5 Ways To Help Your Vacation Rentals Bounce Back
So much of the world has changed in the past seven months––and travel is no exception to that rule. But with change comes opportunity, especially for property managers who are able to respond to the new reality swiftly and make adjustments.
However, it helps to know what’s going on in the industry before you start changing things on a whim. That’s why we’ve done a deep dive into our data, to share our latest insights with you and suggestions on how you can help your vacation rental bounce back through the rest of the year and onward into 2021.
Leverage domestic travel
American travelers have always preferred domestic travel, but we’ve seen an even stronger surge in domestic travel since pandemic-related restrictions began in the United States back in March. Approximately 94 percent of US travelers have been booking domestic vacations throughout the pandemic. Previous years had seen domestic bookings at approximately 80 percent of US travelers. And although Americans were traveling shorter distances than previous years in the peak of summer, August and September have shown that travelers are sticking with similar distances as previous years––approximately 550 miles.
That means there are more travelers for property managers to host and these travelers are willing to cover the same amount of ground they had in previous years.
Given the uncertainty that’s come with the pandemic, we’ve seen travelers preferring properties with flexible cancellation policies. Specifically, we’ve monitored an 80 percent increase in conversion with properties offering free cancellation. With this in mind, we recommend that property managers remove minimum stays and open themselves up to last-minute bookings to take advantage of travelers looking for a spontaneous weekend escape.
Cleanliness has always been important to travelers, but the pandemic has especially emphasized it. That means property managers should do everything they realistically can to let travelers know what extra precautions they’re taking given the added importance placed on proper hygiene. We also know that property managers might be spending more on cleanliness, so make sure to reflect those extra cleaning fees in the final price and to highlight this in the property description. We trust that property managers are doing everything they can to ensure hygiene standards, but it’s about showing your commitment to travelers. Make this commitment prominent in your listing description to give your property a better chance of getting the booking.
In light of the pandemic, certain amenities are taking precedence over the usual WIFI and television. Digging into our customer data, we see that there are two clear favorites among travelers these days: a pool and the ability to bring pets. That’s far and wide the case across the country. Wherever pools are the top amenity, pets are a close second and vice versa. Other popular amenities according to our data are kitchens, whirlpools, and air conditioning––though we suspect the later to change as we get deeper into the fall and winter months. Take care to highlight your amenities in your listing both in your property description and in high-quality photos.
Relate to travelers
There’s a shift in persona in regard to who’s traveling and what they’re traveling for. Look at your properties and know who your main target is. The latest trend is a significant uptick in people working remotely. An urban apartment won’t attract a family of five. That’s fine. Instead, highlight amenities that might attract remote workers, like WIFI, a desk, access to takeaway food.
If you’re targeting families going on a staycation, then think about what they want––board games, a grill, a garden, a pool during the summer, or maybe a fireplace in the winter. You should reflect all of this in your images and make the amenities look appealing. That means, don’t show a crowded kitchen.
A newer persona is frontline workers. Unfortunately, we’re still in the pandemic. So, if you have an urban property, you might be able to target someone who’s working at a hospital and needs to stay nearby. They’ll want a contactless handover and a calm area where they can get some rest.
The main point is thinking about who you’re marketing for and re-shuffle your description, the pictures, and make sure you have something that is consistent for the persona you’re targeting.
You need to get those eyeballs on your properties in a safe way while controlling costs. That means you need to diversify distribution channels in order to open new revenue streams. The biggest mistake you could make right now would be to rely on one or two websites to bring you bookings. It makes you dependent, it makes you weak, and you lose control. You lose control over cancellations, communication with guests, and cash flow.
That’s where HomeToGo can help. We offer fast payout, meaning you don’t have to wait for the guest to check-in before you receive payment. We also allow property managers to use their own cancellation policies and to communicate directly with their guests. Take advantage of our fast-track integration to be live on HomeToGo within two weeks with no setup or integration cost. And if you’re a new US-based partner, you’ll automatically be enrolled in our Bounce Back Program, which means we’ll waive our commission through the end of the year.
HomeToGo is the world’s largest search for vacation rentals. Join the fastest growing vacation rental distribution channel in the world and expand your reach to millions of new customers. With a fast payout option as well as tailored cancellation policies, HomeToGo empowers property managers to stay in control of and maximize their bookings through an additional, effective booking channel.
Want to list with HomeToGo? Click the banner below to sign up for their ongoing Bounce Back Program, offering 0% commission fees until the end of the year for new US-based partners.