Business travelers are the type of customer that everyone in the hospitality industry wants to attract. They tend to be wealthier so they spend more money and bring business to the surrounding area, but most importantly: they are often repeat guests! For decades it was a given that business travelers would stay in hotels, but the fact that Airbnb has recently launched a business travel program signals that times have changed. Here are some tips to help property managers capitalize on this excellent and still mostly untapped opportunity.
The number 1, number 1, number 1 tip, it cannot be emphasized enough, is to offer FREE! and FAST! wifi. Business travelers cannot live without this. They most certainly did not come here to “disconnect” so make sure this is something that you offer and advertise to them. In addition to free internet, make sure your property has a comfortable and functional work space. A copier, scanner and/or fax machine as well as a good desk and stationery will give business travelers less reasons to book a hotel over your rental. Extension cords, power strips and universal chargers are also essential to a successful business trip.
Racking up so many airline miles, leaves little time for actually running miles. Consider having an exercise machine in your property for guests to use. A yoga mat, workout videos, weights and/or an exercise ball are versatile alternatives that are just as effective. It’s also a good idea to make healthy eating at the house an easy option for your guest. Natural juice makers or blenders for smoothies, steamers, fruit slicers and vegetable choppers, all make it appealing and fun for the constantly-strapped-for-time business traveler to cook up healthy meals.
Now that you have your guests feeling good, make sure that they are looking good as well. These business travelers will surely have meetings, presentations, dinners, and so many occasions where they will need to look as sharp as possible. Make sure your property has at least one, big, full length mirror; more is better. There should also be a hair dryer, an iron, a steam cleaner, and suit hangers.
Get in touch with a couple of friendly, local and reliable drivers that can provide your guests with airport pickups and other transportation needs. Make sure your guests have their contact information even before they arrive. Try to find drivers of all calibers, from fancy to budget-friendly, in order to fit your guest’s needs AKA their company’s travel budget. However, if it is financially feasible for you, offering free airport pickups is a huge plus for every class of business traveler.
Once you have found these go-to taxi drivers, connect with your inner taxi driver, and get to know your vacation rental city better than anyone. Find out where the best places are to go to dinner, to get some drinks, to do your dry cleaning. Providing your business traveler guest with the knowledge only a local would have, can prove to be of great value. It’s possible that the amazing jazz bar you recommended becomes the backdrop to the signing of the contract your guest has been working on for years!
It is imperative, and strategic, to make the exact location of your property known in relation to relevant business centers and landmarks. If your property is close to these places where most business travelers go to then it can be a HUGE selling point. However, streets and intersections are not enough; be more specific in your description and include walking or driving times, because business travelers know, more than anyone, the significance of the saying “time is money.”
In addition to location, your description should highlight a fast, easy and flexible check-in and check out process. It’s possible that they would like to check-in quite early and only have 10 minutes to change before their first meeting. It’s important that this be something that your guest can easily arrange. Business travelers require flexibility and the more flexible you are, the more they like you!
Consider focusing on a target business traveller. Thoroughly research your city’s top industries and gear your marketing towards them. Maybe your city is big into fashion, or energy, whatever it is, know it and connect it with the product you are offering. It will prove that you know who your guest is and that you can more effectively cater to their needs.
We all know that hotel beds are the best thing hotels have to offer, but no one says that your vacation rental home can’t offer the same! Invest in a great mattress by keeping your eye out for sales and looking online. Turn the master bed into a sanctuary after a long days of work by decking it out with high quality sheets, lots of fluffy pillows and soft blankets. Looking at hotel catalogues is a great way to get ideas for this.
Vacation rental owners and property managers have endless possibilities tapping into the business travel market right now. Business travelers are demanding more variety in accommodation options and the supply is evidently out there. Hopefully these tips have shown you that attracting business travelers to your vacation rental is very doable and can lead to great returns. Always remember, not all who wander are lost, in fact, many who wander are on a business trip and need an awesome place to stay!