Friday, September 05, 2014

What Have I Learned from This Vacation Rental Season?


Now that summer if officially over, it’s a good time to reflect on the season as a Vacation Rental Owner. There is no doubt that the industry is changing (is maturing the right word?) and that has implications for Vacation Rental Owners everywhere
 
 

So, what have I observed this season?

1.       Consolidation in the Vacation Rental industry continues. With Homeaway surpassing 1 million listings and other key players such as Holidaylettings in Europe also growing, it’s clear that the big guys continue to get bigger. That’s not to say that there are not good niche options (there are many listed on COHR) out there, but it’s clear that more of the market is moving to the big players. This is to be expected, as the industry “matures” and , although there are downsides to listing with the big guys, unless you are prepared to invest considerable effort in marketing your property yourself, it’s probably the easiest way to generate bookings

2.       Commission only listings work for me! My experience (particularly with Holidaylettings) is that the commission only option generates bookings at the same revenue to me as my listings on annual fee sites.  I also have a lot less hassle in chasing payments and tracking security deposits and even receive some enquiries where all I have to do is click an “accept booking” button!

3.       Commission only listings also work for the Listing Site! Booking fees, commission, added value services to the renter: these are the ways for the Vacation Rental Listing site to make money. It’s far easier for them to do this than to increase their annual listing price to me! 

4.       Reviews matter. Although guests are becoming more used to booking Vacation Rentals, there primary worry remains to be that, because each property is individually managed, when they get there, it just won’t be what was sold to them. Reviews give them some assurance that they won’t be drastically disappointed and vacation rentals with good reviews will consistently be chosen over those with none. On the flip side, a single bad review can do untold damage to your business (particularly if not balanced by some positive reviews).   Build up a selection of positive reviews