Vacation rentals managed to capitalise on their current market share by offering experiences rather than amenities. They have been able to give people the chance to stay in remarkable and individual properties that allow guests to enjoy a stay on their own terms. This worked so well that many managers have not yet had to consider what else they can do. The next question is whether vacation rentals can start to offer the level of service that traditional holiday accommodation offer. Is there an option for vacation rentals to consider a concierge service for their properties?
Whether a dedicated service or an online feature, there is the chance to offer a brand new dimension to your business with a concierge. For larger businesses, with lots of properties in one city or location providing a concierge that all guests can contact with questions and requests could be the extra touch that helps convert bookings. You can decide on the level of service offered. It could just be a question and answer service, providing local knowledge and recommendations. Or, if you want, you could provide the sort of concierge that can bring a brandy glass, filled with 1000 brown M&Ms to an apartment in Sri Lanka at 3am. You have the choice. The only thing to consider is that a large number of leisure travellers don’t even consider vacation rentals as an option because they don’t offer this kind of exacting service.
Airbnb are currently beta-testing an online service, at the moment available in San Francisco that uses the power of the local community to provide unique and insightful advice and recommendations for guests staying in the city. Harnessing the knowledge of the community is a key part of this section of the industry and Airbnb have used it to their advantage. There is an underlying assumption that vacation rentals leave their guests all at sea in a new town. There is no-one to ask about the local area and how can you enjoy your holiday if you don’t know where to go. Hotels have staff, organised tours and years of experience in the area. They make a living in making sure their guests have a good time, in a rental property you are on your own. There is definitely a market for this extra service but you will have to decide if you are willing to be one of the pioneers. You don’t have to be on hand 24/7 to do this but if you can highlight that you do offer some level service then you may see a whole new section of bookings.
One Spanish hotelier thinks there is an opportunity for hotels and vacation rentals to work together to provide a middle ground in the Venn diagram between holiday rentals and high-quality hotels. Vacation rentals are partnering with these hotels to offer their guests use of the facilities in selected hotels. It gives guests a choice of which of the services to use and charges them accordingly. Do you think this sort of partnership could become widespread?
The travel industry seems to be moving towards providing guests with as many options as possible but only charging for the parts they want. They are no longer bound by package deals or one agent deciding all elements of their trip. There are also dedicated apps that can provide concierge services. What seems clear is that people want to tailor their holidays to their specific needs.
Do you think your business would benefit from a concierge service? Are you ready to take the plunge?