Smart Technology Hacks for Vacation Rental Managers

Smart Technology Hacks for Vacation Rental Managers

In recent economic conditions and in light of the rising market competition, the adoption of vacation rental technology has accelerated to resolve many of the challenges faced within the vacation rental ecosystem.

Guests expect vacation rentals to meet a high level of safety and professionalism. A key aspect for success is to make bookings as seamless as possible. By creating a smooth flow in the entire booking process, you will enhance your guests' experience, which will translate to a higher conversion rate for your business in the long run.

Top 10 Technology Growth Hacks for Vacation Rental Managers

  1. Digital Guest Check-in
  2. Chatbots and Voice Concierges
  3. Operational Automation
  4. Dynamic pricing tools
  5. Channel managers
  6. Property management systems (PMS)
  7. Welcome apps
  8. Data intelligence tools
  9. Insurance and ID verification tools
  10. Home Automation Tools

It’s time to put your property in the spotlight. The demand for vacation rentals has increased remarkably, with vacation rental managers now seeing occupancy rates at record highs with booking pace up by an astounding 700%!

Demand and competition have led to an increase in rates in some locations.

Let’s explore some of the smartest growth hacks for vacation rental managers and how to build a strong repertoire within the industry to maximize efficiency and increase bookings.

1. Digital Guest Check-in

The most innovative digital solution adapted to vacation rentals is to automate all check-in processes, from booking confirmation until check-out, satisfying the needs of the ever-increasing number of digital tourists.

Here are some details about the ways you can automate your service:

Online Check-in

  • Your guests will register themselves via an online form which they will fill in with their personal details. This link will be sent to them automatically when the booking is created.
  • Twenty-four hours after the guest has entered the property, their details will be automatically registered on the police website.

Remote Access

With the proper access code, guests will be able to access the accommodation quickly, without wasting any additional time. Upon verifying their identity, guests receive a direct email with the access code to the property (either by Smart lock, Keybox or collection point).

Online Payments

All payments from a single tool. Payment of the booking, tourist taxes (previously calculated automatically), deposits, upselling, etc.

Whether guests book through a platform or directly, it is essential for hosts to have an efficient digital check-in process in place.

Here are some of the Digital check-in companies we recommend:
Chekin, YourWelcome, Wishbox

2. Chatbots and Voice Concierges

Vacation rental chatbots and voice concierges are an accessible and cheaper way to deal with the daily barrage of guest questions. These tools use AI and machine learning to help guests with whatever they need. Eliminating the need for round-the-clock customer service staff, help guests resolve issues faster, and provide a smoother experience overall.

  • Chatbots Vacation rental chatbots are AI messaging platforms that handle your guest communication. They can identify your guests’ needs and provide accurate answers using your knowledge base. Here are some of our top recommendations for chatbots that can help you with this service:

Yada, ConsiergeBot, Guidewiser, MyPalazze, ChatBot, roomfilla

  • Voice Concierges Voice concierges are similar to vacation rental chatbots, but instead use voice technology, such as Amazon Echo or Google Home, to provide automated, interactive guest communication. Installing a voice concierge in your property, will impress your guests with this futuristic, hands-free technology and make it easy and fun for them to access the information they need during their stay. Here are some of our top recommendations for voice concierges that can help you with this service:

Virtual Concierge Service, Volara

When it comes to reviews, guests often mention funky gadgets and it keeps you ahead of your rankings as well. Ensure your vacation rental has a touch of sophistication by equipping it with the latest in modern technology to make it stand out and compete more effectively. You will also not have to constantly answer guest queries or calls, reducing your workload. This will allow you to save a great deal of time.

3. Operational Automation

In recent times hygiene has become an utmost important factor that challenges the daily routine of a property manager. The highest sanitization standards are required on every property in order to comply with the latest OTA cleaning and disinfection protocols.

Fortunately, there is a growing number of cleaning and maintenance companies providing automated solutions. These service providers comprise certified cleaning staff and include automated housekeeping tasks. These tools help to save time and money without compromising on the quality of cleaning services provided.

