Cofounder at UpperKey. Passionate about property management, real estate investments, proptech and driving international business growth.
The past few years introduced many challenges to the travel and hospitality industry. Yet despite how bleach it looks at times, it’s an area that’s come out fighting—and fighting fit—possibly as one of the best breakthrough markets of the past year.
As restrictions lowered, short-stay lets become a leading charge for staycationers and homeworkers, offering the space, privacy and freedom that hotels simply couldn’t match. The highest-demand properties were those in rural locations—villas and cottages for extended friends-and-family breaks as opposed to hotel apartments and suites in crowded cities. As we craved escape, spacious homes-from-home delivered the clean, green freedom that was to become the holiday du jour.
With time under our belts and social distancing fears no longer such an issue, tourists are heading back to towns and cities, but the desire for space and privacy is a trend that is sticking. Flexible schedules and work-from-home (WFH) trends allow more nomads of the working world to travel while staying connected. These factors have only increased the popularity of remote short-term environments supported by companies such as Airbnb, Booking.com and VRBO—a small selection of a market ever growing in size and value (Airbnb is currently valued at over $110 billion at the time of writing).
How PropTech Is Helping Streamline Short-Term Rentals
Our digital society expects more than ever from its suppliers, sellers and agents. With the rise of this sector, short-term letting platforms and other proptech offerings have advanced to meet the needs of not only travelers but also owners and managers, making it easier for travelers to find better-suited bargains and for operators to fill calendars with higher-rate stays. Traveltech tools from the airline industry have spilled into hotel and short-term stay management, as well, with a significant sway in optimizing profits via revenue management; and operation technology (optech) is streamlining systems with intelligent, data-driven decision-making, from location and venue demands to purchase and renter behaviors. This surge of the tech industry has led to greater efficiency of operation, which has caused more investors to take the plunge into purely build-to-let short-term rentals.
• Proptech For The Traveler
For travelers, AI and cloud technologies can make every step—from finding the ideal property to checking out—a contactless operation. People can take advantage of price and property comparisons, online bookings and seamless check-ins with digital keys as well as the digital tools we use at home. Guests now expect such as high-speed internet, voice assistant amenities, access to smart TV apps and channels, and connected lighting and heating.
• Proptech For Industry Operators
Navigating the shake-up that so much new technology has delivered can be challenging, but there are also great benefits for those who embrace the challenge. Automation throughout the entire short-let rental process can reduce physical effort for owners and managers, saving time and money. Automated bookings, digital keys, contactless check-ins and departures help onboard guests with little or no human interaction, where work and service orders allow handovers to flow with the same automated efficiency. In addition, according to a study by Cundall, operators introducing lighting, heating, damage, leak detection and a range of other smart-sensor-led features can save up to 28% in resources while protecting their investments.
Limitations And Learning Curves
As with any technological advancement, there are potential challenges to keep in mind. Redefining and restructuring an operation is a considerable overhaul, demanding extra effort from digital, managerial and operational staff during implementation. Not only should such changes bring benefits that customers want and can trust, but operators must also be convinced that those additions will be profitable in the long term—and not just for them but also for their stakeholders, investors and partners.
It’s also important to analyze how any new tech being introduced will integrate with your existing processes and platforms. Choosing the right tools that will talk to each other and create a seamless experience is imperative to getting the most savings and customer satisfaction out of new proptech installations.
The short-term rental market remains fashionable attractive to the Gen Z and Millennial markets—so much so that it’s become an area of increased interest and investment to venture capitalists and private equity investors. With more tech on the table and easier-to-operate systems, this is a healthy time for private hosts and Airbnb management companies. Long-term leases were once the only real option to ensure guaranteed rent for landlords, but this is no longer the case in key catchment areas.
This is an industry where technology is driving decision-making through in-depth analytics to the point that the breakthrough into custom-designed real estate is becoming a standard route. And why not? If the masses of data gathered each day, hour and minute aren’t going to push us into a more profitable and efficient future, then what is it there for?
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