In an age where almost everyone aspires to embark on a holiday, Vacation Rentals have come to rule the roost. Privacy, security, flexibility are the specifics every traveler loves. Vacation Rentals offer such benefits to everyone; be it an avid traveler or a backpacker. No wonder, this sector has seen a significant boom in the recent decade.
From a nondescript start, Vacation Rentals have come a long way to dominating the recreation space. It’s springing up in literally every tourist hotspot in the world. It has become a lucrative business and provides employment opportunities to many.
But how does a vacation rental property owner stand out from competition. We compiled a list of best practices from our long experience and hundreds of interactions with property owners, property managers, guests, cleaners and even property neighbors in many popular destinations.
Our survey has brought out some very interesting facts. And if you are a vacation rental owner these are certainly actionable points for your business.
You can also view the guide by clicking on the below image (Slideshare link) as well:
Weekends see a surge in inquiries
Our study shows there is generally a 37% increase in inquires during weekends. A Google survey conducted with 5000 consumers found that 74 % of leisure travel begins with online research. Vacation rental owners must be ready for increased traffic during weekends, as most customers begin their online search with undecided plans. The opportunity to influence their decision to book your house significantly increases if you are better prepared to handle the surge.
Increase chances of booking by 2X
Our study shows chances of booking confirmation increases 2x times if booking enquiries are responded within one hour.
Let us do the math
Combining the results of our survey
1. If your house on an average gets about 5 enquires a day, you will see this increase by 37% during weekends, i.e 7 enquires per day.
2. If your normal booking confirmation rate is 2 out of 5 enquires, then our study tells you, there can be 2X increase in booking confirmation if response rate is within one hour. This will mean 12 confirmations coming out of 14 enquiries on weekends.
Isn’t that something to really focus on, if you are a vacation rental owner?
The paradox of calendar management
Our survey finds rental owners rank calendar management as their top priority problem or issue to contend with. While guests looking to book rentals also mention the calendar as the first place to check before a booking decision is made. So calendar management is a double priority.
Vacation rentals will see significant increase in booking confirmations, if the calendar is maintained with complete information. Though maintaining the calendar with updated availability at all times is a difficult task, remember that it is of prime importance to a potential guest and could mean the difference between a booking confirmation or a dropout.
What influences a booking?
When we asked guests about the factors influencing their booking, two points stood out –
1. Higher quality pictures leads to decision making while booking.
2. Higher number of pictures give confidence while booking.
A Google study confirms that 42% of travelers get inspired by YouTube videos of their prospective travel destination during the decision making process. So it is important to visually appeal to guests.
What amenities do guests want?
Our study shows cleanliness of the house tops the priority of every potential guest. We recommend a gap of 5 hours between a check out and new check in for the property to be cleaned satisfactorily.
And surprisingly Wi-Fi accessibility at rental houses is also being requested as a prerequisite during enquiry by many guests in recent times. Google’s traveler survey finds 94 % of travelers like to stay connected even during a vacation. We recommend vacation rental owners consider installing Wi-Fi at properties.
These best practices can make your business stand out amongst competition and get your better ratings on a consistent basis.
Identify new revenue channels
Constantly searching for new channels of revenue can increase your return on investment from property and help you find new segments of guests.
Our study finds guests do not mind paying higher prices for weekend. A different pricing for weekends can be a new revenue channel for your business. An average difference of 10 % between weekend and weekday pricing is not seen to have an adverse impact on guests deciding on bookings.
Peak season pricing
Our study finds a higher peak season price can have significant benefits. Our survey also finds that a small discount at the beginning of peak season can help you fill bookings for the entire peak season very quickly.
3x increase in leads
Our study finds that listing your property on multiple sites can increase your enquiry leads by 3x.
Provide multiple payment option
It is noted from our study that customers prefer properties which offer multiple payment options like PayPal, Credit Card, Debit Card and also paying through Cash. This flexibility can provide a steady stream of customers thereby an assured revenue flow. Of particular interest is cash in hand option preferred by some guests, providing this option opens up a new segment of guests8o your property, while also gaining the confidence of other prospective guests.
By following these simple tips, you can improve you vacation rentals income as a property owner significantly. And you would be surprised to know that many of these activities can be effectively outsourced to a competent virtual assistant so that you can sit back and relax, while the job gets done.