In the near future, travellers will put extra importance on the security of vacation rentals – especially in terms of cleanliness and check-in. While you may be hibernating your vacation rental business for now, it is well worth seeking demos with providers now and standing out from your competition through vacation rental safety when short-term rental bookings resume. 

In this article, we explore professional cleaning platforms, automated check-in providers, smart-home tools, insurance and fire safety packs.

1. Vacation rental safety through professional cleaning

The housekeeping department is more crucial to property owners and guests than ever before. The coronavirus has made people astutely aware of the importance of property sanitising and disinfecting between guests. There are some excellent maintenance and vacation rental housekeeping tools available to property managers and owners, including Properly, turnoverBnB, Breezeway and Doinn. By using these companies, property managers will provide assurance about the level of cleanliness guests can expect in the homes, the more comfortable guests will be in making reservations. 

Tammi Sims, V.P. of Customer Success at Properly – a property tool allowing rental managers to implement brand standards across their operations, instruct and manage their teams on how to perform housekeeping and maintenance tasks to their standards, and get real-time data from the field- says:

“Now more than ever, we need to give guests peace of mind that the properties they rent are properly prepared and disinfected before their stay. We’ve extensively researched CDC & WHO guidelines and created a thorough cleaning and disinfection process using visual checklists that have been proven to reduce errors dramatically. During this crisis, we must leave nothing to chance. Properly provides the processes you need, the education your cleaners need, and the system of record that will ensure peace of mind for your guests and owners.”

Salvatore Percival, VP of sales at turnoverBnB, an online platform that helps vacation rental hosts with turnovers by offering hosts software to schedule cleaning, says

“Many experts believe when travel resumes following the current COVID-19 crisis, guests will make accommodation choices based primarily on safety. To combat the perception that hotels have stricter cleaning and sanitation protocols, Airbnb and its competitors will have to demonstrate to potential guests that hosts are following extensive cleaning procedures. At TurnoverBnB, we believe that technology can assist with COVID-19 Education, Documentation, Verification, and Demonstration to reduce the potential to spread infection while also positively changing the perception of safety for guests. We have just rolled out a program enforcing this among our hosts, cleaners and maintenance workers, in an effort to use technology to keep our providers safe and in business.”

Jeremy Gall, Founder and CEO of Breezeway, a mobile solution for property managers helping to coordinate cleaning and maintenance tasks, says

 “COVID-19 has blurred the lines between safety, cleanliness and quality. Guests will have heightened sensitivity when travel resumes, pushing already elevated expectations even higher. These shifting travel behaviors present an opportunity for professional managers to meet the demands of a new traveler persona and grab market share. Managers can take advantage by leveraging best-in-class technology to audit their operational processes and double-down on housekeeping protocols and remote work coordination. We’ve leveraged the experience of thousands of Breezeway users to provide tangible resources to help managers respond to COVID-19 and best position their business for success.” 

We would also suggest tweaking your marketing content to promote housekeeping excellence as it is highly likely that guests will make accommodation choices based primarily on cleanliness. For a more detailed look into top vacation rental housekeeping tools check out our previous blog.  

2. Vacation rental safety through self-check-in 

Following the coronavirus pandemic, we believe there will be a reduced amount of in-person interactions. Self-check-in options will not only be more appealing to travellers who want to keep human contact to a bare minimum but also a necessity. 

“I expect you will see more property management companies move towards automating the majority of the entire short-term rental process by using technology more and relying less on face-to-face interactions.” says Vered Schwarz, Guesty

The days of handing over keys in the middle of the night are long behind us as smart locks and automated check-in becomes integrated into our everyday. Here is a list of some smart locks providers trusted by vacation rental owners:

Operto (winner of the VrTech Award 2019) offers keyless entry solutions as well as smart homes technology, such as the thermostat and environment monitoring, noise control and CO2 analysis. Operto is available worldwide. 

Available in Portugal and Spain, HomeIt simplifies multiple-property management by providing keyless instant access for both guests and service providers by means of smart locks, as well as solutions to your existing locks. 

Available in the UK, Klevio is a smart intercom device and mobile app that allows you to open doors remotely with your phone. The app becomes your key, and it allows you to share digital codes that you can revoke at check-out.

Pointcentral offers smart home automation services, keyless entry and smart home technology. Their solutions are adapted to vacation rentals, family homes and multi-family rentals. Available throughout the USA.

Short-Term-Rental-Tech-Report-2020-Whitepaper

3. Vacation rental safety through noise control

Once the travel ban has been lifted, domestic travel is expected to pick up as people travel to reconnect with their friends and families. While it’s important for your guests to feel at home in their vacation rental, it’s equally important that they respect your property and the tranquillity of the neighbourhood (as we all know family get-togethers can be loud!!). NoiseAware and Roomonitor are non-invasive noise-monitoring devices and are an excellent way to keep noisy guests in line.

Michael Goldin, Director of Business Management at NoiseAware, noise monitor for short term rentals- says,

“You can never physically be at all your properties at once, but with reliable property technology, you can have complete oversight of your portfolio. Whether it is noise and party detection like NoiseAware protecting your properties and community from disruption, cleaning technology ensuring health and safety for guests, or automated locks safeguarding your homes, technology will become more standard for hosts in a post-COVID-19 STR world. Reliable technology will become a priority to help outsource smooth operations and keep all of your properties safe, clean, and occupied!”

