Once your vacation rental properties are up and running, it’s time to figure out how to increase revenue without raising nightly rates. To do this, vacation rental managers can take a lesson from the hotel industry and upsell products and services once the guests have checked in.
Unfortunately, most vacation rental management companies (VRMCs) can’t easily accept guest payments, which is where a groundbreaking technology like Stripe comes in. In this article, we’ll look at what Stripe is and how VRMCs and hosts can use it to boost the bottom line while enhancing the guest experience.
The challenge with accepting guest payments
As a VRMC or host, there are some challenges when it comes to accepting guest payments. Cash is cumbersome; you need to bring change, and it poses a security risk for vacation rental management employees. Not to mention that most modern travelers leave home with minimal cash, keeping just enough for transportation costs, tipping, and small expenses. Finally, checks are a thing of the past.
The only other practical option lies in credit card payments. But that can quickly become a time sink. You’d have to set-up a merchant account, implement a point of sale (or a portal on your property’s site). Then once a guest makes a payment, you have to manage the delivery of the product or service manually.
Stripe: your solution for handling credit card transactions
With Stripe, accepting a vacation rental electronic payment is simple. Here’s how it works: you sign up for their services. You can then use their ready-made templates to integrate a payment option on your site. They handle the security aspect of dealing with guest credit card information and pay the credit card vendors themselves. So when a guest pays, Stripe takes their cut, and you get the lump sum in your account.
It gets better: Stripe integrates with most vacation rental PMPs
There are several options for accepting credit card payments on the market. But using Stripe for vacation rentals comes with big wins. Notably, their service is configured like Hostfully’s (that’s us) to integrate with other applications, services, and property management platforms (PMPs) seamlessly. So from your Hostfully PMP, you can manage all Stripe activity. The combination of Hostfully and Stripe gives you the added perk to upsell to guests directly through the digital guidebook marketplace. In other words, from a guidebook, guests can pay for services like late check-out or a mid-stay cleaning.
The integration of Stripe and Hostfully is a huge time-saving feature for VRMCs and busy hosts. You get to eliminate multiple points of sale and check-out machines. Meeting guests at check-out also becomes a thing of the past. According to HospitalityNet, 68% of travelers want to avoid the front desk and control the check-in and check-out process. So on top of saving time, you’re also boosting the guest experience.
Here are some pros of using Stripe for vacation rentals:
- Easy to set-up and integrate with other software
- Free trial period
- No refund fees
- Intuitive, easy to use interface
- Seamless check-out experience for guests
- Instant confirmation of payment
- Straight-forward, low-cost fees
- Funds get sent to the bank account of your choice
- Process payments to multiple Stripe accounts
Bonus feature: Travelers spend more when they use credit cards
Did you know the odds of increasing your revenue climb when you accept credit cards? According to a study by Value Penguin, people can spend up to 83% more when paying with a credit card instead of cash. Travelers are also eager to use credit cards to rack-up more reward points. What does this mean for VRMCs and hosts? By accepting credit card payments, you’re feeding into this consumer habit and potentially increasing revenue.
How much does Stripe charge?
Unlike other vacation rental electronic payment systems, Stripe’s rates are simple. They charge a flat fee of 2.9% + 30¢ per successful charge up to $1 million in volume each year. Here’s what it looks like for services and products in the vacation rental industry:
Other online payment solutions like Paypal charge extra fees and add-ons. Their interface also isn’t as intuitive for guests or vacation rental management companies to navigate. With other services like PayPal, they need an account with that company. But with Stripe, all they need is a credit card. From the guest’s perspective, the experience is then similar to checking out on an eCommerce site.
How much can Stripe boost your revenues?
It’s difficult to determine precisely how much Stripe for vacation rentals can boost your revenue. It depends on your property, destination, targeted guest type, and many other factors. However, according to Stripe, businesses see an average increase of 6.7% in revenue after switching to their platform.
If you need some inspiration as to what you can upsell to your guests, you can take a look at what services hosts offered to guests through Hostfully’s digital guidebook marketplace:
As you can see, most of the services sold by hosts during a guest’s visit don’t require a tremendous amount of time to setup. On top of that, most of the upsell options in vacation rentals can be coordinated through the Hostfully PMP. That means VRMCs and hosts are taking advantage of automation to scale their revenue streams.
List your vacation rental properties on more sites with Stripe
Not all vacation rental sites offer a way to book through their systems. Online classifieds and travel blogs can help connect travelers and vacation rental management companies. But you still need a way to capture payment.
Stripe allows you to advertise your vacation rentals on both big and small sites and quickly accept payment. You can even take credit card payments right from your rental website.
Think inside the box: easily boost revenue at scale
Earning more revenue without raising your rates is easy and can dramatically enhance the guest experience at the same time. Focus on simplicity and identify which upsells are the least disruptive to your business to start. Here are a few ideas:
1) Give guests the option to buy perks
Guests love the ability to buy things directly from their accommodations. Vacation rental management companies can still offer complementary products like coffee and tea. Then upsell premium drinks, snacks, and treats with the help of online payment solutions. Just keep in mind that you should still offer a welcome package for guests.
2) Offer an upgrade
Depending on your property’s location, you can upsell features like a parking spot. You can also offer luxury bedding. Finally, you can also provide the option of a deluxe welcome package, complete with wine and gourmet local products.
3) Provide more conveniences
Vacation rental managers can skip the physical products and add-ons that take up time and resources. Instead, focus on upselling conveniences. Start with airport pick-up, early check-in, children’s equipment, and mid-day cleaning.
Hostfully’s digital guidebook marketplace feature also makes it easy to add-on upsells. Just add your favorite perks and experiences and use a vacation rental electronic payment system to start earning.
Think outside the box: make money even when guests leave the property
Upselling to guests doesn’t have to stop when they leave the property. What’s great with external upsells is that they require almost no involvement by the VRMC or host. You just become the facilitator and charge a fee. Here are a few ideas you can quickly implement in your business:
1) Sell experiences
Skift research shows there is an increased preference by travelers for hyper-local experiences. Among those polled, 43% of travelers hope to experience different cultures. Try upselling walking tours, cooking classes, or hire a guide to provide unforgettable experiences. Just make sure you’ve set up an agreement ahead of time with tour operators, guides, or chefs before you upsell their services.
2) Offer catering services
Compete with hotels that offer onsite restaurants with vacation rental catering services. Grocery delivery, hiring an at-home chef, or offering pre-cooked meals can quickly upsell guests on a satisfying meal.
3) Provide bike or beach rentals
Travelers are ready to get their vacation started right when they check-in — upsell the convenience of bike rentals, beach chairs, and boogie boards right from your property.
Wrapping things up
Upsells can be an easy, profitable, and rewarding experience for both guests and vacation rental managers. With a great vacation rental electronic payment system like Stripe, collecting credit card payments is incredibly easy. With the integration to Hostfully’s PMP, VRMCs and busy hosts can quickly scale this feature across multiple properties without disrupting their operation or investing huge amounts of time.