And what makes an average one?
Anyone that has been working as a professional vacation rental manager will have seen major changes in a short space of time. The growth and popularity of short term rentals mean that managers have to be flexible and ready to change to keep up with the demands of their customers. But what are these demands? Could your properties be slipping behind what guests expect from a vacation rental without you even knowing?
The standards have been raised across the board. Many managers that started with just one property and limited experience now run entire business empires. They have been doing all they can to establish high standards and ensure their guests get the same level of experience wherever they stay. Major brands that have started offering vacation rentals have also attempted to out-do each other in terms of their service. There’s been a rush to standardize the quality across every property.
With guests using various sites and various companies to book properties all over the world, there’s a sense that guests are starting to expect more from their rentals. To be the best you have to go above beyond what people expect. We’re looking at the basics that the modern vacation rental guest now demands from every property and how you can go above and beyond.
This might be covering old ground for a lot of managers but it is one of the key features that guests expect from a rental property. With hotels still charging for very patchy coverage, vacation rentals surged ahead by building fast and reliable WIFI into their pricing. If you don’t have WIFI you will be coming in under guests’ expectations and you almost certainly will be losing business guests. Having a separate charge for internet access has been a failed experiment and it’s always better to build any extra costs into your regular prices.
This is a thorny issue for many guests. There is an expectation that modern businesses operate in an ethical manner and any business that operates outside the law is simply not sustainable. Guests want to know that all the appropriate taxes from their stay are paid, including and tourist taxes in cities. It’s the expectation that a vacation rental business runs the same as any other and businesses. Avoiding it may create problems with guests as well as the government.
When you start a small business, you can treat every customer with an unrivaled level of service. So, how can you maintain this when you start to scale up your business? Taking a few minutes to find out a little bit about your guests when they book or arrive, perhaps recommend a few things that are suited to them goes a long way. With Kigo, you can automate your booking emails and requests, leaving you free to provide this level of service, no matter the size of your business. Guests expect vacation rental properties to have a little personal touch that makes their trip unique.
The places locals go, away from the main drag. Guests expect that you’re going to know the area around your properties and will be able to give the best recommendations. As a property manager, you’re an informal concierge and guide so keep some of this information available. Creating a small guide in your welcome pack is an easy way to do this. Add pages and information as and when you discover it, plus you can use the same guide for all your properties in the area.
If you’re renting a property with a kitchen, your guests are going to want to use it. Cooking and cleaning equipment are now expected as standard. Don’t let an entire room go to waste for the sake of missing a few bits of equipment. Make sure your kitchen is stocked with the basic tools like pans, plates and cutlery. If you have something featured on your listing, your guests are going to expect to use it.
This is a difficult trait to define and even harder to manufacture. Guests frequently choose vacation rentals because they want an experience that is realer and less segregated from everyday life than hotels or other types of accommodation. A great vacation rental experience is one that shows off a little of why people want to open their properties and bring people to their cities and towns. Sterile, template experiences are losing favour with travellers so keep a touch of individuality in each property and it will make your guests feel like they are really experiencing a sense of travel and adventure.
Speaking in a Skift interview, this Madrid host Kristian Sun describes some of the changes in what guests expect:
Some guests have become demanding. They expect more ‘service,’ and basic equipment. Sometimes guests show up and have a different opinion about my apartment than what they thought they would be getting based on photos and descriptions they read online, but that’s the minority.
Despite sounding like it could be problematic or stressful, guests starting to expect more from vacation rentals is great news for the industry as a whole. Businesses are striving to provide better service and more consistency .This means the businesses that don’t meet these standards will start to suffer and the best businesses will be able to convert their guests.
A higher average standard of quality means you’re going to reach more and more potential customers. How many customers that would have never considered vacation rentals even five years ago have you seen become your loudest advocates? Make sure you give your guests exactly what they expect, that’s when you can start to think about how your business can do even more.