Pro Tips

Best Smart Home Tech For Vacation Rentals: Why Every Property Manager Needs A Virtual Front Desk

February 02, 2021 |

This is a guest post by Jeff Letendre, CEO of Virtual Front Desk, an all-in-one solution for remote reception operations 

Rethinking The Traditional Front Desk

Nearly all hoteliers place guest reception at the center of their customer service experience, and rightfully so. Aside from the obvious security and fraud protection, it is an investment worth making for many good reasons.

When booking a reservation, guests are not only buying a room but an overall experience and most customers enjoy the personalized process of being welcomed upon arrival. Guests expect a comfortable bed to sleep in at night, but the added perk of pampering them and paying them extra attention will only score you better reviews and repeat customers. 

After all, for most, a night at a hotel is a treat, an experience taking them out of the ordinary and from their daily routine. And not to mention, traveling in foreign cities or countries, guests usually have many questions. When they arrive at the hotel, the front desk staff is often their first point of contact, it’s a natural place to get extra information about their stay.

However, with COVID-19 causing us to limit human interaction as much as possible, coupled with rising guest expectations for tech-forward and seamless stays, we’ve seen more demand for self-check-in stations, especially among corporate travelers who prefer convenience. 

Whether in person or not, for hoteliers around the world, guest reception adds value to their brand, increasing customer satisfaction ultimately leads to loyalty.

How Technology Has Changed Vacation Rentals

So what about the property management or vacation rentals industry? If receptions are worth the investment for hoteliers, shouldn’t it be the same for property management companies? After all, they are too, offering a hospitality experience.

Well, the answer is yes, but there are two major roadblocks in the way: the lack of a physical space for a counter and the cost attached to staff it.

The average hotel has anything between 35 and 150 rooms located in the same building while most vacation rental hosts have only one or a few dozen properties scattered across several addresses. This makes it physically impossible for them to have a front desk for each door and the cost of staffing those would make no sense financially.

But thanks to smart home tech for vacation rentals, those roadblocks are now all but lifted with the arrival of what we call: video or virtual receptions.

By having a simple touch screen computer easily visible in a building entrance or hallway, you eliminate the need for a reception area. By doing this, you can assist with virtual check-ins almost as if you were standing behind a physical desk.

Greeting guests face to face, taking IDs, signing documents, taking payments, providing door codes or encoding RFID cards can all be done remotely, opening up a whole world of possibilities.

Regarding on-site receptionists, a video reception can be serviced from anywhere in the world. It removes the need to pay someone to physically wait at a given address and allows for centralized services. Which in turn, facilitates training and management of human resources. 

Secure Your Vacation Rental With Smart Technology

A virtual front desk also reduces fraud and enhances security by verifying IDs.  Above all, it allows hosts to provide a key service they were not able to offer before. It is a new competitive advantage to be considered for those wanting to professionalize their operations. It is also worth noting that it is a great contact-free tool for property management in the COVID-19 era. 

Virtual or video front desks are now an intricate part of the vacation rental-tech ecosystem.  Just like smart locks not too long ago, it is the new must-have technology gadgets for your short term rentals.

Want more ways to manage better? Check out Guesty’s rapidly expanding Marketplace to see what third-party solutions you can integrate with to save time, enhance your guests’ experience and streamline every aspect of your property management business. 

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