Scan through the vacation rentals in your local area and there’s a good chance you’ll notice a decent number of them already focusing on remote workers.
And why not? With working guests, you’re more likely to have longer-term stays—possibly weeks at a time—with more repeat visitors, and so more revenue with fewer operational challenges.
But how can you make your property stand out to a ‘workcationer’?
In this piece, we explore which easy changes to make to your property, and explain how you can promote your stays to this type of guest with real-life marketing examples. We also show you how to get your properties certified as great places to work on Booking.com and Airbnb.
How to get your property ready for remote working guests
With clear ideas about your exact target audience and expert insights on how to catch their eye, you can turn your property into a place remote workers will love. Follow these practical steps to get started.
Create a dedicated workspace
A dedicated working space is the minimum requirement for remote workers. To stand out and attract new guests, you should look to implement some of the following features:
- Displays. Even a small HD monitor of 24 inches can transform your guest’s working experience, allowing them to complete tasks more efficiently without straining their eyes.
- Ergonomic chairs. Look for a seat with adjustable height and tilt for maximum comfort for a range of guests. You can often find handy discounts at Staples and Target.
- Stationery. Notepads, pens, and pencils are all important additions to an office space. You can set yours apart by providing some with your branding added. Look to sites like Vistaprint and 4imprint to get the name of your property or your logo printed on stationery in bulk.
- Noise reduction. Thick curtains and rugs can help reduce any distraction in louder areas.
- Coffee makers. A high-quality, automated coffee machine that works with just a few buttons and a locally sourced brand of coffee are good ways to elevate your guests’ stay.
|Pro-tip: Where possible, create two workspaces separated by a door so you can cater to remote working couples who like to work in different rooms or people who visit your property with family.|
Offer a strong, stable Wi-Fi connection
Working guests need to be able to jump on video calls and download large files. And if there’s one thing that could lead to frustration and critical reviews, it’s a poor Wi-Fi connection.
You should invest in a contract that offers you at least 100Mbps, provide an ethernet cable, and set up boosters to ensure a consistent signal all around your property.
Provide smart home tech
Because they’re used to spending a lot of time online, remote workers appreciate digital tools that allow them to be more efficient and connected throughout their stay. Here are some examples of great smart home tech:
- USB and USB-C outlets so guests can instantly plug in a range of devices and use fast charging.
- Smart thermostats such as Tado so guests can adjust the temperature with minimum fuss.
- Smart lighting like Phillips bulbs integrate with their app Hue to create the perfect ambient work environment.
- Virtual assistants like Alexa allow your guests to get quick answers to questions they’re stuck on. You can also connect this with Hostfully to queue personalized answers to common questions, such as “where is the nearest café?”
Create helpful content
Providing your remote working guests with a list of restaurants and grocery stores can help them to save them time during busy spells at work. And by showing them local community spots, you can help them make friends during longer stays.
A digital guidebook is a great way to easily share information about the area. All in one place, you can share information about your amenities, local recommendations, and third-party services.
With Hostfully, you can create customizable content in a range of languages. Through our integration with Viator, you’ll also generate an 8% commission on any other businesses’ services that you link out to.
Provide smooth online check-in and check-out
You can also streamline the guest experience with a smooth self-check-in and check-out process.
If you have smart locks installed, make certain you’re getting the full benefit on offer by including automated messaging as part of your pre-stay process. Before your guests arrive, you can make sure they have everything they need by queuing messages with the property address and directions, an access code that activates shortly before check-in time, and information about the local area.
If you’re using more traditional locks, you can still streamline access in a similar way. By using a lockbox and automated messaging, you can:
- Avoid needing to physically hand over your keys
- Ensure your guests have access to any information they could need right away
- Be available at all times for any concerns
- Easily send check-out instructions
Inside Hostfully, you can see all your communications inside a unified inbox. This allows you to quickly spot and deal with any guest access issues, and to respond to questions about WiFi and parking in minutes.
