Transforming vacation rentals through technology

Travel as a whole took a massive hit due to the emergence of COVID-19 in 2020. However, the pandemic brought about the acceleration and adoption of new vacation rental technology to help solve pain points in the short-term rental ecosystem.

People who had never considered using short-term rentals for their holidays have been enticed by the privacy, self-catering and homely comforts that vacation rentals offer.

Airbnb’s IPO valuation (which was more than Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt combined) provided proof of the popularity of the sharing economy.

The adoption of new vacation rental technology stems from the expectation of safety and professional standards by guests. 

A key factor for success will be making bookings as frictionless as possible.

By creating less friction in the entire booking process, the guest experience will be enhanced.

As a result, your business will flourish because an easy booking experience counts for a lot.

“Ultimately, vacation rental technology is the catalyst, the lubricant, which enables better, quicker, easier transactions which are still framed within trust. There are a plethora of tools out there, Superhog being one of them, which allows friction to be removed when putting in place an effective risk management strategy, involving guest screening, insurance and security deposits.” 

– Humphrey Bowles, CEO and Co-founder of SUPERHOG.

Smart locks, digital guest screening and trust tech, along with automated property technology have contributed to the professionalisation and growth in popularity of the short-term rental sector.

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Remote digital guest check-in

The short-term rental industry has always suffered from the same major problem.

A second or family home is a significant investment, if not a host’s most valuable asset.

Allowing strangers from the internet to use that space, brings with it obvious problems that everyone has read about.

Parties and other illegal activities at vacation rentals are not unheard of.

The damage caused by these activities, can, unfortunately, take a huge toll both mentally and financially on hosts.

£190bn is lost annually to credit card, identity and cyber-fraud making it the most prevalent crime (The Royal United Services Institute – RUSI). 

Further to that, it is estimated that £27bn is lost to property damage in the short-term and vacation rental sector

We decided that insurance on its own is not the solution. It simply reacts to damage after the event has occurred.

That’s why having a digital guest check-in tool such as Superhog, will help prevent damage by removing every possibility of hosting a problematic/bad guest.

Having an effective digital guest check-in process in place, whether hosts use a platform or take direct bookings, is crucial to success.

Superhog requires all guests to go through our own independent verification process.

Superhog then backs bookings if a guest is verified with our $5million guarantee.

If you’re a vacation rental business or direct host, we’d love to hear from you! Please get in contact with us!

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Keyless entry and smart locks

Even before the pandemic, the rise in the use of keyless entry and smart locks was beginning to develop. 

Unfortunately, the host meet and greet upon arrival is now a thing of the past. 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.

Smart lock and keyless entry companies include Nuki Home Solutions, KeyNest, Lynx, RemoteLock and Klevio.

keyless entry and smart lock vacation rental technology

AI guest communication

Unlike a hotel, a vacation rental doesn’t have a manned front desk with 24/7 support for guests. That’s where a voice concierge app comes to the rescue.

Having an app like Virtual Concierge allows you to turn products like the Amazon Echo or Google Home into a local assistant that can answer any questions your guest has.

It can also provide them with tips about the best local attractions or restaurants. 

Chatbots are another example of vacation rental technology that has really taken off this past year.

Due to their AI nature, they are extremely efficient and provide a much more cost-effective alternative to a human employee.

They can also be made available 24/7 and provide the answer to common guest questions so hosts don’t have to answer every question.

Here are a few of the leading chatbot providers: MyPlazze, ConciergeBot, Yada, GuideWiser, ChatBot and roomfilla.

Operational automation technology

One of the most common reasons for a bad review on short-term rental sites like Airbnb, VRBO and Expedia, is cleanliness. 

Cleanliness is now even more crucial with the current situation. 

Luckily for hosts and property managers, there has been a rise in companies that provide automated solutions to cleaning and property maintenance. 

These companies provide a solution to what is an extremely costly and time-consuming process, especially for vacation rental companies with a large number of units.

These companies provide hosts and property managers with tools that help save money, while at the same time providing a professional service that doesn’t compromise the quality of cleaning or maintenance. 

Here are a few of the biggest on the scene: Doinn, Porch, Properly, Handy, Homeclean.

operational automation for vacation rentals

Noise monitoring

As mentioned earlier in this post, parties are the scourge of the short-term rental sector.

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 and Party Squasher.

stop parties with vacation rental technology

Dynamic pricing and market research

Of course, the main goal of being a short-term rental host is to make as much profit as possible. The vacation rental business is extremely lucrative.

Dynamic pricing tools can help hosts make as much profit as possible. They use both real and historical market data to help hosts set their prices to the best and most competitive rates throughout the year.

Hosts can therefore spend more time on other aspects of their business that require their attention, rather than having to worry about what price they should be charging guests.

Market research tools can help hosts to analyse the market demand, who their main competitors are and spot developing travel trends.

Their goal is to help hosts get an advantage over the competition.

Here are a few of the best: Wheelhouse, Beyond Pricing, PriceLabs, Outswitch and AirDNA.

dynamic pricing for vacation rentals

Channel managers

With the plethora of platforms and listing sites out there, a channel manager is a huge asset for a host.

Listing on multiple sites helps bring back huge returns but can be stressful and difficult to manage. 

Channel managers ensure that no matter how many properties you rent out:

  • There are no double bookings
  • The host’s calendar is kept up to date
  • The listing is set up properly to yield the best results possible.

Here are a few of the best: Rentals united, Kigo, Zeevou, Lodgify, Hostaway, Syncbnb, Avantio, Travelnest.

channel managers for vacation rentals

Property management systems (PMS)

A property management system is dedicated to the day-to-day management of a vacation rental business.

Channel managers focus on distribution. Property management systems allow you to manage your bookings, schedule cleaning, create automated guest messaging, invoices and produce reports. 

Property management systems are usually used in conjunction with channel managers and integrate seamlessly.

Here are some of the best PMS’: Guesty, BookingSync, Bookster, Res:harmonics, OwnerRez, 365villas.

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