Worldwide: In the first of a series of guest features, Andria Santos, CEO of Canadian interior design firm Fülhaus, gives us the lowdown on how short-term rental providers can design their properties to raise the customer experience for their guests.
Hi, my name is Andria Santos and I’m the CEO of Fulhaus Inc.. Fulhaus is an interior design company that offers comprehensive interior design and furnishing packages to short-term rental providers. Our range of Haus-in-a-box packages aim to leave an impression on your guests, while our rapid delivery cadence, customisable add-ons, and flexible pricing options are designed to help grow your rental business.
Leading STR providers know the value of good design. Forward-thinking providers know that good design is not expensive, ephemeral fluff that might add a nice perk to an already high-demand property. On the contrary: firms like Sonder consider quality design an asset and have put in the upfront capital needed to make their visual aesthetic a competitive differentiator.
In an increasingly competitive market, setting yourself apart in the eyes of consumers is the only route to long-term viability, and it all revolves around your brand. Even if a property is in an excellent location and listed at an affordable price, customers are likely to skip over if the interior is not thoughtfully put together.
In other words, good design makes properties more desirable for consumers and contributes a material difference to per-unit revenues, more than justifying the upfront costs. Here are three concrete value pieces of advice that impeccable interior design can bring to customer experience and your top line:
1. Higher ADR for well-designed units
A correlation exists between well-designed units and revenue, as measured by average daily rate (ADR). In fact, one of our partners has seen a 45 per cent boost in ADR after a redesign.
There are two primary drivers behind this trend. The first is to do with location. Customers they have more options than ever to choose from. A quick look over the available options in any given urban centre indicates that a range of providers can offer similar types of units, for a similar price, in the same neighbourhood, rendering location less of a critical issue for customers. What is more important for customers is comfort and reliability in their stays, which is the second trend influencing ADR rates for well-designed units. Visitors will go a bit out of their way to be comfortable – it’s that simple!
Visitors are also willing to pay a little bit more to be comfortable. With increased demand comes incredible revenue potential for providers and operators. Leading firms are able to charge a premium for their unique products as they stand out and are appealing to customers. This adds a nice cushion to top line revenue without altering per-unit expenses. It’s a classic win-win!
2. Better reviews
A second benefit to incorporating unique design is the quality of reviews. Reputation management is a hot topic in the short-term rental market. Some companies spend millions a year trying to swing the pendulum from a negative to a positive review. But trying to mop up after the fact won’t do enough – the unfortunate irony is that companies rarely take enough of a proactive approach to prevent the negative reviews in the first place. Here is where having impeccable furniture and a stand-out living room display can make the difference. Memorable spaces impress visitors. Memorable spaces also lead to more positive reviews, as visitors want to let people know that this place is beautiful, different, and – most importantly – worth staying in.
For operators, better reviews is marketing gold. On one hand, it means fewer resources need to be spent worrying about reputation management. On the other hand, better reviews are like free promotional campaigns for the unit. Reviews might include text, photos and or videos of the space; all this user-generated content is great for exposure and brand building, which leads me to the third value ad of well-designed units.
3. Stronger brand sentiment
Short-term rental providers should always be thinking about the long game, and that means brand building is of paramount importance. However, all too often brand identity starts and stops with a tagline, fancy logo and set of mission statements. What follows is a disjunctured and commonplace identity that does not stand out.
To really break away from the pack and cement their identity in the eyes of consumers, providers need to see branding as the combined representation of all public-facing company assets – and that obviously includes interior design! Design is the most important element of a brand. It creates consistency throughout the properties and makes a company stand out. These are intangibles that can, and often do, make or break a company – especially in a fiercely competitive consumer market like short-term rentals.
Design Your Future, One Room At a Time
High-performing short-term rental providers know there is a direct correlation between quality design and higher average daily rate – and they are willing to invest the upfront capital needed to make beautiful spaces. Operators that can make interior design an asset rather than an afterthought will reap the long-term rewards. In-demand properties, happy customers, and strong brand sentiment are the standout benefits a well-designed short-term rental property can yield – and they all come together to help grow your business.
For more information, visit the Fülhaus website here.