Be Our Guest(y): Adapting Your Aparthotel and Boutique Hotel Business To The New Normal
To address the changing landscape of the hospitality space and provide solutions for all forms of property management, Guesty invited thought leaders from the global short-term rental ecosystem for a virtual event to help aparthotel and boutique hotel brands modernize and ultimately, grow their businesses. We discussed how hospitality brands can implement technology to automate their operations, achieve peak productivity, and scale smartly as travel patterns worldwide continue to fluctuate.
Our very own Omer Rabin (Managing Director, Americas) shared the stage with an all-star panel of industry experts — including James Foice, CEO of The Association of Serviced Apartment Providers (ASAP); Vanessa Gomez, Short-Term Specialist of Edgewater One Realty; Luka Berger, Founder & CEO of Flexkeeping; and Omri Cohen, VP Product of Guesty — to address the pain points commonly associated with aparthotel management, discuss the solutions that can play a major role in streamlining operations, and share trends emerging from the multi-unit sector.
Kicking off the event, Omer shared the latest holiday trends and data that Guesty has collected from reservations across multiple booking channels, including Airbnb and Booking.com. Although right now we are seeing a decrease in global bookings for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve compared to the same time last year, short-term rental hosts should prepare themselves for an influx in holiday reservations as travelers continue to book last-minute stays. Omer also revealed that those who are planning to travel are booking longer stays, with a higher average nightly rate compared to last year.
Omri then shared Guesty’s new suite of features that support aparthotel and boutique hotel management. He introduced some of the tools that are beneficial to multi-unit property managers right now, such as our revenue management tools to fill occupancy gaps, centralized reservation system to manage overbookings, pre-stay guest communication tools, channel manager to seamlessly integrate with industry-leading distribution channels and much more – all of which provide hospitality brands with the added support they need to thrive in the new normal.
James then shared how ASAP is shaping the community of serviced apartments to be a credible alternative to conventional accommodation by establishing health and safety benchmark standards within this space. For instance, the association recently launched the ISAAP program, which assures a common set of quality and safety standards that have been achieved by serviced apartment providers. He then showcased some of the common trends that have emerged from the aparthotel and serviced apartment sectors as a result of COVID-19, and recommended recovery strategies such as catering to new markets and adhering to the World Health Organization cleaning protocols.
Vanessa then took the stage to share how Edgewater One, a short-term management company based in South Florida that manages over 330 listings, has been able to attract new traveler personas and boost revenue through COVID-19. They began offering new sanitization stations in all their properties and pivoted their marketing approach to promote their listings as self-isolation havens. She went on to explain how leveraging Guesty’s multi-unit features has helped them achieve organizational efficiency and improve productivity despite the pandemic: the company was able to hit record high results and increase their overall reservation volume by 20% in the first 30 days of using our automation tools.
Lastly, based on his experience servicing top hotels around the world with his staff management and hotel operations platform, Flexkeeping, Luka provided tech solutions for aparthotel owners to digitize their operations and manage their cleaning and maintenance staff more efficiently. He suggested that aparthotel and boutique hotel owners can streamline their operations by using a digital communication channel along with automation tools for scheduling cleanings and tracking daily tasks. He then encouraged our audience to collect data and measure at least 6 KPIs for evaluating business performance – such as tracking in-unit amenities usage and understanding consumer behavior of guests to make better and more cost-effective business decisions.
Following the presentations, we addressed questions that had been submitted by our audience in a Q&A session. Here are some highlights (edited for clarity):
Q: What do you think is the biggest change the aparthotel & boutique hotel industry has gone through during COVID-19?
James (ASAP): Accommodation providers in our industry have needed to be flexible to welcome different clients that they normally wouldn’t have catered to before. This need for flexibility to meet new demands has been the biggest change we noticed.
Vanessa (Edgewater One): Consumer behavior has changed tremendously as now travelers are looking for home-away-from-homes over traditional hotel stays.
Luka (Flexkeeping): Hospitality has become more flexible as businesses began to scale their operations to adapt to the current market.
Omri (Guesty): The biggest trend for the aparthotel & boutique hotel sector is the rise in last-minute bookings.
Q: What are you optimistic about for the aparthotel & boutique hotel industry in 2021?
Omri (Guesty): With the growing traction from domestic travel and the benefits the short-term rental industry has over traditional accommodation, there’s a huge opportunity for customers to reap the advantages of alternative accommodation options when traveling.
Luka (Flexkeeping): I’m looking forward to the future, as the pandemic has forced our industry to modernize, become more agile and utilize technology to better prepare us for what lies ahead.
Vanessa (Edgewater One): Travel will pick up again as more people will work remotely and look for places to stay that can accommodate their needs – this will be key for our industry in the year to come.
James (ASAP): Now that a vaccine has been announced this week, I’m confident that travel will bounce back!
Q: What is the first action item our audience should add to their “to-do” list following this meetup?
Omri (Guesty): Stay optimistic about the future of travel, and adapt your revenue management strategies to the fluctuating shifts in the market.
Vanessa (Edgewater One): Get together with your team and brainstorm new ideas that will allow you to stand out. I also recommend that you take advantage of Guesty’s multi-unit features because that has been a game changer for us!
James (ASAP): Collaborate with organizations and fellow industry professionals from this space to work towards a common goal and share best practices during this time.
To learn more about our newly launched features and hear from our users on how this tech has helped them better manage their aparthotel and boutique hotel business, check out our new Aparthotel page on our website! Thank you everyone for joining and we look forward to seeing you at our upcoming events!