The Covid-19 pandemic put a sudden halt to the road-warrior lifestyle of many business travelers, but the corporate travel landscape is shifting, and business travelers are taking to the skies and getting back on the road again.
Historically, business travel has been slower to bounce back than leisure travel. With the influx of new technologies and digitalization during Covid, companies are reassessing the need for business trips. Travel trends are showing that travel for face-to-face client visits and industry conferences will take priority over internal meetings and training, easily replaced by web conferencing and modern technology. Many companies have switched to a fully remote or hybrid model which allows employees to work from virtually anywhere. This has sparked eons of people who typically work a 9-5 in person, to branch out and explore while working from their computers.
Good news for business travel providers – there’s been an upswing in business meetings, conferences, and conventions in the first quarter of 2022. A monthly travel data report by the US Travel Association states that as of April 2022, 85% of US companies are conducting business travel, up 65% from January. Backing this up, Expedia’s latest Q1 2022 Recovery Trend Report shows business travel demand up 40% quarter-over-quarter, and up 110% compared to Q3 2020.
The biggest travel buzzwords of the pandemic – flexcations, workcations, and bleisure travel – are all geared to the trend of blending business and leisure travel in one trip. Equipped with the latest technology to work from home (and on the road), more travelers are mixing business with pleasure, working remotely from the destination of their choice, and extending their stay to enjoy time off.
Expedia’s latest recovery trend report also reported an increase in online searches for ‘business friendly” properties of more than 65% between January and March, 2022. Designing and equipping your vacation rentals to meet the changing needs of remote workers and business travelers is a smart strategy that can secure repeat business, increase off-peak occupancy, and maximize your rental income. Scratch the idea that vacation rentals are purely for a vacation! Implement these simple, smart strategies to attract remote workers, business travelers, and even corporate teams to your vacation rentals.
Highlight the Perks of Staying in a Vacation Rental
Business travelers are starting to see the benefit of a private vacation rental over a traditional or extended-stay hotel, but it’s a slow shift in mindset. Use your website to highlight the perks of staying in your vacation rentals over a hotel to potential guests – convenience, comfort, privacy, personal space, and the guest experience they can expect in your home. The average 330-sq ft hotel room does not have private bedrooms, spacious kitchens, family rooms for the kids, or the comfort of a home-away-from-home.
Offer Travelers a Business Class Experience
Along with the blurred lines between business and leisure, the priorities of the business traveler have changed. Business travelers are seeking a seamless hotel-like experience with all the comforts of home, business-friendly amenities, and space to unwind (without sharing a hotel lobby with strangers!).
Is your brand built to offer a business class experience to travelers – an experience that will switch them from a loyal hotel guest to a brand ambassador for your business friendly vacation rentals? Understanding what business travelers need, and a few simple upgrades (with a high ROI!) will have your vacation rentals business travel ready in no time.
1. Fast & Free WiFi:
Staying connected is a top priority for remote workers, and free, fast and easy to connect WiFi is not negotiable! Work remotely from the mountains is an enticing catch phrase, but spotty WiFi (or no outdoor signal for a zoom call with mountain views) will not attract business travelers. If your rental portfolio includes large homes for group travel, be sure to install a range extender so all your business guests can connect throughout the home and outdoor spaces.
2. Dedicated Workspace:
Incorporate dedicated workspaces into your vacation rentals. A home office is first prize but a small window space with views, a comfortable laptop friendly desk, ergonomic office chair for comfort, and good lighting is sufficient. If you’re catering to large groups or teams of corporate travelers, a collaborative work space for teams to gather will attract these types of travelers.
3. Office Equipment:
Create a space that makes it easy for your guests to work from home. The basics include sufficient power outlets and electrical adaptors, a basic printer and scanner, and charging stations for multiple devices. For added value consider a virtual concierge (Alexa or Google Home), a computer monitor, Smart TV or streaming device, or fun branded office supplies for them to take home as a constant reminder of their business class experience with your brand.
4. Luxuries & Perks:
We all love the unexpected extras, small touches and kind gestures. For budget accommodations these can be simple such as complimentary bathroom essentials, wood for a cozy winter fire after work, quality hangers for corporate wear, a hand-held steamer for travel wrinkles, guest slippers and robes. For high-end and luxury business rentals consider integrating smart home features, adding a work-out station, or a Peloton Bike, a highly sought-after amenity for business travelers.
Business travel requires flexibility – plans can change and the arrival times of business travelers is never limited to regular business hours. A flexible cancellation policy and flexible check-in for guests is key!. The majority of professional vacation rental managers have already made the switch to a keyless, contactless entry and this is essential for all guests – if you’re lagging behind, now is the time!
Highlight your Location for Business & Leisure
The pandemic highlighted the importance of a healthy work-life balance, so highlight your location and destination for both business and leisure travel. Are you in a quiet location that offers remote workers a secluded spot to work – or an urban hub with easy access to public transportation and close proximity to convention centers? Highlight the top business conveniences your rentals offer. The pleasure side of a business trip lowers stress, enhances productivity, and leaves employees satisfied, so highlight nearby tours, activities, attractions and entertainment options for guests to take a break from work and play!
Personalized Concierge & Guest Services
Go above and beyond what hotels provide their corporate travelers with a personalized guest experience for each and every one of your guests! Offer personalized concierge and guest services that add value to business travelers, make their stay better (and easier!), and give your brand the competitive edge. These included basic business resources, convenient airport transportation, and at-home services such as grocery delivery, private chefs, and personal trainers or yoga classes in the comfort of home. A digital concierge customized for your home and destination is a game changer, otherwise prepare a welcome book with local activities, attractions and recommendations for nearby grocery stores, restaurants, grab-and-go options, late-night venues, and the nearest coffee shop!
Market your Rentals to Business Travelers
The first step to marketing your rentals to business travelers is to think like a business traveler! You’ve made the upgrades to your vacation rentals to prepare them as business travel ready, and now it’s time to get in front of the right guests and stand out to business travelers seeking an alternative to a traditional hotel. Update and tweak your property listings to address the needs of business travelers, highlight all your business-friendly and leisure amenities in your professional property images, add social proof with positive business guest reviews, and market your homes as business ready rentals on your website and the OTA’s.
Offer Promotions for Business Travel
Encourage repeat business and create loyalty with a reward program or promotions for business travelers and corporate companies within your destination. Business travel is not seasonal or weather dependent and is a smart strategy for filling your mid-week occupancy calendar, with a high return on investment. Offer discounts on extended bleisure stays, pricing specials for corporate retreats, and loyalty discounts for repeat guests and corporate clients. Attracting new guests costs up to 5 times more than a loyal repeat guest!
The Casago Difference
When you partner with Casago, we look for ways to set your property apart and ensure your vacation rentals are available to business and leisure travelers from near and far. Your homes benefit from our tried and tested rental expertise and professional property management, and the guest experience is enhanced with exceptional, personalized services every step of the way.