Preparing Your Rentals for Travelers Aged 50+ this Fall & Winter
COVID-19 has made booking a vacation this fall and winter particularly stressful. And for travelers that fall into a higher age bracket, planning their next getaway can be especially nerve-racking considering the World Health Organization notes that individuals over the age of 60 with underlying health conditions are at a higher risk for contracting COVID-19.
While isolation and social-distancing are key for this demographic, it is still possible to effectively promote and prepare your properties to satisfy these travelers’ needs; especially, since many experts consider short-term rentals safer than hotels right now due to their inherent contact-free nature.
Below we have compiled a list of tips and resources to help property management companies make their properties more safe and suitable for high-risk travelers in the new normal.
Promote Your Contact-Free Environment
In order for property management companies to appeal to travelers 50+, they must focus on creating a contact-free environment. In fact, the contact-free experience should begin even before they book as what guests see on your website (i.e.: the efforts you’re taking to reduce human contact) is key to driving business and securing reservations.
Our suggestion: adjust your listing descriptions to reflect any efforts you’re making to keep your properties sanitized and to limit staff and host, and host and guest, interactions. Also make sure to remove or amend any items that may be off-putting to guests right now. Instead of offering a breakfast buffet or shared pool, promote contact-free, delivered breakfast to the guests’ door or a private hot tub. If you’ve earned a cleaning certificate or badge from an accredited program, like that offered by Airbnb, highlight this.
While some hosts may already be using technology to limit human interaction, we’ll increasingly see these standards become the new norm after COVID-19. We predict that hosts that offer contactless stays will outperform those still relying on traditional processes. Property management companies can integrate with a variety of tech tools to meet this increasing guest expectation, such as those found in Guesty’s vetted ecosystem of Marketplace partners, from self check-in and check-out tools and keyless entry services, to tech to manage cleaning staff remotely and automated messaging tools including Whatsapp.
Enforce Stringent Cleaning Procedures
Besides updating listing descriptions to highlight increased cleaning standards, property management companies should revamp their cleaning, staff, and guest procedures. In fact, hosts have caught on to heightened guest sensitivity, especially those at high-risk. In a survey Guesty conducted of nearly 400 property management companies worldwide on the state of the short-term rental ecosystem amid COVID-19, 60% of respondents reported following more stringent cleaning protocols.
Those who are looking to host guests aged 50+ should be implementing buffers of 24-72 hours between stays, implementing policies on masks as well as health screenings for guests and staff, and frequent sanitization of common areas and high touch surfaces.
Stock Up On In-Property Amenities
To make sure guests staying with you are comfortable for longer periods of time, make sure to stock up on amenities to keep them happy and occupied.
When hosting older guests, we suggest providing alternate forms of entertainment in-property so having to avoid outdoor experiences in your city that they normally would have enjoyed on vacation pre-pandemic, doesn’t seem like such a loss. Leave them a selection of books and games, access to Apple TV or Netflix, and even a yoga mat and exercise equipment to keep them active and content. If your property has a backyard, provide lawn chairs so they can spend some time outdoors.
You can also take the opportunity to work with local businesses and incorporate their services into your business. Suggest food delivery from top local restaurants, grocery delivery, upsell at-home ceramic kits created by a local crafts store, offer live-streamed personal training sessions, and note where to find virtual concerts or museum tours online.
Keeping an extra stock of toilet paper, masks, and hand sanitizer will also go a long way in showing your guests that your property management company values their health and safety at this time.
Offer Flexible Cancellation Policies
It is important that your property management company provides flexible cancellation policies for all guests; however, this may be especially appealing for those aged 50+. With fluctuating travel restrictions and amplified concern over their health, these travelers may have to suddenly cancel or delay travel plans. If they see that you won’t penalize them for circumstances outside of their control, they may be more willing to book with you over others.
Hosts are implementing flexible cancellation policies to remain competitive. In fact, 22% of respondents to our survey noted this has been the most helpful strategy for achieving business stability during COVID-19. Once you’ve made changes to your cancellation policies, make it very clear across all listings descriptions.
Keep Health and Safety Top of Mind
Amid COVID-19, the health and safety of your guests must remain a top priority. This is especially true when hosting those 50+, who are at a higher risk than others you might be hosting at this time. In times of uncertainty, ensuring that your guests have safe rental property accommodation will help decrease their stress of planning an upcoming trip, and increase your chances for more bookings.
For more useful tips on how to address cleaning procedures in the new normal and prepare your rentals for fall and winter travel, check out our Coronavirus Infocenter.