7 Ways Tech is Disrupting the Vacation Rental Market
Over recent years, the vacation rental market has been transformed by technology — which is unsurprising as home sharing very much relies on the technology required for instant online bookings, quick communication, and seamless payment processing. As a result, platforms like Airbnb and HomeAway have raised billions in capital and remained at the forefront of the implementation of modern smart home technology.
That being said, there is additionally a new wave in vacation rental technology affecting the way renters rent and how hosts host. Virtual voice-activated assistants, live-streaming security cameras, AI-based booking platforms, and large-scale rental data are all dramatically altering the industry. Here are seven poignant ways technology is disrupting the vacation rental market.
Guest Experience Technology
Quick, Keyless Entry
While many savvy hosts have moved away from physical keys and have begun implementing keypad entry systems, products like the August Smart Lock are entirely revolutionizing how guests enter and exit a vacation home.
Using the August app, hosts can provide temporary codes to guests, enabling them to unlock doors using only their phones. Grant access to guests for a few weeks, a few months, or only a few hours. The smart home-locking system also comes equipped with a camera that streams front door footage to hosts’ smartphones, and the Door Sense feature allows hosts to always know if their door is locked, wherever in the world they may be. Collectively, Americans lose over 20 million keys per year, and dealing with locked-out guests can be a nightmare. Implementing a smart lock system streamlines the entry process of not only guests, but also the homeowners too.
Lights, Thermostats, Entertainment, and More
Smart locks aren’t the only way vacation rental hosts are adapting to modern landscapes. Homes can be fitted with smart lighting and heating systems which help save energy and money while adding a sophisticated flair to the property.
Nest is one of the industry leaders in smart home technology – offering products like smart thermostats, sleek cameras, and alarm systems – however, there are many other competitors on the market. Smart TVs, streaming boxes equipped with Netflix, and virtual assistant devices like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home are some of the products elevating many listings to the next level and allowing hosts to increase average daily rates.
That’s right — products like Click and Grow’s smart garden system allows hosts to take care of their plants and gardens remotely from their smartphones. NASA-inspired “Smart Soil” ensures plants get the right balance of water, oxygen, nutrients, and light. With little capsules of soil placed in the receptacles, smart garden systems are like Nespresso coffee machines for greenery. Within a month, hosts can have a sizeable production of herbs or vegetables to be enjoyed by guests. While this may not be the difference between a good and bad guest experience, it certainly adds a nice touch.
Property Management Technology
Channel and Property Management Software
Based on recent studies, the average full-time host spends anywhere from 30-50 hours per month handling property management responsibilities. Products like these Free Property Management Software Services, enable hosts to outsource duties ranging from guest communication to marketing and payment processing. Channel management allows hosts to publish their listings on all the most popular OTA sites without ever worrying about double bookings.
In addition to management software, lots of tools are available to outsource everything including management and sales and marketing. Hostmaker, Airsorted, Portico, Hello Guest, and others are some of the top providers.
Booking Direct with Chatbots
Companies like Expedia, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, and Booking.com are proving why artificial intelligence and travel go hand-in-hand. Bots that are accessible 24/7, speak a myriad of languages, and operate on self-learning algorithms are transforming the entire booking and customer service process.
Expedia recently rolled out their chatbot for users to research and ask questions regarding hotels (even though the platform also provides solutions for flights, cruises, and cars). Potential bookers can open the bot, describe what they’re looking for in a few short phrases, and be provided with the top listings to match their criteria.
Booking.com has a similar service where users can initiate conversations regarding their itinerary (hotel check-in times, room availability) with the chatbot. The Booking Assistant, as it’s called, is available on the main website, the mobile app, and it’s also integrated with Facebook. Right now, estimates suggest the chartbot can answer 30% of user questions in just a few minutes. For a hotel industry struggling to compete with the quick-response nature of Airbnb, chatbots are one of the additional ways Hotels Can Learn From Airbnb and How They Can Compete.
Data-Based Decision Making
Real estate investors, property managers, and everyday hosts are leveraging the power of data analytics to make informed decisions about the vacation rental marketplace. Rather than constructing educated guesses in regards to pricing and projected revenues, hosts now have the capacity to analyze a market and strategize accordingly based on real data.
AllTheRooms Analytics provides comprehensive vacation rental data useful for not only hosts and property managers, but also DMOs, CVBs, and government agencies. Understanding key performance indicators like occupancy rates, RevPAR, and ADR is often what sets the best accommodations apart and empowers property owners and enterprises alike to make an impact in the vacation rental market.
Leverage Digital Marketing in the Vacation Rental Market
The old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” is frankly outdated. In the vacation rental space, photos are important, but videos speak volumes. Airbnb now encourages hosts to create and publish videos to market their listing(s). Videos, coupled with digital marketing strategies that optimize direct bookings through SEO, are other clear ways technology is disrupting the vacation rental market.