020. When stocking properties, hospitality providers should anticipate future guests every need, and arrange each room accordingly. For example, the kitchen should be fully stocked with basic ingredients, appliances and plenty of cookware, while exteriors should be prepped with enough outdoor seating for the number of guests the property sleeps. Taking time to arrange your properties now and elevate them to the demands of the modern guest will bring them to their highest potential and boost your listings when travel resumes.
Expectation for Professional Management Demands Tighter Process
The new traveler persona creates more work for professional property managers - a challenge that is nothing new to the vacation rental industry. With more work comes a unique opportunity, and professional managers can use the coming months to audit their operational processes, housekeeping protocols, and remote work coordination. Doing so will help meet the demands of the new traveler persona, drive a wedge between their product and the ‘hobby vacation rental owner’, and restart their gains in market share.
Miss Part I of this blog? Read it now.
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