You can also use templates and triggers to reduce the amount of time it takes you to respond to guests. For example, you can set up your account so that, if a guest asks where the nearest store is, our software will automatically reply with a template you’ve personalized with local information.
How to market your vacation rental to remote workers
Looking for concrete tips on how to capitalize on the growing market of remote workers? Here’s how you can nail your marketing.
Update your listings
The first thing that remote workers will do is scan your listings for places they can work and amenities that will help. So you need to ensure you optimize your descriptions. You should paint an image of what it’s like to work in the property and describe the surrounding area in a way that will attract remote workers—for example, by focusing on the peace and quiet.
By keeping your listings up to date across channels, you’ll not only reach more guests but your properties will show up higher in online travel agencies (OTA) searches.
You can cut the time it takes you to update listings by using a channel manager. With Hostfully, for example, you can update your descriptions and pricing in one place and this will be instantly reflected across 14 different OTAs.
List Wi-Fi speed
You should make sure your Wi-Fi speed is emphasized on your listings as this is the number one priority for remote working guests. Airbnb allows you to test the speed of your internet connection using its app. When you hit save, it displays this information on your property page.
Update your listing imagery
Your listing photos are another great place to showcase features that remote workers would appreciate. Beyond just getting images of a desk and chair, try to capture the amenities that make for a convenient stay—for example, the coffee machine and kitchen supplies. You should also try to show how well-lit your rooms are, highlighting the open space, and the sense of peace.
Mark your listings as work-friendly for certification
You can boost your listings in OTA search results by marking them as work-friendly.
Apply for “Airbnb for work” on Airbnb by having:
- A 4.8-star average review score
- A 90% 24-hour message response rate
- At least one private room with an en suite bathroom and a dedicated workspace
- Self check-in
- At least 5 Mbps Wi-Fi download and upload speed
On Booking.com, you can apply for the “work-friendly” program if you have:
- Reliable Wi-Fi
- A desk or table
- A minimum of 3 guest reviews with a score of 8 or more
- A cleanliness score of 8 plus
List on niche sites
Remote workers often look for properties on sites that specialize in “mid-term” stays. And getting your listings up there is a great way to grow your business. Register on Homads to attract bookings of over 30 days or take a look at Furnished Finder to tap into the travel-nursing market.
You should also consider creating your own direct bookings site, and attract an audience of remote workers who are aligned with your brand. This will help you gain repeat guests and minimize your payments to OTAs. With Hostfully, you can use pre-made templates to create a site in minutes.
Be active on social media
By using relevant hashtags on your social media posts, you can find an audience of people looking for remote working stays. You could include:
- #digital nomad
You can also be more direct with your marketing. Find remote working and digital nomad communities on Facebook and promote your properties there. Some good groups to start with are Digital Nomad Adventures, Remote Workers, and Digital Nomads Around the World.
Partner with local businesses
You can increase your bookings by networking with local businesses. Find out which companies have people traveling for business and offer them attractive deals.
You can also partner with local co-working spaces to offer discounted rates for guests throughout their stay. Use your digital guidebook to promote their services.
Offer discounts for longer stays
Because remote workers typically stay for between a few weeks and a few months, you can incentivize them booking with you by offering a discounted rate for an extended stay. Advertise this on your direct bookings site or by setting up monthly discounts on OTAs.
Growing your business with remote working guests
Remote workers are a great way to keep your property booked up for long periods of time. And you can capitalize on this growing market by making a few adjustments to your home, such as setting up office space and becoming more tech-enabled.
Once you’ve got your property up to scratch, the challenge is how to show it off. The main marketing strategies you can use for this are:
- Updating your listing descriptions and photos
- Marking your listings as work-friendly
- Listing on niche sites
- Being active on social media
- Partnering with local businesses
- Offering discounts for longer stays
If you nail your approach, you’ll not only attract more guests but future-proof your business. As more and more people look to combine work with travel, short-term rentals that cater to this will stay ahead of the curve.