According to data from Airbnb, the UK is the fifth largest geography for the home-sharing service — with 64,000 listings in London alone. When you add in the growth of hotel comparison sites, you’d be forgiven for thinking that holiday home and park home sites need updating. However, this needn’t be the case.
Here, Nick Cowley, managing director of uPVC windows and doors expert, Euramax, explains how SMART technology could be the key to the future of the holiday home sector to new generations.
Holiday styles have come a very long way since the 1970’s when caravans were deemed the perfect family holiday. In the 1980s, holidaymakers that wanted sun, sea and sand, enjoyed the rapid growth of package holidays meaning that everything could be booked in its entirety, from accommodation and travel to food and activities — all at the touch of a button.
We now live in an era where we can book holiday accommodation, wherever it is in the world, without having to physically speak or meet with anyone regarding the booking. People want to have control over every aspect of their holiday and as such, the Do-It-Yourself holiday rise began with the launch of Airbnb in 2008.
Since its launch, it is estimated that 150 million people use Airbnb across 5 million listings in 191 countries. While you can’t blame consumers for finding the great appeal in using Airbnb, does that mean the end to holiday home parks and the holiday lodge industry?
The SMART boom
SMART stands for Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology and its addition into society is making consumers’ lives easier. Whether it is TVs, watches, phones or fitness wearables, SMART tech is integrating into our daily lives. In fact, the YouGov Smart Homes Report for 2018 found that a quarter of people in Britain own one or more SMART home gadgets.
This rapid increase has also drastically improved the way we control our home life. Now, we can adjust the heating and lighting from our phones, mimic being at home when we are away, as well as keep tabs on everything happening on our doorstep through SMART cameras and monitoring systems.
With SMART technology positively impacting daily life, there is significant potential for these technology developments to be implemented into the holiday home sector, helping them compete with other holiday options available to consumers.
The SMART holiday destination
While there are 66 million people living in the UK, according to the NCC (National Caravan Council) there are only 365,000 caravan holiday homes currently in use across the country. In order for the industry to prosper, there is a distinct need to keep up to date with modern technology.
SMART technology can be incorporated into the industry in a number of ways. The predominant requirement for modern day holiday-goers is for full access WiFi across the entire holiday site. Not only does this allow personal use and entertainment, but it would also ensure that any integrated SMART technology would work seamlessly.
SMART features in the caravan or holiday home, such as remote window and door locking, could be highly beneficial. An app for the site, with details and access options specifically for a customer’s property could allow visitors to remotely lock windows and doors. Access codes could also be granted for the duration of the customers stay, preventing any security risk. This implementation would also mean that maintenance and management teams could speedily secure each and every property at the touch of a button.
However, there are more SMART technology options that could bring the industry up to the Airbnb standard that is now demanded for by consumers. Rather than physical keys, QR code scanning devices or fingerprint recognition technology could also be added to allow customers direct and easy access to their holiday rental including manuals and information.
By working with experts like Euramax that specialise in manufacturing windows and doors for holiday home and caravan properties, you can collaborate to ensure that any technology you want to incorporate can be done so from the start. This not only helps to save cost and time but can also reduce maintenance, as there is no need to remove the windows or doors to retrofit technology changes.
Introducing SMART technology will modernise and reinvigorate holiday homes to a wider audience, increasing its attractiveness as a holiday option, while also improving efficiency and making life easier all round. One thing is certain — SMART technology holds the wireless key, to a brighter future for the industry.