The short-term rental market is one of the fastest-growing in the world. Demand for rental property is on the rise (if not taking into account the temporary tourism slowdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak), and the industry as a whole is worth over $115 billion according to Skift Research. 

Numbers like these mean that this is indeed a big business.

With the vacation rental industry on such a meteoric rise, it is no wonder that the expectations of travelers are increasing as well. What once used to be a means to rent a cheap room overnight, has transformed into a bonafide travel alternative. 

Travelers often opt for short-term rentals over hotels when choosing accommodation for their vacation. Renters look for the best value for money and demand a high level of quality before making their final decision. 

Typical guest expectations in the vacation rental market

Property managers should pay increased attention to detail. Providing high-quality service and property standards are essential for receiving positive reviews. 

Guests are quick to provide poor ratings if the property is not up to the requisite cleanliness standards or service is sub-par. So, it is important from a business standpoint to keep your rental in prime condition.

All in all, your property should meet the following standards:

Property cleanliness - professional cleaners can ensure that the appropriate standards are met.
Up-to-date decor and furnishings - your rental should be updated and furnishings should be free from wear and tear, or marks from excessive use.
Safety measures - smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, burglar alarms and anything else to enhance guest safety. 
Health and hygiene levels - properties should be properly checked and meet health and hygiene standards, especially with the recent COVID-19 pandemic.

Impact of Millennials on the real estate market

Interestingly, the vacation rental industry is currently being driven by Millennials. This generation is huge in numbers and is tend to rent, not buy, causing a downward trend in purchasing and an upward trend in renting. They also prefer peer-to-peer r or sharing services over traditional outlets such as travel agencies. 

The home rental business is striving to keep up with the demand and there is no indication of it slowing down any time soon. In addition to high-quality service, Millennials also value flexibility. 

Millennials will appreciate the following options: 

flexible cancellation policy to accommodate last-minute changes;
pet-friendly properties;
unique accommodations;
meal as an additional service (for example, continental breakfast);
sustainable travel.

The latter on the list is huge for Millennials. They are fully aware of environmental issues and know about the damage done by past generations. Many bases their purchase decisions taking into account environmental friendliness and sustainability of products and brands - and this applies to vacation rentals.

They are highly aware of the use and disposal of materials and how they impact the environment. Bamboo towels and linens, recycling, and sustainable living items can make or break a booking for Millennial renters. 

Leisure travel destinations 

Most industries have some trends that remain consistent, and the vacation rental industry is no different. Leisure travel destinations remain strong and enjoy many repeat or advance bookings from travelers. 

Some of this stability is due to the location, and some due to the reduced risk of booking rental property in tourist hot spots. Busy urban areas can contain properties rented by the homeowners only occasionally. Tourist areas, on the contrary, feature homes purchased solely for a rental business.

Properties in these types of locations enjoy consistent bookings with less risk of cancellation or last-minute changes. 

Keeping up with the vacation rental industry demands

Juggling the demands of guests along with upkeeping maintaining your vacation rental properties is no easy task. To make the process easier, most property managers have opted for automated services. Vacation rental software, catering services, or professional property management companies are being used to cope with routine tasks. 

Third-party services can handle daily operations like replying to guest inquiries or managing reviews. They can also help managers to respond and adapt their business strategies in light of unexpected events like the recent COVID-19 outbreak.

Third-party vendors can help to handle cleaning, maintenance, and content marketing or advertising. Professional property management companies are being utilized with increasing frequency and outsourced photography or videography services are common in the short-term vacation rental industry.

Conclusion

Providing a high level of service, while doing your best to enhance the guest experience will lead to better reviews, repeat guests, and high occupancy rates. Savvy property managers recognize are always on the lookout of the ways to streamline their operations and increase guest satisfaction. The automation and outsourcing of various tasks will help save time on routine operations and enable you to focus on and enhance the guest experience.