The vacation rental industry’s knowledge tree is rapidly growing and industry leaders continue to collaborate rather than sprout in their own direction. This fall, HomeAway opened its doors to many in the vacation rental industry for its annual user conference.
September’s RezFest 2018 in Marco Island, Florida spoke to staying ahead of the curve in an all-in-one event loaded with technology and industry insights. An expanded vendor showcase included many solution providers, including Kigo and other technology companies.
Applying technology inside and outside of the walls of vacation rentals has been on the minds of industry professionals, and the conference didn’t disappoint. HomeAway President John Kim and Expedia Group Brand President Aman Bhutani looked into their crystal balls and discussed the future of travel. It will only be a matter of time when the industry relies more on voice technologies and virtual and augmented reality, they believe. Bhutani envisions a day when guests will simply point a smart phone at an in-apartment feature to learn how to use it.
The power of combining technologies into one solution
Applications and platforms for bookings, payments and facilities management already is driving the future of the vacation rental industry. But perhaps one of the most powerful messages is how property managers can maximize technology to grow business without the need for multiple platforms.
Kigo representatives conveyed that thought by showcasing Kigo Marketplace, the all-in-one solution that includes Kigo Channel Manager and combines seven key property management functions into one. Traffic was brisk at Kigo’s booth, Sales Director Ben McGee said.
“The power of technology consolidation at the conference was evident,” he said. “If you looked at the trade show floor, you could find the technology for property management software, channel management, payments, an application for managing your callers and your website. Or, you can look at something that has all of these technologies in one place for one price. A lot of people were attracted to that because they are working with five or six companies trying to achieve the same goal, which is to have a suite of tools to simplify and automate their vacation rental business.”
Enhancing property management to focus on the human side
McGee, who described the event as “very future focused,” said that technology and automation are tools that enable vacation rental providers to focus more on an important side of the business – customer service that enhances the holiday experience. The industry is making sure it doesn’t lose sight of the importance of the personal touch.
“The caveat is that there is nothing you’re going to take away from the experiences you deliver to people when it comes to making memories from a family vacation,” he said. “Our job as vacation rental managers is more important than ever in a world where there is technology and automation and that human connection is going to be more valuable than it has been."
“And people are already taking part in an economy that already favors that human experience rather than trying to drive for profit margins and dollar signs.”