You’ve carefully selected decor to make your vacation rental warm and inviting. You’ve fluffed every pillow and dusted every nook. You’ve stocked the kitchen cabinets with all the dishes needed for feasting at home. But is that enough?
Maybe in 1995, when Vrbo (then VRBO) first came onto the scene. Today’s guest, however, expects a 21st century experience. High-speed WiFi. Bluetooth speakers for their vacation playlists. Digital door locks for easy check-in. A Nest thermostat, perhaps, for easy climate control. SmartTVs and streaming capabilities.
Shiny Welcome Tablets
Welcome tablets are increasingly part of the high-tech vacation rental package. But are they necessary?
Our view at Touch Stay: not exactly. They are nice to have, for sure, but they are also pricey, prone to breaking, and may result in “how does this thing work?!” guest phone calls.
Or guests may just end up ignoring them entirely. After all, they have likely brought their own devices, like smartphones, tablets and laptops.
One benefit of a dedicated welcome tablet is that you can pre-load it with your area tips and house instructions, which is great. Think of it as the 21st century version of the house manual, that old classic three-ring binder with a laminated cover.
But thanks to the magic of the cloud, you don’t need to provide a separate, dedicated tablet at your property anymore. You can put all the info, local recommendations and communication guests need right in the palm of their hands (literally!) before they ever arrive. And (allow us one more pun)—you can leave them to their own devices (get it?!), which they’re already familiar with and know how to use. (More on that in a minute.)
Get To Them Early
Travel, especially for leisure, starts long before the first day of vacation. The anticipation, packing, preparation and planning begins weeks, or even months, before the actual trip. This is a prime time to to be in communication with your guests so they know you aren’t leaving them out in the cold. (Is there anything worse than dropping a couple thousand dollars on a trip, and then your vacation rental host all but disappears until the day you check in?)
These early days can help set an excellent impression. Help your guests purchase attractions tickets, make dinner reservations, give your expert local recommendations, schedule transportation and explain the check-in process. You will have happy guests before they even step foot inside your vacation rental.
On the other hand, welcome tablets are only available once the guest has arrived. With digital welcome apps for guests’ own smartphones and tablets, you can offer a high-touch stay quickly and easily at all stages of the vacation rental journey— before, during, and after their trip.
Everyone Is More Comfortable With Their Own Devices
Today just about everyone has a smartphone or tablet of their own. Even the grandparents. We’re all more comfortable using our familiar tech, and this is especially true if we need to enter personal information like credit card numbers.
With Touch Stay, guests have continuous access to the information they seek, even when they’re out of the house. That’s because it will be living right in their pocket, on the smartphone they’ll likely be carrying, anyway. This is a huge plus for the guests who don’t think about where to go for dinner until 15 minutes before dinner. They can pull up the app and see your suggestions in real-time.
This is also great if you have specific or complicated access instructions that guests might forget when they go out and about for the first time on their trip.
Something Else To Break
Maintaining a vacation rental is hard work. You have enough to keep up with! A dedicated welcome tablet, unfortunately, is just another thing that can break or get stolen, and you will have to make sure that the battery is charged and stays charged before the guests get there.
With digital welcome apps like Touch Stay, there is no hardware to break or update and you’re not responsible for ensuring that guests keep their devices charged! Plus, who knows what guests will watch, do, or download on an iPad! While you can wipe a device and limit how guests use it, someone will still have to check it between stays for inappropriate content.
And When the WiFi Goes Down?
Even if WiFi goes down, your guests can still access information from services like Touch Stay by using their cellular data plan. Even smarter than that, Touch Stay is now a Progressive Web App (PWA for short). “A What?” I hear you ask!! In short, your guests won’t need WiFi or a cellular connection (hoorah, no expensive roaming fees!) because PWA technology places an app icon on their device, capable of being read offline 🚀
By the way, if you’d like some more information on what PWA technology is all about, check these out…
A 21st century vacation rental experience absolutely involves digitally presented house info and local recommendations, but there is no need to go above and beyond with an expensive, separate welcome tablet at your vacation rental. You can simply let your guests use the technology they are already comfortable with, giving them peace of mind… and a reason to come back next year.