The entire country is taking a timeout from real life to follow the hunkering-down, stay-at-home orders, as the government tries to limit the spread of Coronavirus. As a result, traditional spring break vacations have been postponed or canceled. But once this pandemic has passed, many people will be eager to celebrate with a vacation.
That means that real property investors with vacation rentals can expect to be busy. After all, the vacation rental market in this country had revenues of over $17 billion dollars last year and that number is expected to grow to $19.5 billion over the next three years.
This lock-down period is a great time to review the amenities in your vacation rental properties and invest in whatever it takes to make your listings stand out. This can include cleaning, renovating and installing smart home technology.
Prep Is More Than Just Cleaning
Couples and families searching for a great vacation rental have more than a few choices. That’s why it’s important to make sure that yours is spiffed up and looking its best as summer approaches. Of course, you’ll need to clean the place thoroughly, or, even better, hire a professional to scrub and polish, making the place sparkle. You might consider getting the exterior cleaned as well, or rent a power washer to scrub down the siding and patio yourself. Keeping up the outdoor space is just as important as interior design.
But prepping that rental means more than just getting it clean inside and out. It’s also important to organize any needed repairs and renovations. A kitchen remodel deserves one of the top slots on the list. A good kitchen remodel makes your vacation rental photos more appealing.
This is important since kitchens are a big reason people choose vacation homes over hotels. A TripAdvisor survey found that 83 percent of respondents reported that the biggest cost savings in renting a home rather than a hotel was the ability to cook. And a renovated kitchen ups the sales value of your property down the road.
In addition, you’ll want to consider some smart home upgrades. These don’t cost a fortune but can really add allure to your rental.
Upgrades That Pay Their Own Way
Even if you think of smart technology as a trendy luxury, it’s a good bet your renters won’t. Many of them are likely to have smart tech in their own homes and want a vacation rental with the same protections and conveniences. Home automation can also improve the safety of your guests and the property itself. Now’s the time to research the upgrades that will pay their own way by attracting and pleasing summer guests.
What to consider? Here’s a shortlist of must-have amenities. Arrange to install them now to compete in 2020.
- Smart Locks
Safe, secure and painless, smart locks provide a keyless entry system to a vacation house. With a smart lock, guests come and go without having to search for keys. This is convenient for everyone as it means guests don’t have to make a stop at management to pick up a key on the way to the rental.
- Video Doorbells
Video doorbells have been surging popularity and Alarm.com has an integration with Skybell. These doorbells with video cameras installed allow you to see from your smartphone when anyone approaches. And, you can even speak to them. You can greet your guests remotely, note whether more guests arrive than were scheduled and also monitor for guests throwing large, loud parties.
- Virtual Assistant
Remember when people made jokes about Alexa? Now an NPR and Edison Research report tells us that the use of smart speakers (aka visual assistants) like Amazon Alexa or Google Home increased by 78% in the U.S. in one year. Installing a smart speaker product assists guests by acting as their private concierge. Just program information guests can access by voice request.
- Smart Lighting
Turning off or dimming lights via smartphone is a boon, allowing you and your guests to easily turn lights on and off via a smartphone. And you can customize these types of smart lighting systems to meet your needs, such as configuring them to turn off lights when the guests leave the house.
- Smart Thermostat
Another convenient amenity is the smart thermostat, a device that saves both energy and money. A property manager controls this remotely and can create set points to regulate the temperature while the unit is occupied and during vacancies.
- Smart Locks
These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to smart devices that work well in vacation home rentals. Whatever you choose, you will improve the security of your rental and make life more convenient and comfortable for your guests. You will also benefit since smart technology allows streamlined guest turnover and keeps down energy use.