Managing Streaming Services for Your Vacation Rental

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It wasn’t that long ago that people were just getting used to Netflix as “the” streaming service. These days Netflix is just one of many in an ever more fragmented market. Access to favorite shows on streaming now leads people to consider which streaming services to have (and how to pay for them). What should you consider as a vacation rental owner in providing streaming services for guests?

Should You Provide Streaming Services for Guests?

If you already have a television on the property, it’s really a no-brainer to at least provide access to streaming services for your guests. Many modern smart TVs have ways of access built in, and you may have already chosen to use other devices like a Chromecast, Apple TV, or a Roku box. By allowing guests to login to their own accounts using your devices, you’re giving them the opportunity to unwind and just take time off in the property.

There are hosts who argue for paying for the streaming services for the guests. There are a couple disadvantages to this idea. The first is that all the streaming services learn from what you watch. If the current guests want to watch kids’ movies with their children, they might not be excited to see a bunch of horror films suggested, which is what the algorithm is guessing based on the last guest who binged on that genre. 

The second disadvantage is the cost. It is not clear that guests expect you to have a guest account on multiple streaming services just for them to use if they want to use them. The more listings you have, the more these marginal extra costs will add up.

When guests get to log into their own accounts, they can jump right back into their shows and suggestions just as if they were at home, and that’s ​​the experience you want them to have in your property.

Internet Matters

Streaming these shows in high definition is definitely a big drain on internet bandwidth, which can make those who have more remote listings, with satellite internet, a bit wary. If you don’t have fast internet, you’re going to be providing false hope to guests who see streaming as available, then watch in disappointment as their shows freeze or cut out.

Fast internet is a basic amenity that all guests demand, but it’s vital if you want to provide streaming.

Stay Current with Competition

Finally, you’ve got to realize that a lot of your competition might be providing access to streaming services to their guests, and you want to stay alongside that competition as you bid for the stays of medium-term guests or workcationers, who will definitely expect an amenity like access to streaming.

One final note: you can’t be expected to decide which of the streaming services your guests will prefer, so program your devices to have all of them ready for a user name and login. Also make available a service like Sling TV that offers live television as there’s still a segment of guests that want to be able to access that when needed.

This content originally appeared in our twice-monthly Guest Book Newsletter.

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