Trends in Vacation Rentals 4 mins read

PropTech for vacation rental owners: Notes from the top property technology conference

Proptech for vacation rental owners

On May 14, the Future PropTech Conference was held in London, UK, at the Business Design Center. Hostfully’s Head of Marketing Brad Cartier was in attendance, outlining key takeaways specific to the vacation rental industry. Here’s what you need to know about property technology—known as PropTech—and its effect on your business.

Legacy industries are experiencing what some have termed a third industrial revolution. The real estate sector is certainly no exception to this disruption. The biggest challenge facing us in real estate—including the vacation rental business—is not that the industry is lacking innovation. No, there is a torrent of amazing technology tools out there for real estate professionals to leverage. From AI, to smart devices, to digital management tools, to sensor data and even automated home purchasing powered by machine learning, innovation is here to stay.

The challenge for us is not innovation, it’s adoption. Real estate professionals, like others in legacy industries, are notoriously slow to adopt new technology that will help scale and manage our businesses. Indeed, one of our biggest goals at Hostfully is to guide vacation rental owners on how to navigate the new digital world we find ourselves.

With that in mind, here are some of the key takeaways from one of the biggest real estate technology conferences around—Future PropTech 2019. I hope you can take some of this to use in your business, as I have mine.

1. Rise of the local hero

Speakers: Sheetal Vyas and Arthur Hughes-Hallett, PwC Disruption practice, PwC

“Embrace technology as an amplifier of human intent, not an end state itself.”

We are heading to a decentralized future. As we see a rise of machines and centralized algorithm-driven urban settings, we are witnessing even greater decentralized innovation where the local hero will thrive.

Barriers to entry for smart technology are at the lowest point in history and property owners should embrace these not as an end in and of themselves, but to help thrive as the local expert. We will see the rise of the power of many, despite the rise of centralized algorithms.

Be your own local hero, know your community, and embrace technology as an amplifier of human intent, not an end state itself.

2. Frictionless future

Speaker: Elie Finegold, Venture Advisor, MetaProp NYC

We are getting un-stuffed. Books, cars, machines, big computers, CDs, DVDs, clunky phones, and other household items are being digitized, automated, and/or miniaturized. Less stuff means less space, so our traditional view of real estate spaces is dramatically changing, requiring less space. Don’t be afraid of the rise of smaller spaces, as this is becoming the norm across multiple real estate verticals.

The big effect on real estate of a frictionless future and the un-stuff movement, is access over ownership. This means your customer will demand service and access-based business models, rather than ones founded on ownership. Your guests want access to services, so you need to integrate innovative services into your business by leveraging technology tools.

3. Early innings of tech innovation

Speaker: Roelof Opperman, Principal and Co-Head of Investments, Fifth Wall

We are at the tip of the iceberg in terms of disruption of the real estate industry as a whole. It’s only a matter of time before companies that are enabled by innovative tech come in and disrupt your niche. We are seeing this through hotels with home-sharing, office space with co-working, and apartment living with co-living

We’ve seen big disruptors backed by innovative technology enter the real estate space, and those who don’t adopt technology tools will find themselves quickly behind the curve of progress. This isn’t a real estate problem, it’s within all aspects of society. What are you doing in your business to stay ahead of the technology curve?

4. Tenant engagement is king

Speakers:

Roelof Opperman, Principal and Co-Head of Investments, Fifth Wall

David Gerster, VP, Data, JLL Spark

Smart money and businesses are moving to a focus on tenant engagement. Whether that is providing services, experiences, or upsells, tenant engagement is becoming more and more important.

Alongside this new consumer demand is access. Allowing engagement to happen when and where the tenant wants is going to be a deal breaker for all property businesses. This requires many new functions in your business toolkit, including the use of mobile and platform agnostic engagement tools.