Here are a few of our suggestions for you to consider: Doinn, Porch, Properly, Handy, Homeclean

4. Dynamic Pricing Tools

The right rental price can give you an advantage on a daily basis. It’s an imperative component to increasing your profits. Dynamic pricing tools help you find the best nightly rates and remain competitive throughout the year by automatically adjusting your rates based on historical and real-time market data. Machine learning algorithms provide you with pricing recommendations by understanding supply and demand dynamics. By optimizing your pricing, you will be able to increase your profits while reducing your time spent on a manual price adjustment.

Here are some of our recommendations for dynamic pricing tools: Pricelabs, Beyond, Wheelhouse, DPGO, Buoy

With the dynamic pricing tool, you can adjust your rates and the Property Management Software will automatically update them on all of your OTA channels. The Hostaway PMS seamlessly integrates with all of the above-mentioned pricing tools.

5. Channel Managers

In an age when there are so many platforms and listing sites available to hosts, channel managers are invaluable tools for property managers, no matter the size of their vacation rental portfolio. The channel manager software allows property managers or hosts to efficiently list on multiple channels and manage them all in one place. A channel manager will also help you save time, prevent double bookings, and keep your availability, rates, and calendars up-to-date if you advertise on more than one booking site.

Hostaway offers the very best channel manager software in the industry. As the premier/preferred partners of Airbnb, Vrbo, Booking and Expedia, the software has a strong reputation for being able to seamlessly manage all rental channels, guest reservations, messages, and more with one software platform with great 24/7 support.

6. Property Management Systems (PMS)

In terms of properties and hosts, PMS’s cover an abundance of tasks. A property management system is designed to manage a vacation rental company on a day-to-day basis. Management of reservations, schedule of cleanings, producing invoices, and keeping track of reports are among the most important tasks. Property management systems are usually used in conjunction with channel managers and integrate seamlessly.

Hostaway offers the most comprehensive and easy-to-use property management system for vacation rentals. You can manage inquiries, recurring guests, distribution channels, owners, and staff all in one platform. The PMS scales as your business grows, so you don't need to change.

Learn more about How to Evaluate Vacation Rental Property Management Systems (PMS) and How to Choose the Best PMS for your Vacation Rental Business.

7. Welcome Apps

Digital Home Guide for guests

Digital guestbooks are useful elements of a property manager’s toolkit. They help you save time on guest communication, automate your check-ins, and increase your revenue by also upselling tours and services. They offer a high level of care and attentiveness that all guests appreciate, and as a result, can earn you lots of positive reviews.

We recommend the following apps which also integrate with Hostaway PMS:

HelloHere Wishbox Touchstay

Data Intelligence Tools

When a market is as lucrative as the vacation rental industry, the goal of every property manager or host is to turn it into a profitable income. Today, data is an essential pillar of performance optimization. Property managers use data to improve their revenue management strategies and inform their investment decisions. They use it to understand their market, their customers, and their competition.

Sophisticated data dashboards allow property managers to compare their rates with their competitors, analyze market demand, and spot trends in the changing landscape of travel. That’s why vacation rental market research and data intelligence tools are being used daily in property management.

Here are a few industry-leading data providers who provide invaluable insights:

Transparent, AirDNA, AllTheRooms, Key Data Dashboard

Insurance And ID Verification Tools

"Prevention is better than cure" and getting insured should be at the top of your list as a vacation rental owner. Since it is possible for matters like damage, theft, and cancellation to occur to anyone, it is always a wise decision to invest in vacation rental insurance.

Thanks to innovative startups, there is a multitude of insurance tools designed for vacation rentals out there. As the demand for effective guest screening solutions escalates in the market, some of these tools now have ID verification features too!

Screening your guests can help prevent a wide range of issues, such as illegal parties, fraudulent bookings, credit card fraud, and criminal activity.

Here are a few favorites who we trust and recommend InsuraGuest, SuperHog, Safely Check out our blog on Vacation Rental Insurance Guide for more in-depth information.

Home Automation Tools

Keyless entry and smart locks

With smart locks and keyless entry, hosts don’t have to be present when the guests arrive. These tech solutions mean that there are no more key replacement costs or time wasted if a guest arrives late. Hosts can simply send the guest their code before their stay. Hosts then have the added protection that they can change the code as soon as the guest leaves.

