When the pandemic hit and effectively shut down much of the nation, it seemed clear that no one would be going on vacation anytime soon. But after several months of quarantine, many parts of the country are slowly opening—and people are ready to get away.
Earlier this year, 53% of people had scheduled a summer vacation, with the majority planning to drive to their destinations, according to a survey by the Out of Home Advertising Association of America. Most vacationers aimed to avoid big cities and instead visited beaches and rural areas, according to a report from Destination Analysts.
The rebound in vacation planning has mostly been good, but risks still remain for both short-term renters and property managers. In light of the ongoing pandemic, property managers must go out of their way to reassure customers that their properties are clean and safe.
While cleanliness has always been an important factor in rental properties, people want to feel that property owners are doing more than dusting the surfaces. They want to know what protocols have been implemented to protect them from COVID-19. While a thorough disinfection process can help tenants feel safer and more at ease, it’s not the only action property managers should take to protect their properties.
Several steps can help reassure visitors even beyond the pandemic. Here are four technologies—and one more straightforward suggestion—to ensure everyone feels protected:
- Keyless entry. Smart-home technologies that allow for keyless entry remove a shared point of contact—the key—and allow guests and staff members to enter residences without the need for in-person interactions. Direct-to-home check-ins are safer options that also happen to be more convenient for renters and managers.
- Smart thermostats. Smart thermostats digitally alert managers and renters of any heating or cooling issues, allowing maintenance to be scheduled and taken care of while guests are away. Managers can also run their HVAC systems remotely before renters arrive to make the space more comfortable, or they can flush air through a high-grade filter, adding another element of cleanliness.
- Property operations dashboards. If you’re using a property automation platform, dashboards can help track the cleaning process—a crucial part of keeping renters safe. These tools can notify the cleaning staff as soon as guests check out, which allows them to clean immediately without the risk of coming into contact with renters. As a bonus, this means subsequent guests can check in early.
- Smart security systems. Smart cameras and security systems can not only ensure the safety of renters but also continuously monitor properties during the offseason. Modern smart security systems provide more features than just cameras: They offer motion detectors and contact sensors that can recognize open windows and other potential vulnerabilities.
- Proper PPE. While it’s less tech-focused than the rest of this list, personal protective equipment is indispensable. Make sure you have enough PPE available for your cleaning staff, and equip them with cleaning supplies proven to kill the coronavirus. You need to be able to say with confidence that you’re doing everything you can to keep renters safe, regardless of how much technology you employ.
The Vacation Rental Housekeeping Professionals and the Vacation Rental Management Association have released more rigorous cleaning protocols in response to COVID-19. These guides offer great starting points for taking care of your property.
While COVID-19 has put safety concerns in the spotlight, keeping short-term rental properties safe and clean should be a permanent priority. These features always drive guest enjoyment and provide added peace of mind. By using technology to create safer and cleaner rental properties, you’re taking care of the people who make your business possible— and doing your part to stop the spread of the virus.