4. Vacation rental safety with smart home devices

Technology is at the forefront of everything we do and unsurprisingly the world of vacation rentals is no different. An increasing number of vacation rental owners are turning to home automation and smart home technology to not only upgrade their businesses but also improve their property safety and security features. 

There are many fantastic tech options available, a couple of our favourites include: 

Minut Home is the all in one noise, motion and temperature monitoring device. The Minut Home Sensor can instantly alert you to any unexpected motion or noise, and any increases or decreases in temperature or humidity. It also has the ability to recognise other alarms, so if your smoke alarm goes off, you’ll know within seconds. You can even add your neighbours and friends to get alerts, in case you’re not nearby. This is a great little device that will protect your property. 

Amazon Echo, your virtual assistant, is a great addition to a vacation rental home, as it can act as your guests’ very own personal concierge. Read more about all the possibilities Amazon Echo offers for Vacation Rentals here.

Installing security cameras outside your property is an excellent way of securing your property and deterring crime. Nest Cam by google is a great device that continuously records what’s happening, 24/7, for up to 30 days. You can scan through your entire video history — not just clips — to see what you missed. You’ll also get alerts for things that matter, like when your Nest Cam Outdoor spots a person. 

Smart doorbells are another practical tool. Nest Hello by Google is the latest doorbell technology that lets you know who’s there, so you never miss a thing. It replaces your existing wired doorbell and delivers H.D. video day and night. It’s designed to show you everything at your doorstep — people head to toe or packages on the ground. And with 24/7 streaming, you can check in anytime. Or go back and look at a 3-hour snapshot history to see what happened.

Improving property safety and security features not only keeps property managers at ease, but it can also make for a more convenient and comfortable stay for guests.

5. Fire safety for vacation rentals

Besides making your property marketable, it’s also imperative to have procedures in place which promote guest welfare and keep them out of danger. Fires are one of the biggest risks in any home, by including a working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your property you mitigate the risk of a serious accident.

Justin Ford, Director of Safety and Certification Programs at Breezway says,

“Guests want to stay in high-quality properties, and safety is at the very core of this expectation. Safety experts at Breezeway promote fire safety as a top priority and advocate smoke detectors as one of the most important items in any vacation rental. While state and local laws vary when it comes to placement, all require one in each sleeping area. Fire extinguishers are also critical and should be mounted on a wall 3 to 5 feet off the floor for easy guest access. We’ve developed a comprehensive Short-Term Rental Safety Certification Program to help owners and managers ensure the quality and safety of vacation rental properties.”

As a property manager, you can help prevent accidental fires. Firescape has unique technology that has been developed to bring you the latest innovations in home fire safety equipment. Easy to use, lightweight, and eco-friendlier than your standard extinguishers. Firescape products are an effective and affordable way to safeguard both your guests and your properties.

6. Vacation rental insurance

Short-term rental insurance is always a worthwhile investment. No one likes being pessimistic, but bad things can and do happen (Coronavirus is a prime example). Damages, thefts and cancellations are also all common occurrences that aren’t always covered under a standard homeowners insurance. As a property owner or manager, it is well-worth protecting yourself and investing in vacation rental insurance.

Luckily there are some great insurance solutions driven by technology out there. One of these insurance innovators is SUPERHOG– they provide accessible insurance solutions specifically for the gig economy. SUPERHOG helps hundreds of homeowners and their guests share safely by delivering 24/7 on-demand insurance through their platform, with homeowners paying only for the nights they need cover. 

Leo Walton, Growth Director and Co-Founder of SUPERHOG says,

“Keeping properties and guests safe is a major concern, it’s often sighted as the biggest reason guests don’t book vacation rental homes and why hosts don’t want to list their own, so a strategy to combat risk should be front and centre. It will benefit booking conversions, offer protection to everyone and give comfort to your hosts.

Our mission is to remove the bad apples and rule-breakers from our industry, our Trust Membership Platform, combining I.D. verification & property certification with insurance to ensure hosts and homes are checked and safe, and ultimately protected if something goes wrong.

By combining verification with damage protection, we are able to guarantee bookings are entirely safe, thus removing a substantial barrier to access, and helping to ensure hosts and property managers keep more of their revenue!”

7. Incorporating your vacation rental safety policies into your marketing strategy

It has been years since Airbnb introduced the check-box “Self-check-in” and we expect that the next check-box will be “Professional Cleaning”. Look out for the many changes we expect will be introduced by the OTAs and in doubt contact your account manager at Rentals United.

Charging more cleaning will be expected if indeed your cleaning is done by a professional company so don’t hesitate to put your cleaning prices up accordingly – these are more likely to be a selling point then a deterrent. 

Your description will need to change to reflect that you put a particular emphasis on vacation rental safety and don’t forget to translate those for all the OTAs you work with. Here’s a list of OTAs we can automatically send your rentals to with automatic translations. 

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