Kid-Tested, Parent-Approved: How to Make Your Short-Term Rentals Family-Friendly During COVID-19
Baby steps any property management company can take to bring their business to new heights
The ABCs of Moms, Dads, and Babies in the Rental Industry
Many property management companies tailor their listings to appeal to specific types of travelers, be it business commuters, honeymooners, backpackers, students or any of the hundreds of guests who prefer short-term rentals to traditional hotel accommodations.
But, wherever you may have found your niche, if it’s profit you’re after, you may want to consider opening your doors to traveling families during this transforming COVID-19 travel period.
Families across the United States spend over $150 billion on travel per year, with 79% of US parents planning to vacation with their children in the next two years – and that number is only expected to grow. Especially during the midst of COVID-19, families are looking for new methods of travel and “staycationing” that are close to home. But despite the increasing enthusiasm around family travel, 89% of Americans are stressed about planning family vacations, with much of that anxiety stemming from finding clean, suitable accommodations.
Enter short-term rentals. Their capability to meet the needs of families – whether it’s due to fully capable kitchens or the privacy short-term rentals offer – and their compatibility with a travel community that prefers two to five night vacations, makes this accommodation type an ideal answer for vacationing families.
But property management companies might be less inclined.
We get it. Children are…unpredictable. And opening your doors to families can cause some concern for well-established businesses. Though the thought of kids running around in your precious properties may bring up some concerns, adapting your listings to accommodate families is more than just a solution to their problems – it’s a strategic business move.
Kid & Coe is a great example of an OTA capitalizing on the needs of traveling families, and reaping all the benefits. The company has seen success matching families with prospective vacation rentals, with more than 10,000 nights booked acoss 1,000 locations worldwide. Especially while many family-friendly attractions remain closed during the pandemic, Kid & Coe helps create itineraries that will keep your kids entertained. Kid & Coe fills a gap in the short-term rental market, one that any property management company can also take advantage of.
Need more convincing? Rentals that cater to families might also attract fewer guests that are looking to break rules. Enthusiastic college students or bachelors staying in your property can cause serious damage. In fact, vacation rental house parties have caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage in the last 10 years resulting in tech solutions to help combat such scenarios.
And if we haven’t sold you by now, increased search engine visibility and traffic to your website are even more added benefits of making your properties family-friendly. By specifically catering to these types of travelers, you can market your brand to a broader audience and reach more potential guests, ultimately resulting in higher occupancy rates and more revenue.
Six Baby Steps to Transition to Family-Friendly Rentals
Making your properties family-friendly is a major advantage that doesn’t require a serious investment. Here are some practical tips to help you transform your rentals into realistic options for traveling families during the pandemic.
Invest in kid-friendly amenities
Invest in some kid-friendly amenities that would be beneficial to anyone traveling with a baby or small child. This small effort can have a big impact on parents scouring listing descriptions in search of a rental that can meet their needs. Here are some add-ons to consider purchasing:
Don’t be afraid to partner with family-friendly tech solutions
There are many tools and companies available to help you accommodate traveling families. Guesty’s Marketplace partner BabyQuip provides an online platform from which guests can easily rent baby gear, from cribs to car seats and much more. Everything is shipped and waiting for them upon arrival.
Other potential partners, such as Care.com and Vacation Nannies UK, offer babysitter and nanny services on demand all over the world, to families who may need an extra hand. In addition, chef services, like Table at Home, which works with Airbnb and VRBO properties, can meet your guests’ specific dining and dietary needs. We also recommend partnering with local food delivery services, as some parents prefer to dine in, in order to prevent exposure of their family to the virus.
When it comes to traveling with children, parents rank safety as priority number one, which means they’ll be looking for rental properties advertised as childproofed and secure. There are many steps you can take to make sure your properties are indeed just that – start with the basics:
- Remove any fragile or sharp objects from rentals before families arrive
- Protect sharp corners with plastic or rubber covers
- Make sure any cleaning products are out of reach
- Tidy up any loose cables and wires
- Secure large and heavy furniture (such as TVs and bookshelves) to the walls
- Remove any small objects that pose a choking hazard
- Put plastic covers over electrical outlets
- Install safety locks on the windows
- If your property has a pool, make sure you have proper fencing and locks installed around it; in off-seasons, make sure the pool has a sturdy cover
Ride the smart security wave
Boasting that your property management company works with various alert and security systems will also gain the attention of parents seeking safe places to stay. Smart and automated security systems will earn you extra brownie points with any parents.
Point Central offers a wide array of security features, including encrypted keyless entry and smart exterior cameras. Other smart security sensors, like alerts for leaking pipes or ringing smoke detectors, will help guests feel safe so they can relax and focus their energies on having a good time. Any of these devices will have the families on your property sleeping better at night. Parents love these touchless security features, especially during the pandemic, to avoid any unnecessary contact with high-touch items.
If you are looking to invest in some smart security for your own peace of mind, tools like NoiseAware and Roomonitor enable property management companies to remotely monitor and detect noise levels, notifying you if decibel levels reach a level that could disturb your neighbors.
Make travel convenient again
Travel schedules are often unpredictable, especially with the sudden diaper change or pit stop for snacks. Instead of requiring your guests to be at a certain place at a certain time, implement a key exchange or keyless entry solution that empower families to let themselves into your properties whenever they manage to arrive. Keyless entry solutions are also a smart move to provide an even safer guest environment during the pandemic. Guesty Marketplace partners who provide such solutions include KeyNest, Sharebox, Lynx, Vikey, Operto, and RemoteLock, all of which allow you to skip the hassle of key exchanges and provide guests with greater flexibility.
And who can forget the common, sometimes sadly comical scene, of traveling parents struggling with tons of luggage at the airport? One of the best ways to undoubtedly enhance their experience is by completely taking away the stress of travelling with bags. Luggage storage solutions, like BagsAway, Luggage Hero and Stasher, provide guests the ability to hang out a little before check-in or after check-out, by dropping off their bags. Luggage shipping solutions like Lugless, means parents can travel to their destinations bag-free with their luggage waiting for them at a defined pick-up point, so they don’t have to schlep all their stuff through the airport while also keeping an eye on their children.
Give them the lay of the land
Travelers with children will appreciate kid-friendly restaurants, tours and activity recommendations. While many attractions may still be closed due to COVID-19, we encourage you to recommend safe, socially-distanced activities that families will enjoy. You know the area better than they do, so provide your guests with some useful local intel ahead of arrival.
In fact, tools like Unwrapped, Wishbox, and YourWelcome, which leverage data and local insider tips to create a guide personalized for your property and the guests visiting, are partners you can lean on when providing local suggestions.
Take Care of Your Growing Business with Guesty
Overwhelmed at the thought of revamping your property management company to be more family friendly? You don’t have to do it alone!
Centralize all your new family-friendly tools via the Guesty platform, an end-to-end solution designed to simplify and automate the complex operational needs of property management companies. With Guesty, users can sync with external tools like some of the ones mentioned in this guide, manage listings from multiple online travel agencies such as Airbnb, Booking.com, Vrbo, TripAdvisor and more, as well as utilize the company’s guest-centric tools including: Unified Inbox, Automation Tools, 24/7 Guest Communication Services, Payment Processing and more.