While the majority of vacation rental managers are most concerned with getting bookings, they’re also increasingly concerned with the quality of the overall guest experience, too.
Realizing that in order to get more repeat and direct business it’s beneficial to offer services like pre-arrival grocery delivery, concierge services, or tours and activities for guests, they’re also finding it to be a logistical challenge, however.
According to a new report, 84 percent of vacation rental managers surveyed said they want to offer hospitality-driven services that aren’t yet available in their current software suites.
These are the findings of a recent survey conducted by Hostfully, a company that helps vacation rental and short-term rental hosts develop digital guidebooks for their guests to use in relation to their stays.
“Vacation rental managers and companies want more bookings and more support with marketing because it’s all about that bottom line,” said David Jacoby, president and co-founder of Hostfully. “They also want to offer more services so they can make even more money, but they don’t have the bandwidth to offer it now, whether it’s a completely outsourced concierge service or a software that lets them manage all these services in house.”
For its report, “The X Factor in Vacation Rental Travel: Hospitality,” Hostfully conducted an online survey of 30 vacation rental managers and did one-on-one interviews with 30 additional vacation rental managers. These 60 managers collectively manage more than 4,000 vacation rental properties on a variety of platforms, including HomeAway and Airbnb.
Jacoby also noted that, in their efforts to get more guests to book direct than to book on platforms like HomeAway, VRBO, or Airbnb, vacation rental managers are also looking at adding more hospitality to the guest experience as a way to get more direct bookings the next time around.
“It’s a great way to increase satisfaction and get great repeat business if they are offering great hospitality, and making it a pleasurable experience and not just offering a place to stay,” Jacoby said.
This growing desire for more direct business, Jacoby noted, was reflected in the fact that the top complaint among respondents was about the recent changes HomeAway has made to its booking process, making it more akin to the online-only process found on platforms like Airbnb.
“What we’re seeing is a focus on more platform independence,” Jacoby added. “Property management software where you enter your property on one place and it lists it all over multiple sites, and that syncs reservations across all those platforms, is growing, as are marketing websites that help vacation rental managers build their own sites and focus on retargeting ads on other sites.”
The top amenity — groceries pre-arrival — is only currently offered by 31 percent of vacation rental companies surveyed using their own proprietary management software (4%) or an outside source (27%). However, 50 percent of those surveyed said they do not offer it currently, but would want to do so.
“This helps them have a more professional experience that helps them compete against hotels and also compete against individuals like Airbnb hosts who are offering hospitality-driven services like recommendations on local experiences, or having a bottle of wine pre-arrival,” Jacoby said.
The other amenities vacation rental managers noted as wanting to provide to guests were: tours and activities; other concierge services; spa/massage services; mid-stay cleaning; airport transport; personal chef; and late check-in/check-out.
To download a full copy of the report, click here.