self check in

Self check-in for vacation rental

Self check-in vs warm welcome

Something you should consider when planning a vacation rental activity is how to organize check-in. In the past we always considered “warm welcome” the best option, a mixed of tips and experiences that contributed to “live like a local” imagination. 

But things have changed. 

COVID 19 just accelerated a change of perspective, from “can’t wait to see you in person” to “I want to be free to come at anytime and possibly save 1 hour checking-in and not paying attention to host advices”.

So let’s try to understand if self check-in is good for you and for the guest.

Self check in for hosts: factors to consider

If you love the original attitude of “sharing economy” in tourism (knowing people from all over the world) I can understand how you feel: skeptical. You love to exchange your local knowledge with tourists, say hello, how was your day…but changing your perspective, do all tourists love to have contact in person with hosts?

Probably not, so again let’s consider the first factor: we want to maximize possibilities to have customers. 

First question: is your property suitable for self check-in? If it’s an independent property probably you can consider different solutions: safety box with code and keys inside, tech solution via App…

If you have an apartment sharing entrance with different owners, you should find the right solution and ask for approvals. The good news is that many service companies have now this self check-in option available and with good efficiency. If you are in a big city you can also consider the option to use a pick-up point for keys.

But why should you use self check-in?

To save time and money (you probably know how many hours you spent waiting for a guest) and to improve guests experience, giving them more flexibility. No more “delay anxiety” for them!

Cons: you should improve your communication path, especially requesting documents before check-in and giving them clear instructions for the house and the area. 

What about the “guest experience?”

As you can see in the examples we tested a safety box at the entrance of a Villa in Lake Como. Guests have to park in front, use a 4 digit code received via email to open it and use keys. They already received the PDF “house guide” via email, so should be prepared on how to move. Satisfaction is high (4.9 over 5), owner saved a lot of money and time, guests have the flexibility to enter anytime after check-in hour (14:00). 

To be honest during my last visit in Prague I was so happy not to see anyone during 3 days. Is sociopathy a new travel trend? I don’t know, but I book directly on the owner website and their software managed everything automatically and perfectly:

  • booking
  • payment
  • sending passport request
  • confirmation and self-check-in code + a few instructions and info

Great experience and probably one of the main reason for me to choose this vacation rental apartment. 

And if the guest is a terrorist?

Ok, this is a frequent question. I can understand the concern, the hidden parties and extra guests, but it’s all about trust and reputation (yes, you can choose a different procedure depending on the guest reputation, why not? check their reviews if they have, use your experience). To be honest, even during a face to face check-in is difficult to understand if you can trust your guests, but if you decided to enter into vacation rental business, probably you already decided.

Our recommendation is to be flexible, to offer if possible both options (in person can be also with an extra charge) and to monitor reviews and this quality score. 

Check your local regulations for procedure, contact us for more info!

self check in vacation rental Lake Como

Where should I list my vacation rental?

Why should I list my property on different platforms? It is risky?

The answer is easy, because is demonstrated that selling through different channels increase occupancy and average daily rates.

According to listings distributed on different Oline Travel Agencies have an average occupancy of 21 days per month (vs 16.5 Airbnb only).

Differentiation is key also because every channel can increase your possibilities to receive bookings from different markets (ex. VRBO is strong in US, Airbnb can help you with domestic travelers). 

What about overbooking and platforms management?

Managing different platforms takes time and accuracy, to avoid overbookings and increase net income during high demand period. Working “on request” is not recommended, you should be able to change rates and conditions often to improve your conversion and raking in different channels. 

Depending on your current situation you can choose Ical or a software (Channel Manager) to manage online distribution.

Contact us for more information!