Some of the Smart lock and keyless entry companies we recommend are: KeyNest, TTLock, Lynx, Nuki

When buying a smart lock for your vacation rental, ask yourself what features would benefit you the most.

Some of the main reasons for going keyless and installing a digital lock are:

  • High Security
  • Convenience
  • Connectivity and integration with smart home devices
  • Reliability

Here are some of the most useful features to look for in smart locks:

Unique temporary access codes

Guests receive a code that expires once their stay has ended. This is vital for security. Guests won't be able to unlock your door outside of the reservation time.

Wifi connection

Smart locks are often connected to WiFi networks, which means you can monitor their activity anywhere with your smartphone. Regardless of whether it is guests, cleaning staff, or maintenance staff, this feature allows you to track who is coming into the home at all times.

Integration with home automation platforms

The feature isn't essential, but it's good to have if you also use smart home technology, like smart thermostats. All your devices can be managed and monitored in one place with a home automation platform. You may also be able to control your smart lock with your voice if it is connected to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

Integration with a messaging automation tool

Many property managers overlook this feature, but it is one that can be highly beneficial. In cases where your smart lock is integrated with your messaging system, you can use activity during the door lock/unlock cycle as a trigger to send automated messages to your guests or cleaning crew.

Recommended further reading : Top 5 Airbnb Smart Technologies for Vacation Rentals

Noise monitoring

Alongside effective guest screening processes, having a noise monitoring device installed in your vacation rental can further eliminate the risk of a party taking place.

Companies that provide noise monitoring devices include: NoiseAware, Minut, Roomonitor, Party Squasher

Smart thermostats

Smart thermostats allow you to manage energy consumption by doing away with unnecessary heating and cooling. There are times when guests are careless with temperature control. For example, they sometimes forget to turn off the AC when they leave, or turn the heat up way too high and then open the window to cool the place down.

Install a smart thermostat in your home to prevent your utility bills from going up, which can seriously affect your bottom line. You can avoid any excesses of heating and cooling by controlling the temperature remotely. Don’t forget to check if it also integrates with your PMS!

Some of our smart thermostats recommendations are as follows, Honeywell, Steppro, Modosmart

WiFi Connected Furnace Thermostat

For those living in climates that change frequently, such as in the mountains where snow and sun are factors, an app-controlled thermostat is a good idea. Easily monitor your home with just a few clicks of your smartphone.

The following are a few recommendations : Ecobee4 (with built-in Alexa and room sensors), Nest, Honeywell

Water Leak And Freeze Sensors

If you live out of state from your vacation rental and the hot water heater leaks between maintenance visits, what do you do? How about hurricane season? What if the bathroom or sink is overflowing?There is a solution for this too. You can now be notified on your smartphone when a leak is detected or the temperature in the home drops below a specified temperature of your choice. You can avoid expensive repairs and potentially lost revenue all thanks to Honeywell sensors! Go check them out!

Smart Lighting

In today's world, smart lighting is a key component of modern technology. There’s nothing worse when a guest arrives at the property and struggles to figure out where the lights are located to turn them on. What if a few lights turned on automatically with motion sensors and were cost-efficient in the process too?

An innovative solution has been introduced into the market that provides a warm, welcoming environment, and ensures the lights are turned off when no one is around. Find out more at Lutron!

Conclusion

Adapting to the demands of an increasingly well informed, digitized customer, technology has fuelled new ways of delivering the customer experience digitally. Today, vacation rental technology is at the forefront of facilitating property management tasks and technological advancements have proliferated exponentially within the industry.

For every property manager, having a smooth operation across multiple listings is important, so using technologies that automate and centralize will help streamline this process.

With a few small investments, your vacation rental could stand light years ahead of your competition, guaranteeing you significant ROI. Property managers should consider investing in these smart technologies, which will prove to be a valuable asset over the long-term.

Further reading: Financing & Fundraising For Vacation Rental Businesses

Ready to find out how Hostaway can transform your business?