This is a guest post from our friends at Whimstay, a last-minute platform for vacation rental reservations.
Why diversify? Why, if you are a host in today’s uncertain times, would diversification be the tool for not only survival but outright prosperity? Here’s why. Because the traveler of today now more than ever is using alternate sales channels to book their vacation rentals.
As Airbnb finds its footing and the idea of major channel brand loyalty wanes, property managers and owners must understand that the traveler is no longer married to one channel/OTA experience. It’s time to take advantage of this new traveler trend.
It’s why we decided to found Whimstay. We knew that unsold nights were wasted revenue, and furthermore understood simply by watching the traveler trends around hotels, that they will always want to book last minute if they can find a deal.
So, we thought, let’s solve our occupancy/lost revenue issue, and at the same time satiate a clear traveler need. Everyone wins. The hotels have been doing it for years. This is the kind of thinking we need to adopt as an industry.
But before we get to far into that, let’s take a step back and examine the traveler her/himself. What trends do we see coming out of this COVID challenge, and how do they benefit us as an industry?
First off, humans will always travel. Travel itself is embedded in the DNA of all human beings. It’s why we explore, adventure and tend to schedule our lives around the brief respites of calm we call vacation. So, regardless of what happens post-COVID, that impulse will never change. What will change however is the behavior of the traveler, and the arc of those behaviors bend towards vacation rentals? How you ask?
1. Less Planes, More Cars
Let’s face it, people will be avoiding planes like the proverbial plague. However, the itch to travel will never wane, so what to do? Pack the family in the car and drive! Drive-able micro vacations will take the place of months in advanced planned 10 day vacations. This benefits us.
2. But They Will Still Fly…
Of course they will. Can’t get to Hawaii by car after all. So. when they do, you tell me, what do you think they will prefer? A hotel where social distancing is impossible? Or a vacation rental where the entirety of your stay will be spent within the cozy confines of your very own home. This benefits us.
One of the bummers of this whole thing will be the slow move away from 3D person to person interaction. Indeed a bummer, but again a huge potential advantage over hotels. So, the key will be COMMUNICATE but also AUTOMATE. The hotel industry CANNOT move to this model, it isn’t built that way. It is, however, already baked into how we do it. This benefits us.
So, what does all of this have to do with my original point? Things are changing and travelers will come from every angle. As property managers we must diversify in times of uncertainty and plant our seed in as much fertile ground as possible.
Hotels do it, why wouldn’t we? And as we enter the era where vacation rentals will soon surpass hotels as the preferred means of lodging, we as an industry must follow suit. The traveler will want us to be on as many channels and OTA’s as possible, so accommodate them. You won’t regret it.
Co-Founder VP of Sales Whimstay