At the onset of the Coronavirus Pandemic, many companies allowed their employees to work from home. As the pandemic continues, many employers realize that this may be a long term, perhaps permanent, change to the way business is conducted.
Now almost half the population is working from home. For those with the right setup (private office, no pets or children to distract them, and a large backyard to move about freely without a mask), it’s the ideal situation.
However, the scenario described is far from realistic. Many families are spending the pandemic in small apartments in the city. After a few months of being stuck inside, they are ready for a change of scenery and some fresh air.
Additionally, according to a New York Times and Morning Consult survey, one out of three remote workers stated that if they could continue to work from home, they would move to a new city or state. This is great news for vacation rental homeowners.
We’re seeing a new trend of guests renting vacation homes as a place to work remotely. Rather than being cooped up in a tiny apartment in the city, they get a change of scenery and often more space to spread out. Large outdoor spaces mean children and pets can play freely while parents can get work done in a peaceful setting.
These “workationers” are also much more likely to book vacation rental homes for a month or more at a time. They find that not only are they getting more work done, but they can relax and reset at these quiet locations.
More guests are using vacation rental home platforms to find new space to work and temporarily relocate. It allows them to be closer to family as well as explore other communities. Working from home now means you can work from any home. Trends in rental property reviews are showing that guests are taking advantage of the flexibility. For example:
Since the pandemic began the number of guests using phrases like “remote working” or “work remotely” has tripled in written reviews.
Guests searching for properties that allow guests to work remotely also increased by 90% compared to the previous year.
How to Make Your Home Welcoming to Remote Workers
The days of weekend getaways are becoming a thing of the past. Working from anywhere means, guests can stay as long as they like without worrying about beating the traffic Sunday afternoon.
But how can you adapt your vacation rental home to welcome remote workers?
1. Post Your Booking on the Right Platforms
The business travel market is now heavily promoted on sites like Booking.com and Airbnb. Each of these sites include “business-ready” options under their listings allowing owners to promote their vacation rental home to remote workers. It makes it easier for users to quickly and easily find accommodations that will suite their working needs. These sites also offer extended and long term stay options.
2. Take Advantage of Facebook Groups
You can find hundreds of Facebook groups filled with professionals that are already working remotely. They often turn to like-minded professionals in their groups for advice and tips.
Knowing this is another reason why using social media as a platform for advertising your vacation rental. Once you grab their attention with your property, direct them to you vacation rental website so they can book the home securely.
3. Reassess Your Rates
An excellent way to encourage guests to consider your home is to offer longterm stay discounts. By making the house available for weekly and monthly rent, guests will be more likely to book, knowing they’re saving money in the long run by skipping nightly rentals.
True, if you charge a nightly fee, you could hypothetically make more money. But remember that the world has changed. Even if, in past years, your calendar was completely booked with several different guests, you’ve probably already witnessed a dramatic drop since the pandemic.
Instead, focus on the fact that you have guaranteed income for an entire month, even if it’s a little less than what you made previously. And remember that these will most likely be repeat guests that will need another “workation” shortly.
4. Redesign Your Home
You don’t need to do a total overhaul of your vacation home, but by putting a little thought into your home’s decor and furniture, you could increase your bookings.
For example, that vintage couch in the living room is a beautiful statement piece. But really, how comfortable would it be to use day in and day out. Is it something your guests are going to enjoy using for more than a couple of nights?
Making small changes will not only make your guests more comfortable during their stay, but they will find the right decor to be inspiring. Two things all of us could use a little more during the workday.
5. Create Multiple Work Spaces
Using the kitchen counter as a desk is doable for a couple of days, but remote workers need a proper workspace for weeks of work.
Not only should they have a tidy desk, but ideally, it should be in an area that gives them the privacy they need for virtual meetings. If at all possible, desk chairs should be adjustable to fit all your guests’ needs.
Remember that more than one member of the household might need a workspace as both parents might be working remotely. Children might need an area to do school work and connect with their classrooms.
You don’t have to turn your vacation home into a cubicle office, but make sure there are plenty of tabletops and desks as well as chairs so the family can spread out and concentrate on their projects. All spaces should have plenty of adjustable lighting and natural light, if possible.
6. Enhance Your Outdoor Living Area
Guests will especially appreciate the extra effort you put into your outdoor living area. By including tables and chairs, they might even choose to work in the fresh air.
Comfortable seating surrounded by nature will give your guests a place to retreat to at the end of their workday as well. Including options for cooking outside or an outdoor fireplace will create a peaceful atmosphere and encourage further productivity.
7. Check Your Internet Connection
If you’re advertising free WIFI, you need to double-check just how good of a connection it is. Try it out yourself. Is the video smooth during video conferencing, or does it take ten minutes to load an email?
You may need to upgrade your internet plan. In previous years, a couple of days without the internet wasn’t so bad. But if you’re offering your home as a place where remote workers can come on a “workation,” the signal better be good.
Your guests aren’t just coming for a weekend getaway. They are coming for the long haul. The effectiveness of the internet connection directly correlates with their success at work. A strong and stable internet connection can not be emphasized enough.
You can do this either by including them in the desk or by creating an office supplies guest basket. Try to anticipate the little things your guest might forget or may not want to pack and include these in the basket. It might include:
Tea and coffee for productivity
Additionally, double-check that there are plenty of outlets in the designated workspace areas. If an outlet is far from the desk, include extension cords or power strips as needed.
9. Be Kid and Pet Friendly
If you aren’t already, becoming a kid and pet-friendly home will also likely increase these bookings. Families with kids will find even more reason to get out of that tiny apartment in the city.
Pets are also becoming more and more popular with so many people spending more time at home.
Taking pets and kids into consideration when writing your policies will impact the number of guests that book with you.
10. Upload New Pictures
Once you’ve implemented some of these changes to make your home more “workation” friendly, you want to show it off. Grab the attention of potential guests with new photos that showcase the work-friendly environment you’ve created.
Highlight not only the work areas themselves but what’s around them. Does the window in front of the desk face a lake? Does the outdoor space include appropriate seating for work? Will kids and pets enjoy exploring safely outside?
These are all areas that will appeal to your guests and make them much more likely to book an extended stay with you.
11. Optimize Your Property Descriptions
Besides updating your photos, now is a great time to optimize your listing with new descriptions. Make sure you mention how your property is the ideal spot for a “workation” and that you cater to remote workers and their families.
List accommodations that include the office space, internet access, and whether or not you offer long term availability.
There have been a lot of changes in how we do just about everything during these last months. That includes how we work and how we vacation as well. By adapting to these changes, you can continue to enjoy a regular income from your vacation rental home.
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