Smart door locks give agencies, service providers and rental platforms a competitive edge whatever their size

New market forecasts predict continued strong growth in the European holiday rentals market. The data and trends also hint at ways small, medium- and global-sized providers can ensure their short-term rental portfolio stays ahead of the competition. According to exclusive SAC Insight research* commissioned by ASSA ABLOY, from a base of ‘ 23.28bn in 2016, the European holiday rentals market will be worth ‘ 32.5bn by 2023.

Compound annual growth (CAGR) is forecasted at 5.8%. For the segment incorporating agencies and other booking platforms, the numbers are equally encouraging. SAC Insight expects European revenue in the agent market to grow from ‘ 14.55bn to ‘ 20.93bn over the same period. Estimated CAGR is 5.1%, a healthy rate for holiday rentals agencies and the blossoming service ecosystem that surrounds them. For modern travellers, the smartphone is their remote control for any trip. It s a boarding pass, a credit card, a travel guide why not a door key, too? The growth through sales and acquisitions of international players like Airbnb, HomeAway, Wimdu and Tripadvisor will continue. Yet smaller, often localised, increasingly professional agents, individuals and booking platforms still generate almost 90% of holiday rentals revenue across Europe. A winning strategy, whatever your scale One important success factor is the value proposition of a holiday rental versus a hotel or hostel at a similar price.

Its perceived value includes service and the authenticity a holiday rental offers. But as hotels innovate with keyless check-in via app in Starwood properties, for example can rentals compete for convenience? Absolutely, if they keep pace with the modern traveller. Small providers can use deep local knowledge to ensure properties stay on the right side of local regulations, for example, ensuring guests a hassle-free stay. This will be critical for agencies targeting business travellers seeking short-term, city-centre rentals. More data from SAC Insight points, unsurprisingly, towards faster growth in online revenue, at 9.8% annually versus 3.8% for offline booking. Small-scale landlords cannot match global brands for SEO or advertising spend, so the importance of online reviews and positive word-of-mouth marketing will grow. In other words, target customer satisfaction. This is where a smart door lock provides concrete assistance and potentially, a competitive advantage.

Get smart renting and forget about keys Tired of handing over keys? For modern travellers, the smartphone is an essential companion; they treat a mobile as their remote control for any trip. It s a boarding pass, a credit card, a travel guide why not a door key, too? The technology is already available and affordable for rental booking agencies and the property owners they represent. Potential admin benefits for agents are obvious. With a smart door lock, you spend less time managing physical keys; you eliminate the risk of lost or stolen keys, and unauthorised copying. It s less hassle all round. If every smart door lock in your portfolio connects to a single system, even one with additional smart home features, managing multiple properties is easier. The best smart door locks can be operated via an app, whether stand-alone or as part of an integrated smart home system.

Key handling is not just an agent problem; it s a big worry for guests, too. With a smart door lock, they will never get locked out. A PIN code or smartphone app opens the front door, so there s no need to carry keys or worry about losing them. With a smart door lock, it s easy for everyone in a group to come and go as they please, because each guest can have their own temporary key. Harmonious groups are happier groups! High occupancy and satisfied customers In Italy, boutique agency Home at Hotel has already reaped the benefits of installing smart door locks on urban holiday rentals in Milan, Rome and Cagliari. Properties are secured with an ENTR lock from Yale and integrated with the user-friendly SCLAK (www.sclak.com) app-powered access system. With ENTR and the SCLAK system, it s easier for Home by Hotel to offer value-added services, including breakfast delivery, grocery shopping and extra cleaning on demand. It s straightforward for agency staff to open doors remotely to admit a cleaner or cook, for example.

Home at Hotel apartments fitted with an ENTR smart door lock receive, on average, a 9/10 customer satisfaction rating No longer are apartment keys running around with the risk of being lost or copied, says Francesco Postiglioni from Home at Hotel. We can see when a guest has left the flat and can inhibit access if they do not respect the rules. We also have full control over our service suppliers, with the exact time they spend in the flat and when an apartment is ready for the next guest. With ENTR from Yale, Home at Hotel entrusts their clients to a lock brand with decades of history securing Europe s homes and offices. Smarter locks make more satisfied guests, which in turn means more return visits and better online reviews for our clients in the holiday rentals business, confirms Omer Sagi, Smart Door Lock Business Development Director at ASSA ABLOY. The outcome has been tangible for this rental agency: Home at Hotel apartments fitted with an ENTR smart door lock receive, on average, a 9/10 customer satisfaction rating. Occupancy is 80%. Get more business from business Looking forward, there are opportunities in short-term rentals for business travel. But here more than anywhere, clients expect a seamless, professional experience.

A smart door lock is one simple way for an agency to enable round-the-clock check-in and check-out, without creating extra work or incurring added staff costs. This is so important, in fact, that Airbnb now require check-in without a person-to-person key handover to qualify for Business Travel Ready status. Business travel will remain a major growth area for Airbnb (and therefore also for the service provider ecosystem that surrounds it). Deals with corporate travel specialists including CWT and Flight Centre**** are already in place. Professional touches such as a smart door lock will help small and medium-sized agencies to grab a slice of this booming market for themselves. With a smart door lock, rental agencies can charge a premium, and still expect the convenience benefits to be reflected in customer satisfaction, positive word-of-mouth, return visits and favourable online reviews. A new eight-page report from ASSA ABLOY Europe s holiday rentals market is packed with more exclusive data and charts, plus expert insight on the European holiday rentals sector and how smart door locks can help you serve it better. * SAC Insight, Europe Vacation Rental Market Analysis and Forecast (2017 2023) About ASSA ABLOY ASSA ABLOY is the global leader in door opening solutions, dedicated to satisfying end-user needs for security, safety and convenience. Since its formation in 1994, ASSA ABLOY has grown from a regional company into an international group with about 47,000 employees, operations in more than 70 countries and sales close to SEK 71 billion. In the fast-growing electro-mechanical security segment, the group has a leading position in areas such as access control, identification technology, entrance automation and hotel security.

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