The Three Ps of Brand Standards: People, Process & Promise
This is a guest post by Ben Firn, Director of Marketing at Breezeway. Breezeway helps short-term rental and hospitality operators coordinate, communicate, and verify detailed work at properties, so they can deliver the best service experience.
Property operations has been propelled to the forefront of hospitality, increasing the focus and importance of maintaining quality vacation rental properties. Travelers expect the perfect experience when they stay at a short-term rental property, and there is a very slim margin for error. There are also fewer opportunities to impress your guests with face-to-face interactions (contactless check-in is more popular), making it all-the-more critical for your team to be aligned on company brand and service standards. Here are three Ps of brand standards that you can use to wow your guests and showcase your brand.
People: Hire and train the right staff
The age-old debate: do you hire internal staff or contract workers? There is no right or wrong answer, because deciding how to staff your team is unique to each business. It’s important to consider what the core value of your business is and what services are essential to your brand. Leveraging internal staff gives you more control over prescriptive brand guidance and how/when work gets done, whereas leaning on external staff allows you to support increased workload during peak months.
Once you’ve staffed your team, continuing training and education is essential to keeping your properties at an elevated standard. While it’s up to each manager to develop and communicate brand standards (which will differ based on company values, location, property types, and many more variables), it ultimately comes down to your staff actually doing quality work. This is why conducting ongoing training and property walk-throughs is so imperative.
Providing positive reinforcement also goes a long way with aligning and motivating staff. Taking the time to make operations fun and show the team that you appreciate and recognize their work, is an important part of driving a high-functioning team. One way to do that is to reinforce that their work is valuable by sharing guest ratings, cleanliness scores, and task times. This can help build strong relationships with your staff and protect against burnout.
Process: Automate workflows and reduce manual work
Regardless of your decision on internal versus external staff, getting work done efficiently and effectively is key to running a smooth operation. Automating how you assign tasks can save hours of time each week shuffling things around, and better yet, you can put property and scheduling data to work and give the right jobs to the right people and at the right time.
What about actually getting work done at each property? Every rental property is unique, so knowing exactly what to clean and inspect at each property is imperative to high-quality property care. That’s why 60% of managers we surveyed are customizing their cleaning checklists for each property and equipping their staff with digital checklists. Doing so gives prescriptive brand guidance on exactly how to execute specific tasks, all while holding staff accountable for completing each job.
Your property care process doesn’t stop at providing a great experience to guests, it’s important to cater to clients’ needs as well. Sharing work with clients can help foster healthier relationships, build trust, and provide more transparency into how assets are (and will be) managed. 46% of managers find communicating service value to owners a challenge, and only 32% of managers are actually sharing detailed property reports to clients. Luckily, automated reporting can help bridge that gap in communication with owners without requiring any additional work from managers.
Promise: Deliver on your brand and exceed expectations
While guests don’t think about your people or your process, they do expect professionalism to be reflected in the quality of their stay. So, delivering on your brand promise means going above and beyond — from delivering a great first impression when they walk through the door, to facilitating an amazing experience during (and after) their stay. One of the best ways to ensure memorable guest experiences is through purposeful communication (something which 66% of managers plan on doing to differentiate their brand in 2021).
Technology like Breezeway’s software and mobile apps can help your property care teams execute on the Three Ps, reach out to guests proactively and let them know you’re a resource during their stay, which will elevate your brand and deliver better guest services. This sets the stage to deliver more personalized service, like sharing tips on what to do in the area or offering in-stay cleans or stay extensions. These small steps can be the difference between an acceptable stay and an exceptional experience.