Israel: The team at guest experience platform Wishbox examines how the vacation rental industry is evolving in the times of Covid-19 and what technology solutions are most in-demand from hosts during the pandemic.
Much has been said and speculated regarding hospitality, guest experience, and transitions brought by the Covid-19 turmoil. International lockdowns and border controls have completely shifted traditional industry trends and have been said to favour short-term rentals over traditional hotels due to the privacy short-term rentals offer.
At the same time, hosts have been preparing for opening day and for operating in what is said to be the ‘new normal’. This preparation includes new methods of communication with guests and a growing need for increasing profitability, implementing automation tools without losing the local and personal appeal vacation rentals enjoy.
Travel habits, however, are far from the only thing that is changing in people’s lives. We are all getting used to working, communicating, and enjoying services remotely. This new mindset appears to be the perfect opportunity for hosts to progress the way they communicate with guests and automate traditional procedures that are often inefficient.
Below are the top four tech solutions and requirements Wishbox is receiving from hosts in response to these developments:
The requirement: Contactless check-in
Contactless /online hotel check-in solutions provide the ability to collect all necessary guests’ details automatically, with little to no personal contact needed upon arrival. The details that are typically collected by hosts include direct contact details, passport scans, payment, E-signatures, arrival time, and more.
While contactless check-ins existed pre-Covid-19, they are increasingly adopted by hosts and have come to be expected by guests, assuring their cooperation and a high completion rate. They also provide the perfect opportunity to re-establish the connection with guests, communicating with them directly and establishing trust.
Likewise, keyless experiences are becoming more common, allowing guests to open the property door or receive access codes to the property at the right timing. While this allows guests to reduce physical contact and provide a sense of safety, this also allows the host to automate the check-in process and reduce operational costs.
The entire management and coordination process with guests is also simplified and optimised as all the details are sent in advance by the system – at the right timing, reducing emails and risk of anything falling between the cracks. These recent developments have brought hospitality tech to develop more features that will help hosts collect all necessary details remotely bringing companies like Wishbox to not only include a payment collection option but also allow hosts to automatically place a security deposit hold on the guests’ card before arrival.
Recent launches by Wishbox also include the check-in portal, providing rental companies with a universal link any guest can use to complete a contactless check-in even if they haven’t completed or received the personalised message inviting them to complete the check-in in advances. Check-in portal can be used on the company’s website, QR codes, and more.
The requirement: Increasing profitability
Many hosts have raised concerns about their margins, bringing them to focus on both revenue management and reducing operational costs. At the same time, more hosts are turning to digital transformation as a gateway for creating new streams of revenue for their vacation rental.
Having guests check-in online in advance and engage with the property, provides hosts with the perfect opportunity to offer additional services such as early check-ins, food supplies, experiences, mid-stay cleaning and more. With these additional services available for purchase instantly, vacation rentals can increase revenue per guest without having to invest much time or effort into operating and managing these services.
Hosts can easily connect to local suppliers and automate the process allowing guests to enjoy a wide range of services at the click of a button. This opens up many new opportunities for hosts to enhance local collaborations and offer services that suit a wide range of guest personas, adapting quickly to changes.
The requirement: Maintain a local personable touch with social distancing
Content and experiences are key to leaving a mark on guests and offering a remarkable guest experience. Guests tend to select properties that suit their desired vacation style in effort to enjoy a peaceful getaway while also enjoying the local surrounding. This places hosts with a great opportunity to offer suitable information.
Social distancing has made it more difficult for hosts to leave a mark and offer a local touch. At the same time, the information that is available online may not be relevant to travellers, placing even more importance on hosts as a source of local knowledge and guidance.
Due to these factors, more hosts are seeing the importance in having their own content and guest app allowing them to help guests both feel at home and receive the local advice and recommendations they may need. With all the information available at the click of a button, the guest experience is enhanced and the unique advantages of personal contact with a local host remain unharmed.
The request: Communicate more efficiently
With the increasing need for efficient communication with guests while at the same time operating with a limited workforce, hosts are seeking improved ways to not only send out information to their guests but also respond to enquiries and questions faster.
It is not only about faster response but also about communicating with guests through their own preferred channels. The ability to simultaneously manage conversations with multiple guests and answer all of their needs remotely is yet another increasing need by property managers.
The recent launch of Wishbox’s communication hub, allowing hosts to view, automate and manage all guest communication in one place, send auto-translated SMS, WhatsApp, or email messages, is the perfect example for a tech solution designed to answer this need. This allows vacation rentals to manage communication faster and better, increasing their ability to auto-reply and instantly broadcast messages to guests using smart filters.
While the industry is working on recovery, the ability to maximise communication, offer dynamic services, and manage guests in the most secure way is more important than ever. Seizing the opportunity to adopt new solutions is key to not only surviving but also coming out stronger.
Wishbox is an innovative guest experience platform for end-to-end guest communication, online check-in, up-sells, guest app, review optimisation, and more. The platform allows hosts to accomplish a complete digital transformation of the guest experience in hours. It integrates with the core systems of the property, allowing hoteliers to quickly start using digital solutions to automate labour work, generate more revenues, push their brand awareness, and significantly increase guest satisfaction. Wishbox is live in over 60 countries worldwide, integrated with over 70 property management systems and translated to 16 languages.