Guest experience is one of the most important factors in getting good reviews and repeat bookings. Over the last 5 years, many property managers have trialled using vacation rental guest apps as a way to communicate and upsell services to guests during their stay. When considering using a vacation rental guest app it is important to consider the following to ensure that you get the best return on your investment.
Platform – App, Mobile Web or Hardware?
In the early days of the App Store consumers were happy to download and use any app. However, these days are long gone and consumers only download apps that have long term value (eg Facebook, Airline Apps, Google Maps etc). You will need to consider whether your guests will actually want to download an app for your vacation rental for only a short stay. In addition, the App Store is crowded so you will likely have to consider a marketing budget to ensure that guests even download the app, let alone engage with it. With this in mind, guest experience Native Apps are in decline and probably not a good option to invest in right now. Hello Here App is one of the few native app companies still active in the vacation rental industry.
A better solution than native Apps are mobile optimised sites (or web apps). These are far simpler for guests to engage with as the property manager is able to email or SMS a link and the guest simply clicks on the link to enter the web app. This solution can be effective as requires little effort from the guest. The main drawback with web apps is that the guest has to find the original link to use the web app, which involves scrolling through their inbox to find the link sent to them. This solution is better than a native app but you are still likely to get phone calls from users who cannot or will not search their inbox for the link to the app. Touchstay App & Hostfully are two companies who offer a web based app solution for vacation rental companies.
Vacation Rental Hardware (eg Tablets) have become very popular in the last 3 years. They are left out for guests and have the vacation rental guest apps pre-installed. The guest simply has to touch the tablet screen to be able to access the content – this means that all your guests can use the app and you no longer need to leave paper property guides out for your guests. YourWelcome are market leader in this sector.
What is your Goal for the Vacation Rental Apps?
Guests will only engage with any app for a very limited time. They are on vacation and do not want to spend time using a random app unless it delivers real value. Property managers need to decide their primary goal when investing in an app. There are 3 typical goals that property managers usually have when investing in an app.
i) Streamline Guest Phone Calls / Questions
In order to achieve this goal, vacation rental managers will need to ensure the App is focused on property guides (eg how the appliances work) and local area information.
ii) Upselling Services
Vacation rental apps are a great way to upsell services to your guests during their stay. The app should promote best selling services such as Late Check Out and Additional Cleaning. In order to achieve the best conversion rate, property managers need to ensure they have a seamless check out process when guests want to buy a service.
iii) Promoting Future Direct Bookings
The #BookDirect movement has gathered pace in recent years and with good reason. Any guest experience app should have the facility to promote future direct bookings. Property managers should promote offers to guests to rebook with them.
** YourWelcome – #1 Vacation Rental Guest App **
YourWelcome is a smart tablet for Vacation Rentals which is left out for guests during their stay. The tablet enables property managers to communicate and upsell services to guests during their stay. YourWelcome works with over 1,500 property managers globally and offers a free tablet device with every subscription.